Don’t Say the V-Word!!!!
Oh that’s right. I went there. To me it is a dirty word. No matter how much everyone tries to tell me it isn’t a big deal, I loath it. VOICEMAIL. My Dad and I bicker relentlessly about my inability to listen to voicemail or return phone calls in general. My theory is if you need something – text me!
I believe that my dramatic fear of voicemail stems from two primary issues:
- The first comes from a huge pet peeve of listening to people talking loudly on cellphones in public places. I don’t care what streetcar you are on, what Anna did yesterday that infuriated you, or whatever you have to say loudly while on public transit. Once I was on a train and heard a woman tell her engagement story 12 times on the way to Montreal. By time number thirteen I ripped the phone out of her hand and told the story verbatim to the frightened person on the other end myself.
- The second is my “doer” thinking style. Checking a voicemail just takes too long. I have to call a whole number, enter a password, and then contort my face against the phone to listen to you mumble “Hi it’s me. Call me back”? It makes absolutely no efficient sense to me. Just send me a note and tell me what you need. It saves me 5 minutes in checking that voicemail, and the 5 minute call to find out what you needed – when I could have been using that time to DO what you needed me to do.
So depending on your fears and needs, this blog has two themes – reducing voicemails and how to leave voicemails. Read on…
How to reduce annoying voicemails.
1. Always respond to voicemail-aholics with a text or email. People are somewhat trainable (I’m still working on my Dad). If every time you write them back maybe eventually they will catch on and write you in the first place.
2. Don’t have an outgoing voicemail message or if that’s not possible tell people they will get a faster response by email or text. See reasoning for #1. Their fear of you not getting it will go one of two ways, they’ll email or hyper-call (that’s a whole other ballgame folks).
3. Accept the fact that sometimes voicemails are appropriate, necessary, or meet the thinking/communicating style of the other party. Hey, soon enough voicemail will be “retro” it will be like getting snail-mail. Embrace it’s retro-ness you hipster you.
4. Leave effective and efficient voicemails (see below). Again, people are trainable and mimic good behaviour. At least if you have to listen to one it will be painless.
How to leave voicemails (for the talk-aphobics).
1. State your name and where you are calling from at the beginning of the call.
“This is Nicole Dunn calling from Whiteboard Consulting.”
2. BRIEFLY state your connection and the objective of your call. This is where voicemails go wrong. You don’t plan, you start babbling. You aren’t prepared and your message sounds like a bad Shakespeare soliloquy that’s difficult to hear and just plain annoying. Be clear with what you are looking for. This allows the person to look into available
” Sam introduced us last week at the cocktail party. I’d love to set up a meeting with you next week to talk about business processes at ACME Temp Agency and am looking for your availability.”
3. Repeat your name and phone number TWICE (the second time more slowly). This helps if you are a mumbler, fast talker, or use Rogers and your phone cuts out for no reason whatsoever. It also helps if your listener didn’t have their pen ready.
“Again, this is Nicole Dunn from Whiteboard Consulting at 416-531-9889. That’s Nicole Dunn at 4-1-6-5-3-1-9-8-8-9. Thanks kindly”.
Soon my pretties…soon voicemail will be like Kodak Moments, tranceparencies, mimeographs, and shoulder pads. A distant and funny memory of something from the nineties (Click to Tweet). For now let’s be kind and curious and placate our vehement voicemail users until it goes away. When they come back, I’ll write an equally snarky blog about how to deal with people who are now “into” voicemails because they are retro.
Until next time! Tell us your voicemail woes @whiteboardcons using #ihatevoicemail.
P.S. How many weird phone calls and voicemails do you think I will get????