6 General Voicemail Greetings

Make a Good First Impression With a Personalized Voicemail Greeting

businesswoman on phone in office

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The general voicemail greeting is used as the default voicemail greeting if you don't set any other greeting type. Occasionally, during events like power outages, even if you've set another greeting, your personalized programming might be wiped out. Or you might simply forget to change the greeting after returning from vacation

Basic Tips for Recording Your Voice Mail Greeting

The bottom line is that you never know when callers will listen to this greeting, so give your greeting a lot of thought and be sure to be brief and professional.

Avoid dates and timeframes for when you'll return calls—after all, you have no way of knowing when the caller will hear the message.

Your voicemail greeting will be played for both external calls originating from outside of your company and internal calls made by people calling from another extension within your company. Generally speaking, you should also sound alert (i.e., don't record your message when you're feeling groggy), don't stumble over your words (i.e., enunciate your words), spell your name or email address if appropriate (i.e. TBrowne@XYZ.com as opposed to TBrown@XYZ.com), and don't ramble on—people are busy and only want to hear what's most important.

Most importantly, practice your recording several times (listening to each attempt) until you are satisfied it's polished and professional.

If you've never recorded a voicemail greeting before, you may want to have a colleague listen to your greeting to get a second opinion.

6 Good General Voicemail Greeting Examples

Here are a few ideas for greetings that can get you started, ranging from strictly businesslike to a less formal greeting. Tweak and personalize any of these six options to fit your corporate culture and your personality, but try not to stray too far from these basics. 

  1. Hello. You have reached Jim Bucki. Unfortunately, I cannot take your call right now, but I would like to return it as soon as I can. So please leave me a message after the beep.
  2. Hi. This is Jim Bucki. I can't answer the phone right now, but if you leave me a message with your name and phone number, I will return your call as soon as possible.
  3. You have reached Jim Bucki. I can't take your call at the moment but please don't hesitate to leave a message after the tone. I will return your call as soon as I am able. If you need immediate assistance, please call my assistant, Susan Smith, at extension 6338. Thank you for calling. Goodbye.
  4. You have reached Jim Bucki, your guide to operations technology. Unfortunately, I can't take your call right now, but if you leave a message and include your name and telephone number, I will get back to you as soon as I can. You can also contact me via email at operationstech@XYZ.com. Thank you for calling.
  5. Hello. You have reached Jim Bucki. I cannot answer the phone right now, but I will return your call as soon as I can. If this is regarding a recent order, please call our Customer Service Department at 1-800-555-1212. They are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Eastern Time. Or you can log in to our website at XYZ.com. Otherwise, please leave a message after the beep.
  6. Thank you for calling. You have reached the office of Jim Bucki, Guide to Operations Technology. I am either talking with another client, or I am away from my desk. If this is an emergency, please call my answering service at 1-800-555-1212, which is operational 24/7. Otherwise, please leave a detailed, confidential message after the tone and I will return your call when I am available. Thank you.

Grabbing the Listener's Attention

Coloring outside of the lines isn't for everyone—especially if you work in a formal corporate environment. But if you work in sales (an upbeat profession) or at a science foundation (thought of as being stodgy), don't be afraid to get creative to get someone's attention. For instance, you can end your voice message posing a fun fact question such as, "if you drill a hole in the earth from top to the bottom and jump in, how long will it take to reach the bottom?" Let the caller know that if they answer correctly (i.e., 42 minutes) they'll reach the top of your call-back list. Or if you earn a living as a motivational speaker, end your message with a motivational quote. In both cases, be sure to keep your closing remark brief. And remember, you're a business professional, not a stand-up comic.

What to Do When Leaving a Message

On the flip side of voicemail greetings, when leaving a message for someone, be sure to include the following basics:

  • Greet the caller.
  • State your name, title, phone number, and email address, if appropriate
  • Explain the reason for your call and what information, if any, you require. Be specific.
  • Repeat your phone number, email address, or both.
  • Speak slowly so that the other person doesn't have to replay the message several times.