General Voicemail Greeting Examples

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A general voicemail greeting is used as a default if you don’t set any other type of greeting or if your personalized programming gets erased for whatever reason. This 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. Since you never know when callers will hear this message, it’s best to keep this greeting brief, professional and general. 

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.

Basic Tips for Recording Your Voice Mail Greeting

When recording this message, you should speak clearly, and your message should be concise. Be sure to spell out your name or email address if you’re asking the caller to follow up with written correspondence.

Most importantly, you’ll want to practice your recording several times, listening to each attempt until you are satisfied that 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.

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 options to fit your corporate culture and your personality, but try not to stray too far from these basics. 

  • Hello, you have reached Jim Smith. 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.
  • Hi, this is Jim Smith. 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.
  • You have reached Jim Smith. 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 Jones, at extension 6338. Thank you for calling. Goodbye.
  • You have reached Jim Smith in 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 Thank you for calling.
  • Hello, you have reached Jim Smith. 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 Otherwise, please leave a message after the beep.
  • Thank you for calling. You have reached the office of Jim Smith. I am either speaking with another client at the moment, 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 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 an upbeat profession like sales or even have a more reserved position at a place like a science foundation, 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, you can end your message with a motivational quote. In both cases, be sure to keep your closing remark brief and professional.