7 top tips for leaving perfect voicemail messages in English

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You’re probably an expert at leaving voicemail messages in German, but how do you feel when the person you’re calling doesn’t answer the phone and you have to leave a message in English? Terrified? Well there’s no need at all to be nervous. In fact, leaving a message in English is no more difficult than in your own language – if you follow these simple tips.

1 Think through your message

Every time you make a phone call, you should be prepared to leave a voicemail message. So before you dial, think through the message you want to give to the recipient. You may only have a few seconds to listen to that person’s outgoing message, but if you’ve thought through what you want to say, your message will flow better. Also, you’ll avoid awkward pauses and confusion – like getting dates, names or figures wrong.

2 Don’t talk about anything confidential

Never talk about sensitive matters on voicemail. You never know if other people in the office might hear it. Instead, say you’ll call back.

  • Mike, it’s Angela. I’ll call back later about that information you wanted.

3 Start with your name, end with your number

Start with the name of your company or institution, then say your full name. At the end of the message, leave your number. By leaving it only at the end of the message, you are giving the recipient the chance to fast forward if they already have your number. This will save them time.

  • Bildungsverlag Berlin, Mechthild Klein speaking. – [Your message] – . Once again, Mechthild Klein from Bildungsverlag Berlin, telephone number… (At the end of your message)

4 Be brief but polite

Voicemail is not the appropriate communication channel to chat or discuss things. So don’t go into detail, but do let the recipient know the subject so that he or she can prepare a response before returning your call. End with a polite phrase or word of thanks.

  • This is Sarah Müller. I found the information I asked you for myself. So thanks for offering to help, but you can stop looking now. Talk to you later. Bye.

5 Don’t include too much information

If the message is complicated or contains numerous details, use another medium such as email.

  • It’s Anke here. I was calling with the figures you asked for. They’re a bit too complicated for voicemail so I’ll send you an email instead. I’ll do it right away. Call me back if there’s anything that’s not clear.

6 Say when you can be reached

If you want the recipient to call you back, tell them when and at which
number you can be reached.

  • You can reach me on my landline between one and three this afternoon. After that on my mobile. I’ll give you the number. It’s …

7 Speak slowly and clearly

This should go without saying, but many people get nervous when they are leaving a voicemail message and start speaking too quickly. Have you ever had to replay messages because you couldn’t understand the call? Frustrating, isn’t it? So breathe deeply and speak slowly and clearly. The recipient will thank you for it.

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