I think everyone can agree that first impressions are important. But what happens when that first impression is your voicemail greeting? We’ve all heard some of those greetings that sound like the person is eating while they talk. The ones where they only have, “Please leave a message for…(in a woman’s voice), John Doe…(in a man’s voice), after the tone (in a woman’s voice).” How much of an impression are you giving if you aren’t even willing to record an actual message? So, let’s look at ways to make your voicemail greeting more professional.
First of all, what needs to be included in your voicemail greeting?
Put it all together, and you get something like:
“You’ve reached the desk of Suzie Queue, Executive Assistant to John Doe, at XYZ Corporation. I’m not available to take your call at the moment. After the tone, please leave your name, number and a brief message, and I will return your call as soon as possible. Thanks and have a great day! You may also press 0 to return to the operator.”
Short (okay, not so short), sweet and to the point. Now, onto the actual recording of the message.
One of the big problems people make when recording a greeting is forgetting what they want to say, so they get a lot of ums and uhs and errs in their recording. My solution is to write out my greeting so I can read it as I record.
Practice Makes Perfect
Once you get your greeting written out, practice it a couple of times. Hearing it out loud will help highlight awkward phrasing, which you can then change. You’ll also become more comfortable with the phrasing, so you sound less stilted when you record. You want to speak in a natural voice, and don’t forget to sound cheerful. It helps to smile as you speak. You don’t have to be Miss Mary Sunshine, but you don’t want to sound one step away from flinging yourself off a high building either.
As soon as you feel comfortable, create your recording. Afterward, don’t just automatically accept it. Listen to the greeting. If it doesn’t sound right to you, record it again. I’ve been known to record my greeting 3 or 4 times before I decide it’s right.
Remember, you may never get another opportunity to change this first impression. Make it count!