If you tend to shutter when you are prompted to leave your name and number on someone’s voicemail then you are most likely a member of the millennial generation. The 35’s and under are notorious for communicating via text message and seem to get all tongue-tied when it comes time to actually carry on a phone conversation or leave a message after the beep.
The New York Times recently reported about the generational gap between those who know how to leave a message and those who would much prefer to send a text. Founder of the Etiquette School of New York, Patricia Napier-Fitzpatrick, explains how part of her instruction deals with teaching her students how to attain voicemail skills. She says, “I coach them to be professional. Not to say, ‘Hey, this is Bob, call me,’ and then hang up. I tell them to say hello, state their full name and a full message, and ‘I would appreciate a call back, thank you.’”
And it’s not just professional phone calls that are daunting for the millennial set, even leaving a voicemail for a friend can prove to cause anxiety. A 31 year old writer in New York, Kate Greathead, confesses that she has grappled with the stress of voicemail anxiety when trying to reach friends in the past. She explains, “Sometimes I write a script out beforehand. Most voice mail has an option to review your message. If it doesn’t have that, I don’t always leave one. If it does, I’ll review it before sending it and sometimes do different takes. Though I’ve learned not to trust that function. Once I accidentally recorded two versions of the same voice mail.”
For many millennials it just makes sense to stick to texts as they’re quicker and require way less energy for the recipient than dialing up a voicemail, punching in a code and waiting to hear a message. Greathead admits that she rarely even gets voicemails anymore since most of her friends choose to text or email. And when she does receive that once in a blue moon voicemail she is worried that it may be some sort of emergency. She says, “I get very scared that it’s an emergency. Sometimes I ask other people to listen to them for me so they can break the bad news.”
Do you prefer to send and receive voicemails or texts when communicating with friends and conducting business?
Do you feel a sense of anxiety when prompted to leave a voicemail?