Why devote a section to voice-mail technique? I’ll tell you why: it’s communication. And many people take voice-mail for granted.
When you phone someone, what do you hear? Often, it’s a long-winded message about why someone can’t come to the phone. (e.g., I’m not here right now, or I’m on the line or away from my desk.)
I favour a simple approach: “This is the voice-mail of Roger Davies. Please leave your message now.”
If I’m away for a longer period, I will say: “This is the voice-mail of Roger Davies. I will be returning to the office on February 7th. If you wish to leave a message, please do so. I will get back to you as soon as I can.”
Notice that I said, “I’ll be returning.” I didn’t go into detail about what I was doing while away.
Put some thought into your own message.
Being polite is nice. Smiling when you record your message is also nice. If you don’t smile, you can come across as negative or cranky. Smiling communicates.
No matter what, get to the point!