NOTE: I didn’t write this. It’s a submission. I haven’t tried doing it this way, but it seems to me that it would work:
To effectively leave a phone message:
- Write a list of what you need to convey - if you get nervous on the phone this is a good tip in general to call, because you might end up forgetting what you need to say as soon as that person picks up – happens to everybody!
- The most important things to include are your identity (name), reason for calling (to make an appointment? because they called you first but you missed it? to inquire or speak to somebody in particular in the building?), and your contact details (your cell/mobile or telephone number, email address).
- For example, your list could say: my name is John Smith, inquiring about doctor’s appointment, call back on xxx-xxxxx, evenings.
- Listen very carefully to any instructions you’re given on the answerphone. If you didn’t catch it the first time there is no harm in hanging up before the beep, calling, and listening again. Keep a pen to hand to make notes in the meantime.
- State your answer in the clearest way possible; you may be nervous, so aim to speak slowly and clearly. You won’t sound silly: the other person who will receive the message will be grateful that they can hear you clearly. Repeating certain details helps a lot too as hearing a number twice will allow the other person time to copy it down accurately.
- For example: “Hello there, I would like to make/ask about booking an appointment. My name is John Smith. Please call me back on my cellphone, my number is (speaking slowly) xxx-xxxxx. That’s xxx-xxxxx. I’ll be able to answer your call between 4 and 7pm any day of the week. Otherwise my e-mail address is john[at]email[dot]com. Thank you, goodbye.” Don’t hang up without an end greeting.
- You can alter this formula for informal things too, such as calling friends or family. If they already know your number just let them know that you’ll respond to a text more quickly, or when you’ll be available to receive a call.