— By Lorna Scherff

The joys of instant messaging! I’ve been texting for a couple of years now, and I will be the first to sing its praises! I have found that some individuals who in the past have been really difficult to get a hold of using voice mail and e-mail, somehow are quick to answer text messages. So, for me, I truly appreciate it as an effective option for communicating. Usually my text is something as short as leaving my phone number and asking for a call back. Lengthy details can be discussed once the phone connection is made and a dialogue is initiated.

But we need to be realistic about texting; it can’t be used in every situation, especially on landlines. So here’s some friendly advice on leaving effective messages on voice mail if it’s your intention to receive a call back.

Be mindful of who’s receiving the message. Your audience may speak a language other than English, be hard-of-hearing, or unfamiliar with who you are, so please speak slowly and clearly. Repeat the phone number you wish to be reached at multiple times during the message, and say that you’ll be repeating the number. That prompts the listener to grab a pen and paper.

In my opinion, your phone number is the most important piece of information. Leaving a two minute message containing all kinds of minute details, and then quickly rattling off the phone number only once at the tail end of your message, is not only highly ineffective, it is very irritating for the individual receiving the message. I can’t tell you the number of times I have had to replay a message over and over and over again, because the phone number was not clearly spoken. Remember, your objective is to have the person call you back, so make it easy to do just that. Most people you call will not take the time, or even have the time, to listen to the message multiple times to obtain the correct telephone number. Some individuals might have Caller ID, displaying the phone number on the screen of the phone and/or answering machine, but don’t count on that because not all numbers will appear, or appear correctly.

Success in business is all about contacts, connections, and effective communication. If success is your goal, making it easy for people to get a hold of you is critical.

Lorna ScherffLorna Scherff is co-owner (along with husband, Rand) of SpeedPro Imaging, North OC, the first franchise to open in Orange County in 2010. Large format imaging/printing is our core competency: trade show displays, vehicle wraps, window and floor graphics, banners, and posters. We make your branding look simply outstanding!