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January 10, 2007



I'm going to have this tattooed on my hand because I am horrible at leaving voice mail. The * and # buttons have become my new best friends.

Dave G

Patricia - I'm glad you found it helpful!

I was reluctant to put this template up initially because I felt like I was being too pedantic (ie. who does *this guy* think he is telling people how to leave voicemail messages?). But it's resonated with a lot of people, it's the second most popular post on this blog.

United Nathan

Great idea. I cannot agree more with your template nor can I stress that the person leaving the message should ever assume that I have committed their number to memory. ALWAYS leave your number... even if you are my mother, brother, best friend, lover or long lost acquaintance. Chances are I know you, but don't remember your number.


"It is a good day to be anal retentive"...

I am a private tutor. The phone messages I receive display a rich variety of telephone skills.

Suggested minor improvements:

I'm calling John Smith
This is Jane Doe
My number is area code ZZZ, zzz-zzzz

- "Hi" - throwaway word sets your phone's sensitivity so first syllable isn't washed out.

- Putting the recipient's name first lets me skip the message immediately if it's for someone else here.

- Identify yourself. I don't recognize your telephone voice. Which "Jane"? "It's me"? Please. (Besides, it's "It's I" grumblegrumble...)

- "Acesevanfighthrionine" is not a telephone number. And which of the eleven overlay area codes are you?

- A number left at the beginning of the message means I don't have to sit through the whole message to replay it - and it won't be cut off after your 30 seconds are up.

- Include enough information to eliminate one round of phone-tag. Don't bother with "I have a question, call me".


You are so right, people just sometimes dont use their common logic for leaving messages. Or they stutter and hmm for at least 6 min. For gods sake, its just a machine!! I never understood why people are terrified of it.


Since that great template post I have used it a lot. But my next gripe is leaving my own personal voice mail message on my phone any tips. I need something quick, yet to the point. Thanks!


The template is a great start. My only suggestion is to repeat the phone number. Most people accelerate their speaking rate with phone numbers. Even if you slow down, repeating the number will better ensure the person gets it.

Susan Aaron, Alpha Omega Editing Services

Absolutely commit your “template” to memory so you can readily leave a standard message. This one is a good start—I’d adjust it a bit, however. There is no way I’m going to bother to write down a phone number until I know why the person is calling. So the caller should state the reason for calling just after giving his/her name. And yes, repeat the number.

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  • Dave Greten is a 36 year old writer/editor/web designer living in Boston. He is married with a daughter and has a B.A. in English from the University of New Hampshire.

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