Leaving a Voicemail Message


This is a guest post by Cheryl Posey.  She is a licensed and nationally certified speech pathologist that focuses on Accent Reduction and Communication Skills Training.  You can find and follow her on her Speaking Your Best

A strong voicemail message is one that is clearly understood and is short and to the point.   This detailed message needs to be left within a very short amount of time.

Leaving a Voicemail Message

 Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Here are some good guidelines to follow to make sure that your voicemail message is effective and concise.

      1. Before you leave a message, ask yourself this question:  Is this voicemail necessary?  If you are leaving a message just to tell the person you will call them later, then this wastes their time.
      2. If you are leaving a voicemail to answer a question, you won’t want to end your voicemail message by telling the person to call you back.  If all the information you needed to say is in the message, then there should be no reason for a person to return your call.
      3. It helps to plan what you are going to say ahead of time.  You might even want to write down one or two important points to include, but no more than this.
      4. The first thing you should say is your name.  “Hi, this is Andy Walsh from ABC Company.”
      5. The second thing you should do is leave your call back number.  Even if the person already has it, they may not have it right in front of them.  If you are calling someone within your company and know them very well, you can leave just your extension number.  If a person is calling from outside your company, leave the full number.
      6. Next, quickly get to the reason you called.  “The reason I’m calling is…,” or “I’m calling because…”
      7. Speak slowly and clearly.  Your listener doesn’t have the advantage of being able to see you, so he/she will need more time to process what you say.  In addition, an accent will take additional time to understand, given the difference in pronunciation of some sounds.
      8. Try not to use “filler” words like, “um”, or “oh”.
      9. Voicemails shouldn’t be longer than 30 seconds.  If there is a lot of information, you must leave, then try to keep it under one minute.
      10. At the end of the message, leave your phone number again.  Although you already gave your phone number in the beginning, give it again slowly.  This gives the person another opportunity to write down the number, in case he/she missed it the first time.
      11. You can end the voicemail message by saying a variety of things, depending on how well you know the person.  A few examples might be: 
      • “Thank you, and I will talk to you soon.”  
      • “Thanks.”
      • “Please call me at your earliest convenience.”
      • “I’ll see you at the meeting tomorrow.”


Question:  What guidelines do you follow when leaving a voice mail message?

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