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Make The Right Impression When Leaving A Voicemail

3 July 2008 5,931 views 5 Comments

I just heard a voicemail from a guy who clearly did not get this memo. Before I get to the list of steps to leaving a proper voicemail, take a listen this.


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(The back story on this is that a girl named Olga was out with her friends in the Marina district of San Francisco, and she talked to this guy named Dmitri for all of two minutes. Then she gave him her card and said “give me a call.” The above are the messages he left. Listen to the whole thing, it just keeps getting better and better.)

Without saying too much about this D-bag who left these messages, it is clear the very biggest rule to follow is think through what you are going to say BEFORE you place the call. Oftentimes, you don’t know if you are going to get a hold of the person or have to leave a voicemail – be ready for both.

Now this jackhole didn’t have a problem with what he was going to say, but men often freeze and instantly become incapable to formulate their thoughts in a coherent manner. Filling the message with “uhhhhs” and “ummmms” is not very manly. It looks as if you are not confident or have conviction in you what you have to say. Even worse, it might appear that you don’t respect the other person’s time when you ramble on with out a purpose.

A little obsessive, but if the call is important enough, consider outlining what you want to say before you even place the call. If the person picks up, you now have the cliff notes.

Guidelines when leaving a voicemail.Clint Eastwood

State your name. Do this emphatically. Don’t forget your last name as well unless you are absolutely certain it is not needed, never leave doubt. Then, never forget to repeat your entire full name at the end of the message as well. Nothing more annoying than to have to listen to entire message again just to find out the person’s name.

State your phone number and then state it again. Do not wait until the very end to leave your number for the first time. Tell them your phone number at the beginning, repeat it once there and then at the end of the message, state both your name again and number AGAIN. Make sure they don’t have to listen to the entire message twice to get the vitals. Also, make certain you pronunciate the numbers so there is no confusion. You do this for obvious reasons, but what if you hit a dead spot in cell coverage on your end and the message skips in and out on their end? You’re toast….

Tell them the purpose. Manliness trait: Never use 8 words, when 4 will do is extremely important in a voicemail message. People don’t have time. You are most likely going to tell them again when you speak to them for real.

Point out common ground. Regardless if it is a cold call or someone you already know, remind them of the mutual interest, acquaintance, affiliation or thinking you have in common. This generates interest and makes it very difficult for that person to not call you back. They will do it enthusiastically and want to help you when there is relation.

30 seconds, 60 seconds at the MOST. If you leave a 5 minute dissertation, you are rambling and that is weak. If what you have to say is technical or important, give them the hook and then leave the rest for a real chat. They will respect you for not wasting their precious time. If that important, they will want to talk to you and not listen to a message anyhow.

Why you calling me??? This is always what I ask myself when I get a message. Do yourself a favor and tell them exactly what you want them to do. Calling back is a given. What else is there that you want them to do? If you don’t want ask it in the voicemail, that is fine. Tell them you don’t want to ask them or tell them something and giving you a call back is important to discuss it. Be blunt and to the the point. This is manly and will be respected.

One message per day. NEVER leave more than one message per day. Look, people are busy and unless you have requested a phone call back at a certain time because of the sensitivity of the matter, then don’t pester the other person with multiple phone calls in one day. This will only leave the impression you are not in control and something else is controlling you. This does not support your manliness.

Never leave the same message twice. If you are going to leave as second message (on a different day of course) make sure to change your message. You are looking for action from another person and doing something that didn’t get them to call you back is not smart to do it again. Change it up a bit and keep your message fresh from different angles.

Finally, Elliot Spitzer, prior to completely losing his mind, once said, “Never, ever leave anything of substance in a voicemail.” Regardless of what happened to the Spitz, this advice is important. Once you leave the message it can be recorded forever. So always remember, be brief, be clear, don’t ramble, request a call back and never say anything that could cause you heartache in the future.

5 Comments »

  • Brad said:

    Dude, are you copying every Art of Manliness article? I mean that article on chastity, Roosevelt, and now this? Seriously?!?

  • Kevin said:

    @Brad…thanks for reading. I love Brett’s site and reading it gives me a lot of ideas for articles. I have PLENTY of material already in my short life as a blogger that he doesn’t have. I also have a completely different take on the same topics.

    There are 7 main virtues and about 70 others that I will be writing about. Roosevelt is a legend and happens to be a US President. I don’t think Brett was accused of stealing from anybody by writing about him and pointing out his manly nature.

    We have similar topics and plenty of overlap will occur. As I said, I love his site, read all of his stuff and visit his advertisers as support. I appreciate your comments though and I encourage you keep reading to find something of value. Thanks

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