1. polite punk

    For business calls, this is right on target. For personal calls, however, I prefer when people leave text messages instead of voicemails if they don’t reach me. Many times if I don’t pick up, it’s because I have a lot going on. If they send a text, I can see right away if it’s important or not. Plus, all the details are in the message without me having to worry about writing anything down.

  2. Jody

    I agree with the original advice, especially the part to “leave a short summary of what the call is about.” I have coworkers that just leave a message saying “call me” with no clue as to why they’re calling. If people don’t leave a complete message, they lead me to think that they’re not calling about an urgent matter and I delay returning their calls. If people tell me what they’re calling about, I can usually respond with an answer/solution when I return their call.

  3. Winifred Rosenburg

    I have a related question. In the age of caller ID, if I see that someone called but didn’t leave a message, should I call the person back?

    On the flip side, I know some people will call people back based on the caller ID before listening to the voicemail the person left. With this in mind, if I am calling someone’s cell phone and my message would just be something like “Hi. This is Winifred. Please call me back when you get a chance.” Should I leave a message to let the person know he or she should call me back or just assume that he or she will figure it out and save the person the trouble of listening to and deleting a message that doesn’t really provide any information?

    • Zakafury

      If you want a call back, I think you should leave a message. I generally don’t return missed calls unless I barely missed picking up or I had a good idea why that person would need to talk to me.

      I’m don’t really enjoy talking on the phone, so I guess I feel awkward calling back just to say “I saw you called,” since I would rather not have a phone conversation about nothing in particular.

    • Nina

      I once called a friend and, when I reached the voicemail message, realized that that was not my friend’s voice–I had misdialed–and promptly hung-up. That evening, my phone rang and when I answered, a gruff voice said, “You called me.” I had no idea what he was talking about. “You called me. I saw a missed call on my phone from this number. I want to know why you called me!” “Oh, this morning? I dialled the wrong number, and hung up when I realized. Sorry about that.” “The wrong number?” “Yes.”

  4. It is always important to leave a message if you want a return call; not everyone has caller id. A business colleague told me of a conversation with a client that took place on a Friday. The client commented that he was glad they FINALLY were able to connect; he had been trying to reach my colleague all week. “Did you leave a message?” “Well, no … I figured you would see that I had called!” The problem? My colleague’s work phone was a landline and it did not have caller id.

    • Winifred Rosenburg

      Understood. I was talking about situations where I know for sure it is the person’s cell phone and the person has caller ID. I was also referring to personal calls. I agree that business calls always require a message. If I’m calling someone just to catch up, there isn’t really a subject I can refer to. Also I have some friends who have a habit of calling me back without listening to the message I left so when I actually leave a message of substance the conversation goes like this:
      “Hi, I saw you called.”
      “Did you listen to the message I left?”
      Then I have to reiterate everything I already said in the voicemail, leading me to wonder if I should even bother with voicemail.

      • Jodi Blackwood

        Hi Winifred,
        I would still go ahead and leave a message. I have a lot of people listed in my cell phone’s directory but not everyone, and if I don’t recognize the number, I don’t call people back … I figure if they want to talk with me, they’ll leave a message. If I am calling a friend just to catch up, that’s what I say in my message, which let’s her know there is no immediate need to call me back as opposed to the “please call me”.

        I agree with your frustration (at least that is what I am reading into it) about people who call back without listening to your message; often times, I will leave information and say there is no need to call me back … or I won’t be available until tomorrow … or what have you. That’s why I left the message!

        But, once again, we cannot control what others do … however, we can set an example.

  5. Ashleigh

    I would definitely reiterate the importance of stating your phone number slowly and clearly TWICE during the message. When I get a message from a client, its often a list of things they need from me/need for me to do, and then its ended with “please call me at bablablalablablablabla” so fast I have to replay the 5 minute message over and over to get the number. I always say “Hi this is Ashleigh at #. [message] Please give me a call at #” that way they can catch it again if they missed it in the beginning.

  6. I personally hate voicemail, and have repeatedly told my friends not to bother — if they are close enough to me to be in my contact list, then I will call them back as soon as I can. But professionally, I do believe in voicemail. It is a courtesy, especially because you don’t know when you’re calling a cell or landline. Also, I consider it a time-stamp — if I am in a game of phone tag, but am leaving voicemails when I call, it shows that I am actively trying to speak to the person, not avoiding calls or treating them like a low priority.

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