Genuine Curiosity

Author Dwayne Melancon is always on the lookout for new things to learn. An ecclectic collection of postings on personal productivity, travel, good books, gadgets, leadership & management, and many other things.


Voice mails of mystery

I leave and receive lots of voice mail messages. One of my pet peeves: voice mails of mystery. These are cryptic messages in which the caller doesn't give me enough information. You know the type - a name and a phone number, with no other context for why they are calling. Is this a sales call? A friend of a friend trying to connect with me? A wrong number? If I can't tell, I typically delete them.

These types of messages have made me more conscious of the content of the messages I leave for others. I try to follow this general recipe for voice mails I leave:

  1. State who I am and where I am from
  2. State why I am calling

    1. High level - not too much detail, but enough to get their attention
    2. Bonus: a punchy point about what I can do for you, or other "What's in it for you?" points

  3. Provide a bit of context (how I found your name, any time urgency, any drivers you may care about - such as whether this is customer-related, etc.)
  4. Provide information on how to reach me - both by phone and email - for best results, say them clearly and say them twice

I also find it useful to say something like, "If you're not the right contact, I'd really appreciate your help in getting to the right person."

All of this can be completed in 20-30 seconds. If it takes you longer than that, practice condensing you point and key messages until you can do it within 30 seconds consistently.

And smile - it really helps. I also suggest leaving yourself a voice mail as if you were trying to get your own attention and see if you'd call yourself back. Try to be objective when you audit your own message.