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Taking a Message


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Video Source: Express Employment Professionals

Taking a message for your supervisor or another employee should be relatively simple. However, a great deal of business is lost each year by incomplete or forgotten messages. A courteous person returns telephone calls, but only if they get the correct message.

Taking Messages Accurately and Completely

  • Keep a notepad handy.
  • Write while you are on the line. Take notes as you handle the call, not after you hang up the receiver.
  • Request, rather than demand, information. Consider the value in saying, “May I have your name, please…” rather than the more common but very curt, “What is your name and number?”
  • Verify spelling.
  • Get the person’s first name, too.
  • Spell names out phonetically if they are difficult.
  • Give feedback for verification. (For example, “So that is spelled J-a-y-s-o-n?”)

What to Record

  • To whom: The name of the person called.
  • From whom: The name of the call and his business connection.
  • Where: The caller’s telephone number and extension number.
  • What: The message itself.
  • Why: Action requested and the action promised.
  • By whom: Name of the person who recorded the message.
  • When: Date and hour of the call.

Other Tips

To ensure the accuracy and completeness of a message, consider the following suggestions:

  • Listen attentively to the message.
  • Check to be sure all telephone numbers are correct and use feedback for verification.
  • Verify the spelling of difficult names using phonetic helpers.
  • After the telephone call has been completed, make additional notes from memory.
  • Attach any useful papers, reports, or lists of information to the message.

When asking to take a message, if the caller says, “No, I will call back,” courteously ask one more time. For example you could say, “If I could just tell him who called, I am sure he will be interested. Of course, you can call back if that would be more convenient.”