It's a digital world, baby. As we all know, voice mail is on the decline since it's much easier to return an email or other type of digital message rather than have to pick up the phone and return a call.
The interesting trend I see related to the reliance on digital messaging is that people are increasingly becoming more aggressive about telling you they don't want a voice mail. The latitude they have related to this usually depends on their power within the organization they serve. The more power they have and they don't have to answer to someone for telling the world they don't want a voice mail, the more likely they are to shoot you straight with their preference.
Here are 4 ways some of you are telling us you don't want a voice mail:
1. Voice Mail hasn't been set up. Of course, you might just be a technology moron as well. I can't tell, and I'll usually judge the fine line between you being a moron, hard-core stubborn/passive aggressive or just digital based on whether you have a twitter account.
2. You don't return calls. Got it - I need to find another way to get you. It took me 3 weeks to get the message, but now I know I can get an email response the same week and the calls never get returned.
3. You nicely steer me to send you an email. So your voice mail is set up, but I hear the clarity in your message. You're not telling me you won't return a VM, but you are telling me I can expect quicker response with an email - in a veiled way. Thanks for being kind of straight with me, I'll do what you imply.
4. You specifically tell me that I'll get a faster response if I send an email, maybe even tell me to email you. The niceties are out of it - you're telling me not to leave a voice mail, but you cared enough to set up your message to tell me that. A little more hard core than #3, but I guess you're being even more straight with me.
Me? I like #3 nd #4 - I've still got voice mail if I'm stubborn, but you've warned me. And if I want to get your attention, I ought to be able to comply, right?
Of course, no one ever goes the opposite way - saying "My response time to email resembles a hard, long winter. Please call me, I've lost control of my inbox and need to declare email bankruptcy."
And that's probably more needed.