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What an 11-Year-Old Can Teach You About Voice Mail: Don’t Do It!

A preteen shows us all how to better handle modern communications

By David WyldPublished 5 months ago Updated 5 months ago 3 min read
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What an 11-Year-Old Can Teach You About Voice Mail: Don’t Do It!
Photo by Andrik Langfield on Unsplash

Every once in a great while, as you scroll the vast wasteland that is much of social media today, you can still actually learn something. Buried in all those ads, all the nonsensical posts, and yes, all the hate and rudeness that we see on social media, you run across something that really hits home - and might even make you change your thinking and your way of doing things.

This happened to me just the other day as I was scrolling Twitter - or X - when I should have been working on my latest article. There I was, casually sifting through my feed of things I was at least semi-interested in and things that I had to say, “How did THAT end up on my feed.” And then, I saw it! It was - hands down - the best communications advice I had seen, read, or heard in some time. Did it come from a world-renowned communications expert? Did it come from one of my fellow business professors? No, it came in the form of a tweet from NicholasG (@Dad_At_Law on Twitter/X), or rather, from his 11-year-old daughter!

Source: https://twitter.com/Dad_At_Law/status/1600114589009485824

It was as if I was one of those cartoon figures with a light bulb over his head that suddenly lit up! Suddenly, I got it! I understood why texting is the mode of communication choice for more and more people today. If you’re like me, voice mail is still a primary way that we get things done - or try to - today. We end up all too often in situations where we are playing “phone tag” with clients, customers, and even friends and family members. But alas, this generation does get it! Why not structure your voicemail message much like this 11-year-old did? Why not encourage anyone trying to reach you (aside from those folks trying to sell you an extended warranty or get you out of that timeshare, of course!) to just hang up the phone and simply send you a text instead?

By Kelli McClintock on Unsplash

Texting is a far more direct, far more immediate way to communicate than is voicemail. It also affords both you and the party trying to reach you the chance to begin an asynchronous conversation immediately, rather than waiting for that “magic moment when you can both actually be talking on the phone together in real-time. In short, texting allows you to get the communication process started immediately, and this makes the choice to text more productive and less frustrating than waiting for a time when you and that other party can carry on a synchronous conversation.

By Jae Park on Unsplash

I know that for me, I am seriously going to rerecord my voicemail message today, and it will sound much like the one NicholasG’s daughter recorded. In my teaching, I am encouraging my students to do this, and I would encourage you to do so as well. Why? It’s simple: This preteen “cracked the code!” She figured out that the best communication method to use is the most immediate and rich one. And in the 2020s, texting is the way more and more communication is carried out and yes, how business gets done! This 11-year-old got it right, and if you follow her lead, you will spend less time playing games of phone tag and get more done! She showed you the way to better manage your voicemail - simply don’t do it!

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Professor David C. Wyld

About David Wyld

David C. Wyld is a Professor of Strategic Management at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, Louisiana. He is a management consultant, researcher/writer, publisher, executive educator, and experienced expert witness. You can view all of his work at https://authory.com/DavidWyld. You can subscribe to his Medium article feed at: https://davidwyld.medium.com/subscribe.

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About the Creator

David Wyld

Professor, Consultant, Doer. Founder/Publisher of The IDEA Publishing (http://www.theideapublishing.com/) & Modern Business Press (http://www.modernbusinesspress.com)

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