How Do I Create a Personal Voicemail Greeting?

Nicole Etolen

Creating a personal voicemail greeting is important for both your personal and business phone lines. Greetings not only let callers know that they reached the correct number, but gives you a chance to provide important instructions that will help streamline your voicemails. The method for creating your greeting will vary depending on the device you are using and whether the phone number is used for business or personal reasons.

Personal voicemail greetings should be short and to the point.
Personal voicemail greetings should be short and to the point.

The first step in creating a voicemail greeting is deciding what you want to say. Writing down your greeting is the easiest way to ensure that you do not forget anything vital or trip over your words when recording. If possible, ask someone else to listen to your greeting before recording it to make sure it is clear. You want to make sure your greeting gives clear instructions; otherwise, callers may be less likely to leave a message.

A private voicemail box enables a person to receive telephone messages when the phone cannot be answered.
A private voicemail box enables a person to receive telephone messages when the phone cannot be answered.

When deciding on the best personal voicemail greeting, think about your intended listener. If you are recording the message for a business phone, start with letting the callers know they have reached the correct number before asking them to leave their pertinent information, such as their name, phone number, and reason for calling. If you are recording the message for your personal phone number, it is okay to have a little fun and show off your distinctive style. Just remember that frequent callers will hear that message many times, and while it may be cute the first few times, after a while it can grow irritating, leading the caller to hang up without leaving a message.

Keep your personal voicemail greeting as short and to the point as possible, even if you are injecting a little creativity into it. This is especially important if you expect to receive a lot of long-distance phone calls or calls from those on different cell phone networks, as many phone companies charge by the minute. Think about your personal preferences when you reach someone’s voicemail, and tailor your own greeting towards that.

The process of recording the actual personal voicemail greeting depends on the type of device you are using. Some phones require calling a specific number and following a series of directions, while others may require pushing several different buttons to record your greeting. Consult the manual for your device for instructions on the proper recording method. If you still have difficulties figuring out how to record the greeting, contact the customer service number for your device.

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Discussion Comments


@pleonasm - I think it's fine to be a bit creative with your phone message as long as you change it every couple of weeks. I have a friend who always has something quirky on her voicemail and I sometimes make her hang up and not answer so I can hear the new one!


@croydon - Likewise, make sure that you sound upbeat on your voice message. I can still remember one my mother made when she was particularly tired and it sounded like she was close to tears. She didn't get around to changing it for about a year and it was pretty awful to call her up and hear that message (even though it was just an ordinary message).

Just make sure you listen to the message before you say OK to it. And try to sound happy, or at least neutral.


Do keep in mind that anything out of the ordinary, or too long will eventually grate on the person listening. My sister recorded a message similar to the one on the film Terminator, where the message says "Hello" and then pauses so that the person on the other end thinks that they are talking to a real person, before revealing that it was a trick.

My poor grandfather kept trying to call her and fell for the trick every time. He got so frustrated I think he almost disowned her! Well, not really, but still, you've got to remember that even if it seems clever at first, it won't seem like that 50 times down the track.

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