GAH! Slow down when you leave a message!

This probably should go in the mini-rants thread, but so many people do it it drives me crazy! Maybe some people will see themselves here and STOP IT already!

I always check the answering machine when I first come into work and usually they are from people who want to make appointments or have questions. Half the time people only leave their first name or garble their last name, but that’s ok, if you don’t mind me calling you back and saying “Hello, is this [first name]? This is [me] from [work] returning your call.” It’s informal, but if I only have your first name to go on, that’s what I use.

That is, if I CAN call you back, assuming I heard your number right. It never ceases to amaze me how often people garble their phone numbers, lower their voice, or even more often, and this is what REALLY drives me nuts, they’ll rush through their number as if it’s some kind of race. Why are you (those who do this) rushing through the most important part of the message? Sometimes I have to play a message back several times to understand and catch all the numbers so I can write them down so I can call you back. Sometimes I can’t even get it with multiple listenings, and then I just have to hope you call back (while you’re thinking that I’m not doing my job and returning your call).

When I leave my number on an answering maching, I make sure I slow down and enunciate clearly at that point. It’s not that hard.


“…and my number is 7 7 3 [pause] 5 5 5 [pause] 1 2 1 2”

The few extra seconds that it’s going to take you will not ruin your life or cause you to be late for anything important, but it’ll make my life, and the lives of receptionists everywhere, a tiny bit less stressful, and will ensure you’ll get a call back.

The worst are long droning messages where the phone number is at the very end, so I’m forced to listen the whole thing multiple times just to catch it. As a result, I try to start my voicemail messages with my number enunciated as carefully as I can. As in, “This is Dewey Finn at 800-555-1212 and I’m calling about . . .”

That’s a good way, I like that.

If I absolutely have to leave a message that is considered long, I identify myself at the beginning (of course) then sign off with, “You can call me at 888-555-0000; again, this [Me] and my number is 888-555-0000.”

I hate what the OP describes and, unless it directly benefits me, will simply not attempt to decipher the message or call the person back.

Speed-talking drives me crazy. Clerks do it, waiters do it, and it’s always a 20-something. Perhaps your friends can understand your slurred rapid-fire delivery, but my ears are old and slow, dammit!

Two minutes of crap to hear the number again, and again, and again. The answering machines all need a back 5 seconds button you can press, and a pause, so you can try to get one number at a time. After the 5th repeat you realize they gave you a number that is missing a digit.

I get shite about this from my boss all the time. She’ll mention that Slurringdrunk McMumblemouth called her and said that I’ve not returned a phone call. I stick to my guns and say that If I can’t, in two listens, figure out who you are, where you’re calling from and what you want you just get deleted.

The worst are paralegals and secretaries at law offices. “This is Mandy from Wasshatoodlereeblebeebleding. Please call our office back. Thanks!”

Ugh. Not always 20-somethings, although they do seem to be the worst offenders. But my husband, a 50-something, is the worst I’ve ever heard. For some reason he leaves coherent (most of the time) message but then at the end of the message only he gives his phone number so quickly and slurs it so much * I * can’t understand it. Sometimes he’s really courteous and repeats the number - even faster!

I think it’s subconscious on his part - he hates talking on the phone and I think on some level wants to discourage call backs. Oh, and he has the crappiest hearing of anyone his age that I know. You’d think he’d be more aware of problems hearing, but no.


Hi, this is [me] at [my company] [my number] [message] once again, this is [meatmycompany], I’m calling about [3 to 5 word summary] and I can be reached at [my number], thank you!


Waddup. Gimme a call.

I posted a similar thread years ago. IMO: Leave your name and number and if you must a *brief *message. Anything more is for the conversation we have if I call you back.

If I have to leave a long message, I start with my name, spell my last name (which is pointless since they always misspell it anyway), give my phone number clearly, give my message, and then at the end repeat my name and number again. I’ve been the victim of too many Slurringdrunk McMumblemouths myself! So yeah, I’m totally with the OP. How hard is it to give your number at a comprehensible speed?

That is exactly what I do. I have no idea this idea hasn’t made it’s way into popular societal rules. Leaving your number at the beginning means that someone can easily get it again if they need to replay the message. Leaving again at the end means that they have a good chance of getting it the first time. Who wants to hear twofoureightninetwoeightfour when 2–4--8–9--2–8--4 works better and is no harder to say.

I sometimes speak fast, but I always leave my number twice, and I always leave my number regardless of whom I’m speaking to, except for my very closest friends (i.e. people who have me on their speed dial).

New York people, yo! Representin’! etc. But:

Can you pleeease get over yourself and spare just a few seconds more of your hypervaluable time to say why you want me to call you back? What are you, on confidential government business or something?

And like everyone else says, slow the hell down. You make me nervous. And you wouldn’t like me when I’m nervous.

Do you turn large and green and restrict yourself to holophrasis?

I’m nodding my head here.
We have a new(ish) supervisor for our team. It’s not uncommon for a client to call her if we don’t call them back in a time frame they feel is decent (we’re allowed 24 hours). After the third client nagged to her about how we never call him/her back, many of us have started saving the worst of the worst voicemails - basically covering our collective asses. The first time I had a client call her, I ended up in her office for over an hour explaining the situation.

“Joe Smith says he left two messages yesterday, why no response?”
“Oh, you mean this guy?”
(I play her a message that sounds like “Bobwrit” or “Yo, this is Joe”, no identifying info, and a phone number given at a speed that would impress an auctioneer)
“I guess that was him - why didn’t you call him back?”
“Call who? Bobwrit/Every damned Joe on our caseloads? Nope”

Our voicemail clearly states that they must speak slowly - messages with incomplete information will not be returned. Bummer.

No, but hell will freeze over before I ever return another of your calls.

I fully support this OP. I don’t care if you have said your company name and/or your name and phone number a hundred thousand times; slow down, enunciate, and I will probably call you back. This goes for you receptionists out there, too - you’re not saving time by saying your company name like this - “GoodmorningDeweyCheatemAndHowMonicaspeakinghowmayIdirectyourcall?” Now the person who is calling has to go “Hunh?” and you get to do it all over again.

Yeah - my frustration at inaudible and/or lengthy messages changed the way I leave messages. I start every one off "Hi, this is Dinsdale, my number is (slowly and clearly) 123-4567. I’m calling about xyz." Then I either ask them to call me, or go into whatever I wish to discuss. If they don’t want to hear the entire message, they have my name and number and can simply call me back or not as they prefer. At the end, I say, "Again, this is Dinsdale at 123-4567."

That’s the way I wish people would leave messages for ME! They don’t often, tho…

My wife’s job requires her to take people’s information and they frequently call and leave messages. She has a voicemail message that is VERY specific…speak clearly, spell your name and address…slowly.

I do this also.

However, for some reason, it doesn’t work for me. Nobody ever calls me back.

Maybe I should stop saying “This is Dinsdale.”