Improve Your Voicemail Greeting

 Make it more responsive to callers.

Now that you and others may be going back to the office, you can expect more calls at your workplace phone.

It’s time to listen again to your voicemail greeting.

We’ve been following voicemail prompts since 1984. There’s hardly a person alive today who has not heard a recorded voicemail greeting and does not know how to leave a message.

“Hi, this is Griselda. Thank you for calling. Your call is very important to me. I’m sorry I’m not here to answer your call right now. I’m either on the phone or away from my desk.”

Don’t spend the first precious 10 seconds of your recorded phone message by ingratiating yourself with the caller.

Don’t create a delay for the caller and waste her time.

Instead, cut to the chase and let her know how she can reach you, in case her call is urgent.

She simply wants to connect with you, leave an important message and then get on with her day.

People have been using voicemail for ages; they know perfectly well you are not answering the phone because:

  • you are on deadline
  • you are in a meeting or on another call
  • you are ducking robo-calls.

Time is our most precious resource.

Callers want to ask you a question and, if you are not immediately available, learn when you’ll be available to answer it. Make it easy for them with a recorded message that’s short and sweet.

This Month’s Tip

Try this approach to improve your recorded voicemail greeting:

  1. State your name (and company) so the caller can confirm she reached the party she seeks.
  2. Invite the caller to please leave a phone number and message. State that you will return the call as soon as possible.
  3. If this is your office landline, consider leaving your cell phone number — enunciated slowly and perhaps repeated — so the caller might text you or reach you at that number, in case it is an urgent matter.
  4. Here’s how you can say your cell phone number at a pace that others can follow. Write the number as words; mine is three-four-seven-two-five-six-nine-one-four-one.
  5. (Variation) When you are out of the office on travel or in a day-long meeting, you may not return the call promptly. Indicate that callers should expect a delay for your reply call and/or direct the call to a colleague and provide their number.


Have you listened to your voicemail greeting lately? Give yourself a call now (I’ll wait) and see how it measures up to the format suggested above. If you need help to create a caller-responsive message, contact me at , set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Let’s write a script and re-record your voicemail greeting with the caller’s convenience in mind.

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Image credit: PhotoDune