Leaving a Good Voice Mail Message

seniors and voice mailOver the past few weeks, my elderly parents have been moving; discontinuing phone and cable, confirming moving details, etc. This resulted in a number of telephone messages. A couple of things became very apparent to me that I thought I would share with respect to how people can leave a good voice mail message.

Few people actually answer their phone anymore. Yes there is email, however my parents are not used to doing business this way. Their preference is to use the telephone so we need to consider this in our communication.

When people left messages for my parents they spoke too quickly and rattled their number off too fast. My mom found this very frustrating. Complicating matters is that she wears two hearing aids. Very often mom had to listen to messages 4 and even 5 times before she could understand who was calling, the subject of the call and get their return number.

In the end I often had to listen to the messages and write them down for her. For a few of the messages I also had to listen a few times to get the name, number written down correctly and what the message was.

I have a couple of suggestions. They may seem totally obvious yet many people do not leave a good voice mail message.

1. Say your name slowly and where you are calling from
2. State the reason for your call
3. Say your call back number extremely slowly. For example state the area code and then silently count to 5. Then leave the first three digits of your number and again silently count to five. For the remaining 4 digits say the first two and silently count to 5 and then state the final two. The length of the pause should be long enough that you feel uncomfortable about the length of the pause.

Finish your message and state your name, the nature of your business and your call back number, again extremely slowly.

Regardless of our age and preferred mode of communication, it is still imperative and professional courtesy to leave a good voice mail message.

I welcome your feedback. You can connect with me via phone or email, leave a comment here on the site, or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website.

Until next time,


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3 replies
  1. Mary Bart says:

    Another really important idea for older people who have telephone message systems is to ask a younger person to do the taped message for them. Seniors are often targeted for scams and elder abuses because their telephone greeting message clearly sounds like they are older. One lady that I know that is 88, asked her grandson to do the message. It does not state a person’s name, but just that they will call them back. Anyone listening to that message, would never have a clue that it is really in the home of an elderly women living alone. This keeps her much safer. A scam artist would never call back that number again – it sounds like a young man lives there.

    • Kat says:

      Hi Mary thank you for reading the blog. Your suggestion is a wonderful strategy to help keep Seniors safe. Unfortunately there are people out there who think nothing of taking advantage of Seniors. I helped one lady some time ago and she was in a panic because someone had called saying that she owed them money. When I called back for her, the person backed off immediately and she did not have any more calls after that.

      I hope your world is going well – kindest regards Kat


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