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Career Corner
The Telephone

Todd Royer -- When you leave a voice message on the telephone, you DO want people to call you back, don't you?

I once heard a story about Casey Stengel, the famous New York Yankee's Baseball Manager. Towards the end of his career, he took a job managing the New York Mets. It was in the early 1960s, during the team's initial years and, of course, the closing years of Stengel's storied managing career.

Casey opened spring training the second season, after a disastrous first year, by addressing his players. He stood in front of his entire professional baseball squad, held up a ball in his right hand, so everyone could see it, and said: "Gentlemen, I don't want to assume anything. Let's start at the very beginning. This is a baseball."

This week we're going to revert to the basics of career development. Ladies and gentlemen, we're going to discuss the telephone.

"Hello, this is John Williams. My number is: (333) 333-3333."

When you leave voicemails, leave your number near the very beginning of your message. You can leave it at the end also, but make sure when the listener replays the message (to copy your number) they won't have to wait while the full message repeats.

There are two other essential niceties of voicemail: speak loudly and clearly, and slow down when you're leaving phone numbers. That means, you must actually stop between the number groups. For instance, you should say: "My work number is (333)," pause, "333," pause, and end with "33-33."

It's amazing how fast people rip through their numbers when they leave them on voicemail. If you'd like a return call, slow down as you say those numbers, speak clearly, and use a full voice. Give them half a chance to write your number down. Make it seem like you really want them to have your phone number.

In these writings, I've tried not to deal with the mechanical details of work, believing that the larger issues of career development are more important. But this particular skill is so rudimentary, and its misuse so ubiquitous, that it screams for attention.

Sure, there are phones on the market that allow your listener to playback the last 5 seconds of your message (so they can copy your number), but don't assume your listener has that phone. Assume they have the most basic phone on the market and will have to replay your message to copy your number. Make it easy for them!

Todd Royer has been writing for the Internet for two years and has helped hundreds of people with their professional growth. If you would like a free subscription to Career Development Weekly, click below:

© 2005 Todd Royer

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