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© 2010 Ugur Akinci
1) Before calling anyone by phone, make a mental note about the message you’ll be leaving. If you assume that the person you are calling is not there you won’t get flustered when the voicemail system kicks in. If it’s a really important message that you’ll be leaving, write it out in advance on paper and read it from the paper. That way you won’t leave out any important details.
2) Speak slowly and pronounce each word clearly. If there is any background noise (radio or TV blaring, a kid crying) either remove the sound source from the room, move to another location, or call back at a quieter time.
Especially when recording numbers, take time to enunciate each number clearly and don’t rush through your digits like a tornado. Don’t leave the impression that someone is chasing you when you leave the message.
Don’t assume that the person who is going to listen to your message is the same person for whom you are recording it. Some people have difficulty in understanding rapid-fire numeric delivery for one reason or another. Don’t take the risk of the other party misunderstanding your important information just because you don’t take your time to slow down and pronounce each digit clearly.
3) Don’t forget to repeat your name and phone number both in the beginning and at the end of your message; especially for long messages. Most people do not write down such information (like your phone number) the first time they hear it. Do them a favor a repeat your contact information at the end. That way your recipient won’t have to rewind the message to the beginning in order to retrieve that info.
Also, make it very clear what you want the recipient do next. The action you suggest (like “Please call me back today to discuss the import permit” or “Please mail the warehouse contract by Friday, latest”) should leave no doubt about your expectations and why you called in the first place.
To read more about this and other communication topics see Writing and Speaking for Technical Professionals.
(Public domain photo courtesy of Wikipedia.)