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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Some voice mail thoughts

Ford Harding makes some useful points in his blog entry: How to leave a voicemail message -- especially his suggestion that you leave your number early, rather than late, in the message.

I'll implement that strategy. I already slow down when it comes to leaving the callback number, and generally repeat it twice -- to make it much easier for the recipient to respond.

In practice, voice mail responses can still be difficult. Here is an example. Arriving in Raleigh, North Carolina, yesterday, I turned on the cellular phone/Blackberry and found a lengthy message from a good friend inviting me to lunch (in Ottawa!) that day. Holding my carry on bags, walking quickly through the terminal to meet the person taking me to lunch -- in Raleigh -- I somehow had to juggle the phone, the virtually inaudible message, and figure out how to answer.

This is one of the cases where I wish my friend had sent an email with his phone number and email for reply. With that information on the Blackberry, I could quickly scan his message and return his call (by phone) with one click of the dial.

Voice mail messages are inherently inconvenient to return. This is one reason why, while I have a practice of returning all calls within 24 hours, I sometimes fail to return promptly calls from salespeople with propositions of little interest to me, who 'rush' their voice mail message and make me listen to it again and again, to respond. Why bother . . . the answer will be 'no' and I'm not going to be too eager to do business with anyone who both inconveniences me, and makes it difficult to respond.

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