Leaving a voicemail can actually be somewhat stressful for people who feel awkward talking to a machine. In business settings in particular, one might feel obligated to speak a certain way or refrain from saying certain words. Fortunately, voicemail etiquette is quite similar to that of other forms of business communication, and as long as the person leaving the voicemail speaks clearly and leaves pertinent information on the recording, voicemail etiquette is, for the most part, being effectively followed. One should remember to be brief, accurate, and well-spoken when leaving a business message, and when leaving a casual message, one should also be sure to follow voicemail etiquette and be brief and clear.
When leaving a message, the primary goal is to convey a brief description of who the caller is and where the caller can be reached in the future. The person receiving the voicemail cannot obtain this information if the caller does not speak clearly. One should not rush through the message; he or she should speak clearly and give only basic information that the person receiving the call needs in order to get back to the caller. Leave a phone number on the recording, and be sure to enunciate clearly so the person receiving the call can understand it.
On business calls, voicemail etiquette dictates that the caller not be too casual with the person receiving the call. The caller should think of the voicemail as an interaction with the actual person; he should think about how he or she would interact with the person receiving the call if it was a face to face interaction and speak accordingly. Slang, cursing, and excessive familiarity should be avoided, though this does not mean the caller must sound cold and detached. Everyone receiving a voicemail will react more positively to a bright voice than to a cold or angry one, so be bright but polite.
To follow voicemail etiquette, one should also avoid lengthy voicemails with excessive details and rambling diatribes. The voicemail is not the appropriate forum to expand upon a topic in need of discussion; rather, it is a way to communicate to another person that a face to face or phone conversation is necessary. Brevity can enhance a business relationship rather than hinder it, and one should not expect an immediate response from the person being called. The idea of a voicemail is to leave a message, not start or continue a full conversation.