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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Are You Listening to Voicemail Messages?

“Don’t leave me voicemail messages. I don’t listen to them anymore,” my college-bound son proclaimed. He added, “I can see that you called, and I’ll call you back.”

As I thought about my son’s statement I realized that I don’t always listen to messages left on my Smartphone. Last week when I was giving a seminar my husband left a message. At break, I returned his call and nervously asked, “Is everything Ok?”

He responded, “Didn’t you listen to my message?”

I answered truthfully, “No, I didn’t.”

“Isn’t that a breach of etiquette?” he questioned. “If I take the time to leave a message, shouldn’t you take the time to listen?” (Ouch! He has lived with me too long!)

Since my husband rarely contacts me at work I was worried that something had happened. A phone call would allow me to respond immediately.

Saving time is one of the reasons people give for not listening to their messages. Others include that some callers leave messages that are too long or never give the reason for the call. Also, returning calls on your Smartphone is very quick and easy to do.

But before you stop listening to voicemail messages, consider these etiquette guidelines for the workplace:

Make sure you listen to any client’s, customer’s or boss’s message. You may learn some valuable information.

Don’t inconvenience people. If you obtain the needed information from a message, you don’t need to interrupt the person with a call.

If you didn’t listen to the message, let the person know.

Don’t play games. One manager will tell the caller that he didn’t listen to his or her message when he did. He believes that some employees leave messages to avoid difficult conversations.

Leave messages that get listened to. Don’t get known as long-winded. Say what you have to say succinctly. Speak clearly and let the person know what you want.

There still may be times when you ignore the message and call back. I usually don’t listen to my sisters’ messages. I know they are going to say, “Call me!”

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