Which One Are You?

May 12, 2013
Mary Jane Copps


I’ve spent much of this past week prospecting for both myself and others and I’ve noted common characteristics among voicemail messages. Does your message match any of these … and what does this mean to your prospects and customers?

The Flight Attendant

This message has the same intonation and pacing as the safety procedure message we hear at the beginning of every flight. It is well rehearsed, contains no errors or “uhms” or “ahs”. It is absolutely professional … but lacks all trace of warmth, interest and personality. Callers certainly receive the information they need but not an opportunity to engage or build relationship.

The Indy Driver

This message whizzes along at top speed. The words are spoken so quickly, fit together so tightly that they create a visual of the person taking one big breath at the beginning and not breathing again until their done. The impression this creates is of rush and stress – simply too busy to take on more business or to be of service. Rather than welcome a caller, the speedy message pushes them away.

The Minimalist

Efficiency is valuable and we all admire people who get to the point, but being greeted by “Jane Smith’s office. Leave a message.” creates doubt. Does this Jane Smith still work for the company? Does she pick up messages? Am I calling the right person, the right organization?  Where there is doubt, there is a caller who goes elsewhere for what they need.

The Detailer

As many of you know, I am an advocate of the dated message … but not the play-by-play of one’s entire schedule and an optional phone number and a website address and a bit of information about tomorrow’s schedule … . You know what I mean. The goal of a great voicemail message is to let the caller know you can be of service, not that you are constantly busy being of service to others.



For those of you who aren’t familiar with Winnie The Pooh, Eeyore is the stuffed donkey in the stories and he’s generally characterized as gloomy and pessimistic. In animated versions his voice is low and slow and … tired and bored. And there is a wealth of voicemail messages out there that sound exactly like Eeyore. What the caller hears is someone who has no interest at all in the job or the company and this not only pushes them towards the competition, it shuts the door behind them as they go.

Now I did try to find a category for the great voicemails – the one’s that had energy, enthusiasm and expressed a desire to be of service but … each of them were as unique as the person who created them. And that’s what builds relationships!

I look forward to your thoughts and feedback. Happy dialing everyone.

Next Sunday is part of the Victoria Day holiday (hard to believe) after which I’m off to Ottawa for a week so … no blog will arrive in your inbox. You’ll hear from me again on May 26th.



May 21 to May 26

The Phone Lady in Ottawa attending meetings and delivering workshops. 

May 30 – Halifax – Grow Your Business 

10 am until noon

This monthly prospecting practice, in conjunction with The Hub Halifax – 1673 Barrington Street, brings together like-minded entrepreneurs who want to perfect their telephone skills. To register click here  Call me at 902-404-3290 or email me for more details.

June 5 – Halifax – Phone Fear to Phone Fabulous  – Centre for Entrepreneurship Education and Development (CEED)

Whether it’s leveraging supplies, coordinating marketing initiatives or following up on a sales lead, the telephone is often the fastest, cheapest and most effective tool at hand to get the job done.  Why is it then that it is also one of the most avoided tools in business?  Not feeling confident in your ability to effectively communicate by phone can very quickly create a negative impact on your business’ bottom line.  Avoid this impact and overcome your phone fear by empowering yourself with the knowledge that you need to turn your telephone into one of your company’s key competitive advantages. Learn more details and register here:

June 7 – Halifax – Powerful Conversations – Editors Association of Canada

Discover your unique “phone personality” and learn how to be a more effective communicator on the telephone. This workshop will sharpen your existing skills and teach you new ways to use the phone to build relationships and get things done. More details available here:

June 28 – Halifax – Telephone Etiquette – Teamwork Cooperative/The WorkBridge

This workshop is designed for those looking for employment or wanting to improve their current skills: 1 to 4 pm.






  1. Linda Daley says:

    My immediate thought was that I’m The Detailer, but that’s more when I’m leaving voicemail messages for others. Of course your categories apply to that as well. Fun article!

  2. Love the detail you put into this! With your depth of experience, it’s interesting to see the pattern and hard to believe people don’t take more time with this easy bit of marketing and branding!

  3. Thanks Mary Jane, you completely made me realize that I need to redo my voicemail!! Its always nice to have something scripted but I do try and make it personal! 🙂

    • The Phone Lady says:

      Thanks, Samantha. This is exactly what I hope to achieve with these little rants of mine – that we all think about our messages and consider some changes. I’m sure that your’s expresses your energetic personality and your desire to be of service!

  4. RhodskieS says:

    Hi, GREAT Article… you made my breaktime interesting…
    looking forward in reading more of your “rants”..



  5. […] (Originally posted at The Phone Lady’s website here.) […]

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