The Wrong Way to Leave a Message

October 3, 2007

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There’s this guy I know … let’s call, “Gabby Abby.” He probably won’t appreciate that name, but oh well.

Anyways, Gabby Abby has a tendency of leaving these really long, sing-songy voice mail messages where he repeats the main point like 3 or 4 times, mumbles, and then awkwardly ends the message (or sometimes the machine cuts him off just like Mikey in the clip below). You might have a friend or colleague like that, or maybe you’re a “Gabby Abby” when leaving messages. Well, you don’t have to be.

In this clip form the movie Swingers, Mikey painfully illustrates how NOT to leave a message!

Here are some tips on how to leave a voice message:

  • Leave your name and phone number first! That way if someone missed it, they don’t have to listen to your whole message again to get it down.
  • Say your name and phone number S-L-O-W-L-Y-L-Y and say it twice. Sometimes when we’re very familiar with information like our name and phone number we say it too fast and don’t even realize it.
  • Think about what you want to communicate before calling, and communicate it consciously. If you’re a rambler, write down a few bullet points and/or questions in advance.
  • Give the message recipient an idea of what the message is about. Don’t just say, “Call me”. That’s not enough information to help the recipient know how to prioritize the return call. If you’re calling just to say, “Hi” … great, let the person know as much and that it’s not that your water just broke, and you need them to meet you at the hospital.

By following these few simple steps, you’ll communicate better with others. Heck, maybe we’ll even stop playing your 6 minutes marathon messages to all our friends and saying, “Can you believe this guy?”

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