Do you provide a clearly articulated phone message? When you call and leave a voice message, what impression do you leave? When you receive a phone call but are not available to take the call, what impression will be generated when they listen to your recorded message? Do you give as much consideration to presenting a good first impression with a clearly articulated message over the phone as you would when meeting someone face to face for the first time?
A bad first impression is just that and you don’t get a second chance at a first impression. It may be possible to move beyond the negative impression but not without a great deal of time and effort so why not do it right from the start? It is a clearly articulated, confident message that will leave the best first impression. Consider a face to face meeting for the first time; a professional appearance, eye contact and a firm handshake are imperative. This is not so different than that required over the phone. You will not give the same impression if you are sitting in your pyjamas with your feet up watching TV as you will if you are in professional attire and focused on relaying a clear message with confidence and without distractions.
It sounds simple so why do so many people fail terribly at generating a good first impression over the phone? Most people are unaware of the impact a phone message or conversation can have on a first impression which is clearly evidenced by a resounding lack of consideration in preparedness or articulation. Do you put your best voice forward to generate an impressive and positive first impression? If your next job interview is over the phone, as many are today, will you be heard and stand out above your competition?
Call now and listen to your own voice message. Is it your voice? Does it sound professional? Is it a clearly articulated message that invites the caller to leave a message? Is it short and concise or is it so long that the caller will be more apt to hang up than wait for the opportunity to leave a message?
When you are calling someone, are you prepared? Do you know who it is you are calling and what questions you want to ask? Are the questions valid or was the information available on the website right next to the number you found to call? If you are leaving a recorded message, will your name and number be easily deciphered from your message? Of course you began your message with your name and number but did you repeat your name and number at the end of your message? You did leave a message to explain why you were calling, right?
If you have actually connected with a real person at the other end of the line do you make a point of smiling when introducing yourself? If leaving a message, are your words clear and spoken slowly enough for the person to be able to write down your name and number? Did you offer to spell your last name? No one taking a message appreciates, “he’ll know who it is”. The intended recipient checks in for messages only to be told John has called. Who the heck is John?! DO NOT assume. Even if the person you are leaving the message for has your number, DO NOT say, “she has my number’! Why would you take the time to explain that someone has your number rather than relaying your phone number? You can be assured that the messages with a name and number will be the ones returned first. There is no excuse for not leaving your name and number unless you can say, “it’s his mother calling”!.
So pick up the phone and call yourself. Listen carefully to your message and respond with a message that you can listen to and evaluate. What impression are you leaving?
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