5 Tips for a Professional Voicemail Greeting

Dear Business Professionals: please listen to the professional voicemail greeting on your cell phone and office line at this time. No, really—take 3 minutes and listen to each greeting now.

Woman talking on phone professional voicemail greeting

What did you think of your greeting? Do you need to change it? Could it be better?

For some of us, our professional voicemail greeting is our crucial first impression. For others, it could be something that our clients and partners hear over and over again. It’s not hard to imagine how an unprofessional voicemail greeting could reflect poorly on you.

Recently, after noticing several bad greetings in one day, I decided to take some notes for a month and use those notes to put together some guidelines to share. In that one month, I encountered dozens of greetings that were inaccurate, unclear, choppy because of a poor connection, or (even worse!) cut off completely!

Here are some tips to for a professional voicemail greeting:

  1. Call from a landline or record your greeting while you are in a quiet room or vehicle that is NOT moving. Background noise is terribly distracting. If you must use a cell phone, use a high quality, wired headset (I use the Bose SoundTrue In-Ear Headphones).
  2. Script your greeting – put some thought into it (here are some examples). Even if you change it daily, it should just be a slight variation on a standard greeting. Write it down and make sure you read it while you are recording it—this will help avoid “ums” and “ahs.”
  3. Smile when you speak. Your smile can be heard in your voice.
  4. Include specific, useful (and accurate!) information in your message:
    • Clearly state your name so the caller knows they got the right number—3 of the messages I heard last month were missing his/ her name.
    • Thank the person for calling.
    • Tell the caller when to expect a returned call from you. If you only check and return messages once a day or once a week, let your caller know. This will avoid multiple messages by the same caller.
    • Don’t include the date unless it’s completely necessary. 16 of the messages I heard last month had the wrong date—one of the messages had a date over 2 months old!
  5. Keep it short. Your message should be 20-30 seconds (at most).

And here’s a bonus tip: If you have an assistant, include their name and contact information in your greeting. If you have a hard time delegating tasks, this is an excellent way to start building it into your processes.

Remember, your message is a reflection of you. Keep it short, professional and ALWAYS return messages.

Until next time—go sell some stuff!

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