Arguably the most intimidating factor when leaving a voice mail is the fact that once you leave the message, "in one take," there is no taking it back. That is why, especially in the business world, an overwhelming amount of people revert to email rather than leaving a voice mail message. Especially in a technologically advanced world, email or text messages are now used as a primary form of communication. Although there is a good argument behind opting for the written word over the spoken one, an email can lack the human touch, the emotion and enthusiasm in a voice, that can often times generate a better response. In fact, there is no impact that compares to delivering a clear, concise, professional message through your own unique human voice.
In order to leave an effective professional voice mail, there are crucial techniques to master:
1. Be confident and upbeat in your voice
- The way you sound is the most important thing to remember. You want to leave a good and lasting impression on the person you called.
- People respond better to positive and energetic tones, keeping in mind to use an authoritative voice.
2. Find a connection and express it.
- People tend to respond and feel more comfortable if you have a mutual friend, contact or co-worker in common. Mention it!
- If possible, finding a creative link makes yourself memorable.
3. Be brief and to the point.
- No one wants to listen to a rambling voice mail especially in our fast-paced business culture.
- Sometimes upon retrieving voice mail messages, a recording tells you how long the upcoming message is. If it's too long, you will probably be deleted before you have even been heard.
4. Be specific and provide a Call To Action
- When you focus your message on one clear and confined topic, you will most likely get a call back.
- Open ended voice mails are unfavorable among clients. The point of a voice mail is to get what you need answered. Tell them what you want them to do, e.g. "Call me back." "Check out my website."
5. Make sure your contact information is spoken clearly.
- Say your contact information clear and slow. Most of the time people are listening to their messages on-the-go, so try to eliminate the potential of having them repeat the message over.
- Leaving your email address as contact option is a good way to come across less threatening
It is no surprise that your actual voice mail greeting must be delivered in the same way: Professional, clear, brief, and to the point. In a previous blog, "Marketing Messages on Your Cell Say You Mean Business," some techniques for making a professional voice mail greeting were discussed. There are many similarities between leaving a voice mail, and producing a voice mail greeting. You want your callers and receivers to hear a confident and professional person on the other end delivering a coherent message.
The Pros of Using a Human Voice
- You should introduce yourself to a prospective client in a personal way. An email doesn't generate much discussion, nor does it necessarily show you went the extra mile in contacting the client.
- Generating conversation.
- A professional, well conveyed voice message shows the voice mail receiver that you are confident and well-spoken, and that there is a person behind the message.
The Pros of Emails
- Emails can be prepared, edited, and revised unlike voice mail messages
- An email or email chain thread is documentation of a conversation that can easily be referenced
- In an email you can include a phone number, address, website, etc that may be hard to remember or record through voice mail communication
- Emails can be forwarded, CC'ed, and blasted.
As for deciding whether to use your voice or your keyboard when communicating with a client, ask yourself, who am I contacting? What am I contacting the individual for? How fast am I looking for a response? Then decide whether to call or write. The choice is yours, but keep in mind the pros and cons of each.