Management Tactic #6: Say Your Phone Number Like You Just Learned It

I get a lot of voicemails on my office phone. I’m up from my desk a lot, and it seems there is a 100% chance that people will call me when I’m in the bathroom (which is in my office, so I can hear the phone ring).

When I listen to voicemails, I always have a pen in hand and a sticky note stuck to the desk. I’m poised. I’m ready. I take notes about the message.

And then, inevitably, after short messages and long, drawn-out messages alike, the caller will rush through their phone number as if it’s the least important part of the message.

Obviously, that could not be further from the truth. The phone number is by far the most important part of the message. Even though it’s just a number that you (the caller) know by heart and have said a million times, the recipient of your message has never heard it before. And even if they have–if you called the other day–they may not still have it. Never assume they still have it.

I offer a three-step process for leaving your phone number on voicemails:

  1. Tell the person that it’s coming (and tell them what kind of phone it is). “My cell phone number is…”
  2. Speak the number like you just learned it yourself. Say it slowly. So slowly that you kind of sound like an idiot. Trust me, the person on the other end of the phone will thank you.
  3. Before you hang up, think for a second if you said your number like an idiot. If not, repeat it.

Any other suggestions on how people can improve voicemail messages?