by DANNY RUBIN
Who doesn’t know every single word to the theme song of ‘Fresh Prince of Bel Air’?
Apparently, one person in America has never heard the classic rap: a receptionist at a doctor’s office in Beaver, Pa. Because of that, all hell broke loose recently in the small town.
Yahoo! News reports that the receptionist called high school student Travis Clawson to remind him of a doctor’s appointment. The call went to Clawson’s voicemail, which included this line: “And all shooting some b-ball outside of the school.”
The receptionist heard ‘shooting‘ and ‘school,’ thought the teenager had evil intentions and alerted the police. Then, school officials locked down every school in the county. The entire fiasco ended when Clawson told police he had mimicked the ‘Fresh Prince’ theme song.
Crisis over. No charges filed.
In a word: ridiculous.
We don’t talk much about effective voice mail messages, but the Clawson catastrophe is a fitting opportunity to do so.
4 Ways to Improve Your Voice Mail Messages
1. When you leave a message, repeat your phone number — and slowly
Maybe I have poor short-term memory, but it’s awfully tough to remember a random phone number from a voice mail if I only hear it one time. Plus, the caller usually says the digits too fast.
When you leave a message, repeat your number and say it slowly each time. Give the rest of us a chance to write it down.
2. When you leave a message, get to the point
Let’s face it. No one likes to check their voice mails. So make the process painless and leave brief messages. Don’t get into details and treat the recording like a real conversation. Say your piece, leave a number, repeat the number and hang up.
3. On your own recording, provide necessary info
If your recording is for business purposes, then say your full name and company/business. That way, the person calling will know exactly who you are. It’s all about over-communicating, a strategy that’s essential on email and for anyone who works from home.
4. ‘Funny’ voice mail recordings are lame
Sorry, Travis Clawson. There’s only one ‘Fresh Prince.’ Leave the comedy to the pros, and keep your voice mail recordings to-the-point.
Then, send this video to everyone you know. The real crime in Beaver, Pa was not knowing about a great 90s sitcom and, of course, The Carlton Dance.
Do you have any voice mail pet peeves? Or, what’s your favorite ‘Fresh Prince’ moment?
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© 2013, Danny Rubin
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