How to record a professional voicemail greeting: a guide

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 6 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If coworkers are unable to contact you during or between shifts, it's important that they're instead greeted by a respectful voicemail message. By bothering to record such a message, you could both show due respect for their professional opinion and explain why you're unavailable. By following this article, you can learn how to create a high-quality message in short order. In this article, we detail tips on how to record a professional voicemail greeting, before outlining example messages written for different professional situations.

How to record a professional voicemail greeting

The first step to understanding how to record a professional voicemail greeting is to consider the message that you intend to convey. You can then adapt the structure of a recording to suit its context, making it more effective as a result. The below section provides seven tips, explaining how to record a professional voicemail greeting:

1. Consider its content

Before you begin recording a voicemail, it's advisable that you consider what information you want to include in it. Given its professional nature, you could mention your full name, job title and employer in the message's first sentence, so callers immediately know whether they've phoned the correct person. In the next sentence, you can clarify why you're unable to respond, detailing any mitigating circumstances. In the last sentence, it's useful to ask the caller to leave their contact details, before promising to respond as soon as possible.

By using this three-sentence format, you can ensure that the caller properly understands why you're absent, but without being inundated by irrelevant information. It's important that these sentences are as concise as possible, to avoid causing undue confusion.

Related: What are verbal communication skills? (With tips)

2. Consider your tone

Besides content, it's also important that you consider the appropriate tone of voice to use when producing a voicemail message. Given the professional context, it's advisable to talk in a formal and polite manner, using neutral rather than emotive language. To ensure clarity, you can also try to use less complex terms to explain your absence. For example, if you're currently with another client, you can explain that you're 'helping' them, rather than 'offering assistance'. This simplicity makes it easier for the caller to process information without having to call you again.

You could also adapt your tone of voice to reflect the reason for your absence. For example, if you're dealing with a family emergency, you could use stark language, to stress the suddenness of the crisis. Conversely, if you've simply gone home for the evening, you could be more personable and laid-back.

Related: The importance of good communication in organisations

3. Consider your audience

You can also benefit from pondering who's most likely to try to contact you in your absence, before tailoring the message to suit your relationship. For example, if you've only previously shared your contact details with close colleagues, you could draft a more casual message, using cordial language that reflects your friendship. Conversely, if you often answer phone calls from clients, you could record a formal message, to avoid costing your firm business via unintended offence. Whatever your likely audience, it's important that the message is respectful, free of insults or offensive terms.

Related: Interpersonal communication: definitions and examples

4. Record the message in a quiet place

It's also advisable to record a voicemail message in a quiet place so that colleagues can properly understand what you're saying. By taking this approach, you can prove to the listener that you've produced this message to actually help them, rather than as a mere formality. This shows due respect for their work responsibilities, as you help them to be more productive by resolving the caller's issue without causing further confusion.

5. Consider the listener's reaction

If a colleague or client contacts you via mobile, it's possible that they hope to speak to you urgently, but can't due to distance. In this situation, they're likely to feel quite frustrated that you're not available, particularly if they're trying to solve a serious crisis quickly. You can strive to ease their mood by showing empathy for their situation, acknowledging the inconvenience that your absence is causing. For example, you may find it useful to begin the message's second sentence with an apologetic term, such as 'sorry', rather than just stating your unavailability.

Related: What is empathy? With steps on how to be more empathetic

6. Revise it regularly

Whatever your intended message, it's advisable that you regularly revise your voicemail, to ensure it reflects your current circumstances. By doing so, you can keep contacts updated about the state of your professional life, so that they can adapt as things change. For example, when recording a voicemail to tell coworkers that you're on holiday, you can give instructions on alternate ways of finding the information they want. After you return to work, it's useful to modify your message to say something more neutral, so others know that you're available for contact again.

7. Express gratitude for their call

Whether they're a client or colleague, it's important that you express gratitude to a caller for requesting your assistance. By doing so, you recognise the respect they've shown for your professional capabilities by turning to you for help, whilst also ensuring that you maintain a positive working relationship. There are varied ways of appearing grateful via voicemail. For example, you could end the message by simply saying 'thank you', to show that you appreciate the caller's time. You can also be honest throughout, explaining your absence in a way that avoids patronising the caller.

Related: Saying thank you for this opportunity: a comprehensive guide

Examples of professional voicemail messages

The following section contains several examples of professional voicemail messages, written to suit different workplace scenarios:

1. Basic examples

Three basic voicemail messages include:

  • 'Hello, this is Shreyas Gupta, marketing manager for LNK Finance. Sadly, I'm unavailable for contact at the moment. Please leave your details with me, so I can reply to you later on. Thank you.'

  • 'Hi, you've contacted Jenny Barnes, graphic designer at UK Designing. I'm sorry to have missed this call today. Please leave me your name and phone number, so I can respond as soon as possible. Thank you.'

  • 'You've reached Tom Mulligan, CEO of London Tech. Apologies for missing this call. Please leave your details, so I can call back. Thank you.'

2. Emergency examples

In some circumstances, you could opt to temporarily leave work in response to a sudden emergency, such as a bereavement. In this scenario, you could find it useful to record a brief greeting, explaining your absence so that colleagues can pursue other means of assistance. Two relevant examples include:

  • 'Hello, you've reached the work phone of Angela Jones, software engineer for UK Systems. Unfortunately, due to a recent bereavement, I'm unable to come into the office. If your call is urgent, please contact Steven Evans on 11111 222333; otherwise please leave your details and I'll respond once I return. Thank you.'

  • 'Hello, this is Graham Adams, chief executive office at UK Crafts. I'm very sorry for my absence, but thanks to a family emergency, I'm not available to take your call. If your business is urgent, please ring Jane Clarke, on 00000 111222. Thank you.'

3. Business examples

If you're currently conducting business outside of the office, it's important that you explain this and mention when you might return. In this scenario, it's important to explain your absence, before offering to help them when you return. Two examples include:

  • 'Hello, you've reached the work phone of Pamela Stevens, app designer for UK Systems. I'm very sorry that I can't speak to you right now, but I've left my office to assist a client. If you want to contact me again, please leave your name, number and reason for calling. Thank you.'

  • 'You've tried to phone Jack Smith, store manager at UK Retail. I'm sorry for my absence, but I'm undertaking a managerial training day, so I can't respond in person. Thank you for contacting me, and please leave your details after the tone.'

4. Holiday examples

If you're away on holiday, it's important that you clearly state this fact, before directing them to other people who can help. You could also inform the caller of the date of your return, in case they specifically desire your help to resolve a problem. Two examples include:

  • 'Hello, you're trying to call Joanna Lam, buyer at UK Auctions Ltd. I'm sorry for not answering the call, but I'm currently out of the country on holiday. If your issue is urgent, please ring Adrian Johnson on 33333 444555; otherwise, contact me on 9th February. Thank you.'

  • 'This is Paul Kennedy, real estate agent for Liverpool Housing Ltd. I'm sorry that I'm unavailable for contact at the moment, but I'm on holiday in Scotland. Please leave your details and reason for calling, and I'll ring you when I return to work next Monday. Thank you.'

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

Explore more articles