How to Leave the Perfect Telephone Message

If you are anything like me, you are always on the phone harrassing asking people for things they’ve promised.

Every message should be as clear and as concise as possible, and following some set rules can mean whether your call gets returned on time or not!

Here are the 5 simple rules to follow:

  1. Always leave your name and where you are calling from
  2. Leave a brief, clear message about what you want
  3. Clearly state your phone number twice
  4. Tell them when and where they can reach you (and in addition when they cannot reach you)
  5. End with a polite goodbye and a reminder about what you want


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This is the example:

Hello, this is Everyday Minimalist calling from Everyday Minimalist Inc.

I am calling to ask if the proofs for the images have come in for the client Catherine Cleaning Inc.’s review.

If they haven’t, I would like to know when you expect to receive them, as they are urgent.

Please call me at area code 111, 222, 3344. I repeat. Area code 111, 222, 3344.

I will be in the office from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. tonight, but I will not be in the office tomorrow until 3 p.m.

Please return my call as soon as possible about those proofs. Thanks and have a good day.

Let’s dissect the message:

1. Always leave your name and where you are calling from.

Hello, this is Everyday Minimalist calling from Everyday Minimalist Inc.

People aren’t psychics, and please for the love of all things organized, do not say “It’s me.” or “It’s me again.”, unless you are SURE they talk to you so often, they know the sound of your unique, distinct voice

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2. Leave a brief, clear message about what you want

I am calling to ask if the proofs for the images have come in for the client Catherine Cleaning Inc.’s review. If they haven’t, I would like to know when you expect to receive them, as they are urgent.

Again. Not psychics. Give specifics about what you want, and what action you expect them to take. If you want them to find the proofs, fix the proofs, throw away the proofs, then say so.

telephone3. Clearly state and repeat your telephone number twice

Please call me at area code 111, 222, 3344. I repeat. Area code 111, 222, 3344.

If you say your telephone number, say is slowly and clearly. And repeat it immediately because after they write down what they think the number is, they can either correct it, or check to ensure they have the right numbers written in the right order.

4. Tell them when and where they can reach you

I will be in the office from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. tonight, but I will not be in the office tomorrow until 3 p.m.

Nothing is more annoying than playing phone tag.

5. End with a polite goodbye & a reminder of the action item you want them to take

Please return my call as soon as possible about those proofs. Thanks and have a good day.

Remind them of what you need them to get done, and be polite by thanking them.


Other Reminders

  • If you are nervous, write down the script before hand so you can just read off it.
  • Be pleasant and friendly, or you may not get a callback because they’re too scared of your voice. Try smiling warmly when you’re speaking.
  • Don’t be too friendly or use slang if you don’t know the person.
  • Limit the amount of sensitive information on the voice message, just in case someone else is checking the voicemail for them and/or they’ve put it on speakerphone.

About the Author

I'm a 20-something year old girl who lived out of a single suitcase in 2007, and now I'm living with less, but only with the best. You don't have to get rid of everything to become a minimalist! Minimalism can help simplify and organize your life, career, & physical surroundings. You can read more about me as a minimalist. Or come and visit my other blog Fabulously Broke in the City where I got out of $60,000 of debt in 18 months, earning $65,000 gross/year.