by Susan Berkley
We recently hired a new administrative assistant for my office and made many calls following up on promising resumes we received. We heard a lot of outgoing voice mail messages and frankly, I was shocked. There were more than a few applicants we would have called in for an interview, but didn't because of the poor quality of their outgoing voice mail message.
Tens and maybe hundreds of people will listen to your outgoing voicemail message every week. Are you inadvertently turning them off? Every person who calls your number and gets your voicemail forms a lasting impression about you.
I'm always amazed at how unprofessional many outgoing voicemail messages sound. I think it's because many people don't take the time to review their outgoing message before they save it.
The biggest problems I hear are:
- Verbal Viruses. Your outgoing message should be flawless. If you say um, uh or stumble, re- record it!
- Low energy. Flat, monotone voices that sound as if the person just woke up. Sorry to disturb your beauty sleep!
- Gibberish. Garbled, rushed messages that are almost impossible to understand.
- Long, drawn out recitations. Keep your outgoing message short and to the point.
To ensure that your outgoing messages sounds great, remember
these 4 S's and a V:
- Script it. Include only the essentials and eliminate any unneccary information, such as what to do at the sound of the tone.
- Stand. Standing while recording your outgoing message adds energy and enthusiasm to your voice.
- Smile. A smile on your face puts a smile on your voice and makes you sound friendly.
- Slow Down. So that we understand you, speak slightly more slowly than normal, but not so slowly that you put us to sleep.
- Visualize. Imagine you are looking a loved one in the eyes when recording your outgoing message. You'll sound warm and inviting.
Have several friends or colleagues listen to your outgoing message and give you their honest feedback. Then, re-record it until they give you the "thumbs up."
Oh, and by the way, keep your kid's voices off your outgoing voice mail message. It's annoying and really detracts from your professional image.
From The VoiceCoach Newsletter by Susan Berkley. Reprinted with permission. Copyright 2009 All Rights reserved.
Susan Berkley is the author of Speak To Influence:How To Unlock The Hidden Power of Your Voice. available from your favorite bookseller. For a free subscription to The Voice Coach Newsletter visit www.speaktoinfluence.com.
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