I love my friends dearly. I adore many of the folks I have business relationships with. I truly care about what these individuals think, feel, and desire. I am one of those people who are quite selective about the people in my life. Admittedly, I also have high quality control standards. So, like anyone else who cares about anyone else, when I get a call from someone I care about – I want to know what is going on. And if you know me well, you know I am busy and that I may not be able to answer the call when it rings.
Ok, I’ll just share with you a message I got yesterday:
“Hi Colleen, its me. Call me.”
I will admit, I knew who it was from the voice – but I hadn’t heard from this person for over 3 months! Her voice was very stern and I immediately thought something was wrong. I called her back within 20 minutes (which was as soon as I had a chance to hear the message). I still have not heard back from her.
Needless to say, this frustrated me to no end.
For those of you who may have been living in isolation in somwhere like Zaraysk, Russia and are not aware of female tendencies – we obsess – a LOT. I started wondering about the health of her baby, the status of her marriage, her health, and a bazillion other crises that she could be facing right now.
Now, I know her pretty well and as I calmed down and started to look at this realistically within its context, she was probably calling to see if I was planning to go to any Miami Dolphins football games this season.
This led me to an old tip list I uncovered a few years ago on how to leave a good voice message. Although it was written for business purposes, I’ve realized it has the same application to personal phone calls as well. (That is, if you LIKE the person you are calling and want them to enjoy your message.)
1. Say your name. Imagine if you get a message from someone and you don’t know who they are until the very end of the message. Take the pressure off at the very beginning.
2. Say your number right after your name. This one is huge for me – imagine if you missed the phone number that they say at the end of the message and then you have to listen to the entire message again to get it right.
3. Repeat your phone number. We are all guilty of saying our phone numbers way too fast – so say it again so the person has time to write it down.
4. State the purpose of your call. I am calling you because… Please tell me this at the beginning. It will help me get in the mindset of what I am about to hear.
5. Be brief. There IS an exception to this rule. There are times when you have to leave a long message. An example may be you are about to get on a plane and you need to get information to this person while you’ll be in flight. In these very rare cases – WARN the person on the front end: “Hi Jon, its Jill. My number is 305-555-5678, that’s 305-555-5678. I am calling because I have to give you a set of instructions for feeding my dog. This message may be quite long…” See? Now I can immediately choose to continue listening or save the message when I need those instructions.
6. Leave a specific request. This may be more applicable in business situations when you have tasks to accomplish. What do you need this person to do for you? Send you some information? (tell them the info you need!) Set up an appointment? (tell them when you want it!) HELP THEM HELP YOU!!!
7. Consider leaving your e-mail address. In our new digital age, people have become terrified of actually communicating with each other in a live venue. Be nice to our socially challenged millenial counterparts and let them e-mail you back their answer.
8. End your message with a funny joke. Ok, so probably not – but I DID have this one guy at work who would always end his voice messages with jokes. But I have to admit, I always listened to the entire message!!!
So now my friends, I hope you get the reason for the title of my blog. Hmm… but maybe now no one will read this….
And now for my joke (ok, its not my joke – it came from my DC/VA buddy):
How do you get a Kleenex to dance?
….put a little boogey in it!
Categories: Business Communication