My friend Sarah likes to talk.
She says she doesn’t leave voice messages, she records podcasts.
And she’s right.
Her voice messages on WhatsApp can run to 20 minutes, covering intimate details of her breakfast, work schedule and latest Ebay purchases.
Buried deep deep in the middle, around 12m 24s in, is the vital information I need.
Yes, she can meet for a drink on Tuesday night.
And it drives me crazy.
Because here’s my issue with voice messages: they’re quick and easy for the sender to record but often a huge pain in the backside for the recipient to listen to and digest.
They break my golden rule of making things easy for your audience.
When we write something down we tend to edit our thoughts. But voice messages are often just a stream of consciousness:
‘Oh hi oops sorry nearly dropped my phone anyway how are you? Er I’m just um waiting for the bus so I thought I’d er send you a quick message to reply to your message about the thing next week because it’d be easier. Anyway I’m not quite sure what my plans are just yet because I need to take the cat to the vet oh sorry hang on here’s the bus [long pause] anyway sorry on the bus now…’
You get the idea. So much redundant information.
So in case you’re thinking of sending me one, here’s my take on voice messages.
I will appreciate your voice message when…
- I haven’t spoken to you in ages and it’s lovely to hear your voice
- You’re checking in to see if I’m ok.
- You’re giving me some juicy gossip/news (or ‘hot tea’ as my teenagers call it)
I won’t mind your voice message when…
- I’ve just connected with you on LinkedIn and you give me a 20 second personalised hello message
Your voice message will have me hurling my phone out of the window when…
- It’s longer than 30 secs
- It could have been a one line message/email
- I’ve just connected with you on LinkedIn and now you’re spamming me with your sales pitch and wearing out my name: ‘Heeeey Kim Justwanted to drop in here, Kim, to see if you’d be interested in my Millionaire Money-Making Macho Masterclass. Because it’d be perfect for you, Kim, in your role as [reads my LinkedIn bio out loud]’)
So tell me, do you love or loathe voice messages? And what are your dos and don’ts?