[On] Point to Ponder: Voice Message = Brand Message

Like it? Share it. Help people leave better voicemails. Then, start receiving better voicemails.

Last week, my colleague Sam said, “By the way, you leave the best voicemails. You should teach people how to do that better.”

Here goes.

Voicemail is branding – personal branding. When you call to leave a voicemail, you’re either maximizing or squandering that branding opportunity.

Voicemail: To Leave, or Not to Leave?


Why I Chose to Leave Sam a Voicemail
In unique circumstances, voicemail makes sense. I’d traded e-mails with Sam on something time sensitive. He was helping me network for a job-seeking friend. The deadline was looming. I sat down to type an email, but it quickly became cumbersome. I needed to communicate some details. I needed his reactions right then. I also wanted him to genuinely know I appreciated his time. So I switched gears.

But Don’t People Hate Voicemail?

I know what you’re thinking. People hate voicemails. They’re too long. They don’t listen to them (really?). Voicemail is a dinosaur. Here’s why I disagree (and why I don’t hate voicemail).

  1. Oftentimes people don’t read e-mails either. This is wasteful too. You end up explaining again, or being misunderstood and now you’re off on an unwanted path.
  2. Not listening to a voicemail is unprofessional. If you leave good voicemails people will not only listen, they’ll respond. They may learn to leave good voicemails too.
  3. As with all communication, know your Audience. Leave voicemails for the right people. With the right words in the message.
  4. Know your Context (or Occasion). Leave voicemails for the right reasons.

Why are Voicemails Often Better?

  1. You can convey tone. The recipient hears your genuine-ness. Or Gratitude. Urgency. Concern. Authenticity.
  2. As a result, voicemails allow you to build relationship and stay connected. It’s true. When someone hears the sound of your voice, they feel more connected to you personally. You become more memorable.
  3. You can coach yourself! Are you working on becoming a better communicator? Use the “listen and re-record” function. End your voicemail and play it back. Do you sound confident? Do you have a lot of fillers? Are your points clear or are you rambling? Is your cell in a dead zone and they’re going to miss half a sentence? You get a do-over with voicemail.

Back to my job-seeking friend. Sam offered to help me find a connection for her, but there were loose ends to tie up. I picked up the phone. It was just going to be faster to talk to Sam. So I called.

How to Leave an “On Point” Voicemail:

  1. This is obvious – identify. “Hi Sam, Cindy Skalicky calling.”
  2. Give a preview. I said something like, “Just 3 quick points and let’s circle back soon.”
  3. Leave power-packed points. “First, I saw your e-mail. Thank you so much for offering to reach out to your contact at the city. Second, I’m going to e-mail you a revised cover letter and resume from my friend by the end of the day.And third, my friend’s situation is unique because…(explain briefly).”
  4. Close fast. “Thanks, Sam, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your time on this. Call or text me at this number any time today, after 4:00 is best.”

Share this with your network. Help others leave better voicemails. Leave a comment with your feedback and happy voicemail-ing!

Photo by Ruth Bruhn

Cindy provides public speaking coaching and brand consulting to entrepreneurs and small businesses who seek to master their message on stage, online and in publications. Her passion for crafting, analyzing and presenting messages developed through over 25 years in the corporate, academic and entrepreneurial worlds. Cindy coaches clients on pitch decks, TED talks, storytelling, presentation presence, brand messaging, PR strategy and more. Contact Cindy at info@onpoint-communications.com or visit www.onpoint-communications.com


Back To Blog


“Cindy: You know what, empathic emotion does sell. I would have been all numbers. I learned a big lesson. Thank you so much.”

2017 Go Code Colorado finalist

Cindy was selected to present at the Career Thought Leader Conference in Denver. I attended her session and was impressed with her presentation and content marketing expertise. I have been a trainer for over 20 years and her presentation added specific impactful strategies that I will include in my next training. Cindy has a natural engaging style that is persuasive and professional. I would highly recommend working with her if you are looking to increase your business presentations.

Beth Kennedy, Executive Coach

“Cindy, BRAVO! The Colloquium was a splendid success. Thank you for your hard work. I’m very proud of how it turned out. Very truly yours, Bob Schaffer”

Principal, Liberty Common Schools

When you meet Cindy, you can’t help but feel engaged and pay attention. She clearly is an outstanding communications professional. The way she took the stage, conveyed her message and shared her approach to storytelling at the recent conference was mesmerizing.

Cindy made me rethink my approach to storytelling that I had used in my client work for many years. Cindy’s workshop alone made my trip to Denver worthwhile.

Ruth Winden, Executive Coach (UK)

“As a professional speaker, I know the value of getting feedback before giving an important speech. As I prepared my TEDx talk, Cindy was the perfect person to give me outside perspective. She did a beautiful job taking the many ideas I had floating around in my head and helping me select what to use, how to organize them, and how to tie it all together.

I love the way she coached, not trying to make her words my own, but instead, considering what I was trying to achieve and helping me stay true to my voice. If you have to stand and deliver a great talk, working with Cindy can help you ensure you’re at your best!”

Tanis Roeder, Elevate Your Communication