Avoid These Wuss Words When You Leave a Voice Mail by @maureensharib

Leaving Voice Mail messages is always an interesting subject and one I often get asked about.

People are surprised when I tell them you have to leave FIVE voice mail messages before someone will call you back and there’s a good reason for that – people are busy and are mostly reluctant to listen to their voice mail messages in the first place and or just don’t have the time to return yours right then and there.

There are a couple things you can do to change that – one is to leave a message warning – I mean telling them you’ll call them back again tomorrow so they throw in the towel and call you back right then and there (this does up your return call rate, believe it or not!) and another is to examine the words you’re using when you do leave a message.

Many of the messages left on the voice mail recorders of candidates sound ineffectual.

There are 6 words you might be saying that are killing your chances of a call back.

They are:

  • just
  • might
  • hopefully
  • actually
  • kind of
  • sorry

You’re probably saying them unconsciously; we use them to self-soothe our jangled nerves because we’re so nervous making these calls to begin with!

I call them WUSS words.

WUSS Message:  I’m just calling to see if you might be interested in an opportunity with…

BETTER: I’m calling about an opportunity with…

WUSS Message: Hopefully you can call me back at…

BETTER: You can call me back at…

WUSS Message: …but actually this position just opened up…

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 Better: This position just opened and you’re the first (or one of) person(s)…

WUSS Message: …and it’s kind of a senior position reporting to…

Better:  It’s a senior position reporting to…

WUSS Message: I’m sorry if I’ve disturbed you…

Better:  What in the world are you sorry for, WussieBaby?  Just stop it.  Leave all your sorrys in the confessional on Saturdays!

We’ve all heard that words are powerful.  I believe they are.  They’re one thing we all use every day and I’ve learned, acutely, many times the hard way as a phone sourcer, that certain words start, and stop, conversation.

What words seem to make things happen for you?

Do you have any voice mail tips or techniques in that are getting the job done you’d like to share?

Maureen Sharib has been a “Socratic sourcer” her entire sourcing career; from the moment she first picked up the faxed list of Silicon Valley high-tech companies that was her target list to “phone source” in 1996 to today she has instinctively followed this method of investigative sourcing using (mostly) the telephone.  She is a proponent of sourcing as a synonym for success and envisions the craft moving away from a dangerously drudgery-paced life-form existence to an exciting investigative/competitive place within organizations where practitioners co-exist within a framework of market research, human resources, and C-level future planning. She owns the phone sourcing and competitive intelligence firm TechTrak.com, Inc. You can contact her at Maureen at techtrak.com or call her at (513) 646-7306.  If she’s not on the phone she’ll pick up!


2 Comments on “Avoid These Wuss Words When You Leave a Voice Mail by @maureensharib

  1. This article was inspired by a piece I read today by Ms Lily Herman, writer, editor, social media manager, and co-founder of The Prospect, the world’s largest student-run college access organization. “5 Words Not To Use In Emails” can be found here:

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