Earlier this week I returned a call from a potential client. Her voice message greeting said, "Hi this is Susan. I'm away for Memorial Day Weekend. I'll be back Tuesday. Please leave a message."
In my country, Memorial Day was 140 days ago. At first, I thought, "Wait, what month is this? Is this a holiday?", and then, "Holy crap, did she not come back, or has she not taken a vacation since then?"
By the time I realized what was going on, I missed the "beep" and sent her an email instead. We all know what happened.
Susan took a little break from work and came back to chaos. She completely forgot to change her voice message greeting, and either no one has called her since then, or they noticed the oversight but didn't mention it to her.
One of the other big mistakes I notice about the voice message greetings of women is that they are often the default, computerized versions. If you are doing this, you're missing out on an opportunity to make a good impression.
Even though many people communicate by text, email, WhatsApp, Slack, or similar apps, people still call you on the phone. A strong and confident voicemail message greeting is an opportunity to position yourself as a leader and is an easy tool for client attraction, to be invited for a new project, position, or media interview.
Imagine a senior executive from your company calling to ask a question. If they notice you have an out-of-office message that is outdated by six months, they will assume you lack attention to detail. If you have a confident, positive tone and offer a brief greeting, you'll instill confidence. The listener may notice that you stand out among colleagues or competitors, especially when competing for a job opening, award, media interview, or other potential opportunity.
Recording a confident and succinct greeting is similar to getting a professional headshot photo. No one likes to do it, it's never as awful as we thought, but we're all pleased when we have it completed.
Here are some voice message greeting scripts that I have excerpted from my book, Women Lead.
Sample Voice Message Greetings
While recording your message, pretend that a television producer is listening attentively and speak as if you're on camera. Sound upbeat, and positive, speak slowly, and be careful not to use too high of a pitch or end your sentences as if they are questions. Keep your voice, low, slow, and confident.
Here are a few of my favorite examples/scripts for clear and confident voice message greetings:
Hi, you’ve reached the office of (your name, your title, your company name). Please leave a message after the tone.
Hello, this is (your name, your title, your company name). For immediate service, contact (alternative contact person or information here). Or, leave a message and I’ll return your call by the end of business today.
For Vacation or Maternity Leave Situations
Hi, you’ve reached (your name, your title, your company name) It’s a (boy/girl)! I’ll be returning from maternity/paternity leave on (date). In the meantime, contact (alternative contact information). I look forward to reconnecting with you in (name the month you’ll be back, not the day).
Hello, this is (your name, your title, your company name). I’m out of the office until (vacation return date). For assistance before I return, contact (co-worker's name and contact information). Otherwise, I look forward to returning your call (the week of your return).
Remember, a voice message greeting is often the first impression you’ll make. Be sure you sound clear and confident with no background noise and ABSOLUTELY NO APOLOGIZING!
Your voicemail message greeting is an easy way to make a strong first impression. When you record one, let me know by commenting or filling in the ❤️ at the bottom of this page.
The book Women, LEAD! Influential & Effective Strategies for Women Who Lead at Work, at Home, and in the Community is available at bookstores in the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, and online.