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'Why No One Under 30 Answers Your Voice Mail'

Voicemail Via the idealawg blog, I came across this article under the excellent headline, "Why No One Under 30 Answers Your Voicemail." The reasons are discussed below, but first a couple of confessions:

1. I'm not under 30.

2. For whatever reason, in the past year or so, my attention span has shrunk to the point that I now really dislike voice mail -- I don't like to punch all of the keys on the phone; I don't like to wait for the voice mail robo-lady to tell me what to do; I don't like to listen for 30 seconds per message while the message-leavers collect their thoughts and ultimately say, "please call me back;" I don't like to spend time replaying the message if I missed the phone number or some key part of the message -- and so on.

Please tell me -- does anyone else feel this way? I can't tell if this means that I have the mind of an under-30-year-old, or if it is just the first indication that I will soon be sitting in a lawn chair yelling at kids and other bloggers to stay off of my lawn?

Anyway, the article noted above from says that when you leave a Gen Y employee a voice mail, "they're not going to hear it. Gen Y members tune out practically any communication effort they perceive as unsolicited or spam." An executive at Deloitte explains that:

It's very frustrating to our leaders, most of whom are boomers [and] some of whom are Gen X'ers. When they broadcast voicemail messages, big swaths of their organization are not hearing it. They're not even listening to it and they're not even sure it's directed to them because they don't think about being communicated with in that way. CEOs or HR leaders or business leaders think they're sending a direct message, but that is not the most effective way to communicate across the generations.

Deloitte has responded to this issue by replacing voice mail messages with digital recordings of messages embedded in e-mails. Even better, some services like Google Voice now transcribe voice mail messages and send the text to your e-mail inbox.

A recent Deloitte report also notes that for the first time in American history, four different generations are working side-by-side in the workplace, and they have different preferred ways to communicate:

  • Veterans (born 1927–1945): Prefer to communicate face-to-face about problems, concerns and suggestions, with telephone as a second-place option. 
  • Baby boomers: (born 1946-1964): Prefer "meetings -- lots of meetings." Second option is a conference phone call.
  • Generation X: (born 1968-1979): Prefer to communicate via e-mail.
  • Generation Y:, (born 1980-1999): The digital generation that has grown up with "links," Facebook, instant messages and podcasts.

My communication preferences still fall in the Gen X "e-mail" camp, but I am gradually moving, Benjamin Button-like, toward Gen Y.

Posted by Bruce Carton on August 11, 2010 at 12:43 PM | Permalink | Comments (29)


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