My pet peeve lately has been a small thing that can be easily remedied: voice mails that say nothing other than “give me a call” without any mention of the topic. I’ve gotten a lot of these lately, relative to the total number of voice mails I get.

Generally, I can guess with some accuracy what the person calling needs to talk to me about. Naturally, that only occurs with a subset of the global population consisting of people I know well or interact with often. For the rest of the time, I’m left only to wonder what I’m supposed to be calling about. Is it an emergency? Is there a timeframe that I need to respond within? Can it wait until I see you? Letting these questions plague me is definitely my own problem, but the voice mails still bother me.

The solution is fairly simple, too. Change the greeting message to ask them to leave some details about why they are calling. It won’t guarantee that people will, but at least they’ll know to do so. The sneakier side of me has toyed with simply never calling back unless I know why the caller was calling. Even if you say that you’re just calling to chat, that removes the question of why you are calling.


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