It’s Time to Update Your Voicemail Greeting

This article was submitted by Janet Falk, Chief Strategist of Falk Communications and Research in New York City. She provides media relations and marketing communications services to attorneys with a solo practice, small law firms and consultants. She can be reached at 212/677-5770 or

As we start to settle back into life at the office, you anticipate more calls at your workplace phone.

Take a moment to listen again to your voicemail greeting.

You’ve been using voicemail since 1984. Everyone knows the recorded answer will be followed by a beep, which is when they record their message to you.

Are you impatient with a greeting like this:

“Hello, this is Griselda Brown of Swift Brown Fox speaking. Thank you for calling. Your call is very important to me. I’m sorry I’m not here right now to answer your call. I’m either on the phone or away from my desk.” 

Why does someone spend the first precious 10 seconds of a recorded phone message ingratiating themselves with the caller?

Don’t create a delay for the caller and waste her time.

Get down to business and let her know how to reach you in case her call is urgent.

She wants to connect with you, leave an important message, and move on with her day.

People know perfectly well you did not answer the phone because:

  • you are on deadline
  • you are on another call or in a meeting
  • you are ducking robo-calls. 

Time is everyone’s most precious resource.

Callers want to ask you a question and, if you are not immediately available, learn when you will be able to answer it. Make your recorded message short and sweet.

Here’s a model script:

  1. State your name (and firm), confirming the caller reached the party she seeks.
  2. Invite the caller to please leave a phone number and message so you may return the call as soon as possible. 
  3. Consider saying your cell phone number — enunciated slowly and perhaps repeated. The caller will be able to send you a text or reach you at that number regarding an urgent matter.
  4. Read aloud the cell phone number you have written as words, at a measured pace that callers can follow. Mine is three-four-seven-two-five-six-nine-one-four-one.
  5. (Variation) Due to a court appearance, a day-long meeting, or travel, you may not return the call promptly. State there will be a delay in your reply call. Perhaps direct the call to a colleague at a given number.

Now, listen to your voicemail greeting and see how it compares to the suggested script. Update your script and re-record your voicemail greeting with the caller’s convenience in mind.

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