Voicemail Thoery


I took some great classes in college. I was a double major and I have a minor in Spanish so I took a wide array of classes. One of my favorite classes from college was Voicemail Theory (that would be VMT 301). I had Dr. VanNostren from the clinic; a marvelous professor. I learned more in that class than any other class that I took.

Effective voicemailing is not something that comes naturally to everyone. Some people don’t leave messages. Some people leave messages that are too long, Some that are too short. Some have too many points. Some have no point at all.

One of the main things that I learned from this class is that ineffective voicemailing can not be tolerated or condoned in any way. When you return the call of someone who has left you an ineffective voicemail, you are encouraging this activity.

“But Patrick, how can I make sure that I leave a good voicemail?!!??!??!”

I am glad you asked.

For the sake of simplicity, I will try to narrow down the content of an entire semester’s worth of information into two main points.

1) Have a point and say what your point is. This seems obvious, but it is completely astounding how many voicemails are left in the United States each day that have no point at all. It needs to be noted here that the statement “Hey, call me back” is not a “point”. The only information in that statement is that the person leaving the voicemail desires to speak to the person receiving the voicemail. This information can be gleaned simply by looking at the “missed call” log on your phone. Hence, any message that simply conveys the message “call me back” is not an effective voicemail. So, the lesson here is as follows: when you call someone, generally, there is a reason you called them. Make sure that, when you leave the voicemail, you leave the pertinent information IN THE VOICEMAIL.

2) Be brief. Messages that get too long are not effective because the listener can get bored and just hang up. Be sure to know what your point is, and get it out quickly.


Lets look at an example.

Ex. Today is Monday and you want to have dinner with Jimmy on Thursday night. So you pick up the phone and call Jimmy. It rings and rings. No answer. You listen to a recording of Jimmy telling you that he is not there right now and that you should leave a voicemail. Then, a beep. The moment of truth. From the list below, please select the most appropriate voicemail.

A) Heeeey man. Whaaaaaats happening? Im just driving around listening to Journey. Man I love this band. Remember when we saw them back in college. Kick tail show. Yeah. Awesome. Ok well call me back man. Gotta ask you something. Latah dog.

B) Hey man, call me back.

C) Jimmy, whats cooking dude? Wanted to see if you wanted to grab dinner Thursday night. Call me back. Let me know. Later man.

The correct answer??……………It’s “C

All the appropriate information is there. Its short, sweet and too the point.


Lets all try to learn from this  example. Say no to poor Voicemailing.


2 thoughts on “Voicemail Thoery

  1. This is interesting, but I don’t totally agree.

    The fact that I call someone does imply that I want to speak with them at that specific time, unless I call them from my pocket, which happens more often that I or the people receiving those calls would like. It does NOT imply that I want them to call me back. In my case, it is the exact opposite.

    If I call you and do not leave a message, that means you do not need to call me back. If I called about something important, I’ll leave a message. Otherwise, you can assume that I was just calling because I like to hear your voice and whether I got to talk to you live or I got to hear your voicemail message, I got my fix.

    Also, click on my name. Go to my web site. Do it. Do it now or I will leave you lengthy pointless voicemails.

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