A Message About Messages

Photo of cellphone text message inbox

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ozboi-nz/ (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

All of us get phone messages, whether at home or at work.  Here’s a big thank-you to everyone who identifies him or herself, leaves the phone number and then repeats both pieces of information.  I am constantly surprised by how many people in the business of communicating (and really, who isn’t?) don’t follow this helpful template:

  1. Identify yourself and give your number.
  2. Leave a brief message.
  3. Repeat who you are and repeat the number.

If you ignore step 3, the recipient often has to go through the irritating step of having to listen to the entire message again to get a key piece of information–especially your complete phone number.  And that can turn into resentment toward the caller.  But worse, it’s common for a phone message  to break up at a key point — especially during the phone number.  Not only is that particularly annoying from the recipient’s perspective, it’s also self-defeating from the caller’s.

So save others and yourself some grief; repeat yourself.  So save others and yourself some grief; repeat yourself.

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  • Thank you for posting this great advice! While we can sometimes grab a phone number off the caller ID, many times the caller is leaving a different call-back number. And I NEVER catch the name of the person at the beginning of the message.

  • Dr. William S

    Great comment Phil! I think people lack education and understanding on why what you said is so important. It amazes me how many calls I get where the peorson never gives me their name. I guess I’m supposed to know?