Voice mail is a necessary evil in our lives--we all hate it, but ironically we all have it. In my job, voice mail is pretty much the only way for people to communicate with me and one of my pet peeves is bad voice mail etiquette. So, here is a handy list of "Voice Mail No-No's" for the workplace. Of course, none of us have ever made any of these mistakes, but it's a handy reference just in case ;)
1. Don't rush through your call back number: There's nothing more annoying than listening to a long, rambling voice mail liberally peppered with "um's" and "uh's" and then at the end having the caller whip through their call back number so quickly and unintelligibly that you have to play it back 4 or 5 times to figure out what they've said. Please say it slowly, clearly and (preferably) twice.
2. Keep it brief: It drives me crazy when I have 3 messages in my voice mail box and I'm being told it's full. I don't need your life story, just who you are, why I should care and how I can get back to you if I am so inclined. Period. However, the flip side of this coin brings me to...
3. Give me what I need: Who are you? Why are you calling me? Why should I call you back if I have no idea who you are or why you are calling me? Give me a compelling reason to return your call or I might "accidentally" delete your message.
4. When playing phone tag, actually respond to the question I asked you on your voice mail: I left a message for a guy the other day and when he called me back and left me a message it was obvious he either a) hadn't listened to my message past "Hi, this is Kendall returning your call" or b) doesn't understand spoken English. When you call me back, know why you're calling me back so I don't have to call you and leave you another message you're not going to listen to. Please.
If we all adhere to these simple rules voice mail will magically become more tolerable and this will eventually lead to world peace. I'm convinced of it.