Vacation messages – It’s ugly out there!

Is it the excitement of summer vacation – or any vacation – that causes people to suddenly become, well, thought-less? That’s my guess.

I do empathize. There’s nothing like that last day of work before a holiday, the focus we have as we “tie up loose ends” and that moment when we’re ready to walk out the door, embrace our well-earned time off.

And I’m guessing that this moment, the one just seconds away from freedom, is the one in which most people remember their voicemail – and the need to change the message.

This past week I listened to a lot of vacation messages. Most of them were delivered at the speed of light, many were impossible to understand, several lacked any valuable information and one had so much I had to call back three times to get all the details.

People … this has got to stop! All of us hate reaching lousy voicemail messages; all of us are capable of creating great ones.

Here’s a few tips that will make reaching your vacation message a joy:

1) Skip all the dates. You know what I mean – “I’m on vacation from … through to…” It causes confusion. Instead, simply state when you will be back at work, i.e.  “I’ll be back at my desk on Monday, July 30…”

2) Be honest. You are going on vacation and you deserve to enjoy it without work interruptions. We all deserve this and it’s essential to our health and our creativity. So … don’t say you are monitoring and returning messages; I know you’re not going to call me back.

3) Speak slowly – and repeat. Many vacation messages include the option to contact someone else, which is great customer service. But it’s totally defeated if the information is given so quickly that neither name nor phone number can be understood. As a rule, we are not prepared to “take a message” when we make outbound calls. Take this into consideration, stating names and phone numbers slowly and clearly, at the same speed it would take you to write them down. Then say them again so your caller can check what they’ve written down.

4) Sound happy. After all, while I’m listening to your message you are on vacation!

One last thought:

“Someone might have a germ of talent, but 90% of it is discipline and how you practice it, what you do with it. Instinct won’t carry you through the entire journey. It’s what you do in the moments between inspiration.”  Cate Blanchett, actress

3 thoughts on “Vacation messages – It’s ugly out there!”

  1. Hi Mary Jane,

    Excellent post – and very timely!! As I’m preparing for vacation in the near future, I’ve been thinking about my voice-message.

    I have a corporate client who leaves the BEST out-of-office messages, so I’m planning to pattern mine after her. (I won’t say who she is or her inbox would be jammed. 🙂 )

    I also LOVE the quote you’ve shared, especially “It’s what you do in the moments between inspiration.” Isn’t that the truth!

    Gail

    Reply

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