How to Leave a Professional Voice Message

The Basic Business Etiquette of Voice Messages

Voicemail has become a standard part of every business class telephone system and knowing how to leave a professional voicemail phone message will reflect positively upon your company. Every employee that uses the phone as part of their job should know how to leave a professional phone message. Use the following tips and your company's image will be represented as professional on every voicemail message that is left by your employees.

Think First

Businesswoman eating lunch at desk
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Before you pick up the phone pause for a second and summarize, in your mind, the purpose of the call in one or two sentences. Remember, between 50% to 67% of all calls end up going to voicemail. Now you will be prepared to leave a concise voicemail message without rambling on until the phone system cuts you off.

Introduce Yourself

Begin every voicemail message by introducing yourself, so the recipient knows who calling right away. It should include your full name, title, and company name.

Speak Slow

Speak slowly enough so the person receiving the message can hear every word. It is very frustrating when to retrieve messages only to find that the other person is speaking so quickly that you must listen more than once to understand them or to jot a short note about the call.

Speak Clearly

Speak directly into the mouthpiece of your telephone in a clear and adequately modulated tone of voice. Don't hold the phone between your cheek and shoulder so that the mouthpiece is positioned by your neck.

Keep It Short

You don't have to leave every detail on your voicemail message. Most business phone systems have a one to a two-minute time limit for messages. It is acceptable to leave a short summary of the reason for your call and end it by saying, "Please return my call and I will go over the issue with you in more detail."

End It Professionally

Just like a professional business letter, end by giving your contact information. If you the person is unfamiliar with you or might have trouble placing you, repeat your name and company along with the best way to reach you and your contact information. If you already have a strong working relationship, you may be able to skip repeating your name, but still be sure to give them the best number to reach you.

Dropped Call?

If you believe your voicemail message was dropped by the voicemail system before you were finished, try the call again and lead off by telling the person that you believe your previous message may have been dropped.


Example: "Hello. This is Jim Buck; I think my previous message may have been cut-off. So here it is again..."

Practice and Test Yourself

If you are unsure, you are speaking too fast, or not clearly enough, ask a friend or business associate to help you. Call him and leave a fabricated voicemail message on their phone. Ask them to listen to it and evaluate it based on the tips listed above. Listen to it yourself and see if you sound professional.