Voicemail Etiquette Tips: Talk Slowly and Keep It Short

Life & Love | Gerren Keith Gaynor | 07/29/2014 | 10:00 AM EDT

Believe it or not, some people get anxiety when time to leave voice messages...here's how to remedy it

Ever wondered what the proper etiquette is for leaving a voicemail? It’s okay, most people probably haven’t.

Still, leaving a proper voicemail is something that everyone should be adept at, particularly when it comes to business and your professional circles. Millennial super texters are especially in need of voicemail etiquette as less of them see the value in its use, and even get a little nervous before it’s time to leave a voice message.


For your benefit, here are some great voicemail etiquette tips provided by Reuters that you should live by. It’ll make the world of a difference.

Voicemail Greetings

While leaving a good and precise voicemail is key, the same goes for voicemail greetings. Avoid phrases like “I’m unavailable to take your call.” Your caller is well aware; you’re stating the obvious. Instead, simply identify yourself and ask the caller to leave a message. “If you really mean it, say you will return the call as soon as possible,” Reuters writes. Additionally, give the caller another option to reach you (if you feel comfortable doing so). However, it’s recommended that you leave it to one telephone number or email address. Remember: short and sweet.

Leaving a Voicemail

When leaving a voicemail, identify yourself right away. In the beginning of your message also be sure to give your return phone number so the person you’re calling doesn’t have to listen to the message twice. Speak slowly and clearly. Reuters suggests a clever tip: “It helps to pretend to be writing your number in the air, which will slow you down and help with clarity. Say when you can be reached.” If you have specific messages or directions, let the person know immediately. For example, “I’m calling to let you know two things” - then proceed to state your purpose. It may also be helpful to imagine that you’re writing a memo. Outline your points; it creates clarity.


However, Reuters says you should never use voicemail as a way to avoid speaking with someone. Usually a person can tell if you called them during a time you know they would not be available. Reuters says, “If you must call when you know the other person isn’t available, say, ‘I know you won’t be able to take the call now, but I wanted to let you know that...’” It’s all about being clear, to the point and honest.

Believe it or not, many people get anxiety when it comes time to leave a voicemail out fear of being judged, which makes etiquette all the more important. It’s suggested that one takes the time to practice leaving voicemails by recording yourself, preferably before leaving a message. While it may seem weird, it can make quite the difference. Always keep in mind that practice makes perfect.

(Photo: Hero Images/Corbis)

The More Friends You Go With, The More You Drink

related stories

Health & Fitness

The More Friends You Go With, The More You Drink

Health & Fitness

Strenuous Exercise May Be Unhealthy


Remarriage In America Is On The Rise

Centric News

Michelle Obama Promotes Mental Health Awareness