QUESTION:  I work for a service company and part of my duties includes retrieving telephone messages from our answering machine.  I am amazed at how many messages I can’t retrieve or process due to the way the message is left.  Could you address this problem?

  ANSWER:  I would be glad to address this situation as I am sure many others, including myself, have had the same experience.

  Leaving a telephone message isn’t difficult.  But it must be clear and contain enough information for the called party to be able to respond.

  Some of the items that may cause a problem are calling from a mobile phone, background noise, the caller being soft spoken, having an accent and insufficient call back information.

  Many times the caller is calling from a mobile phone and reception fades causing many parts of the message to be lost.  If you are calling from a mobile phone, and on the move, perhaps you should leave another message when not moving or from a landline phone.

  Many callers don’t realize that background noise interferes with the message being left.  If possible turn down televisions or radios or move away from a noisy situation when making calls.

  Everyone has a different voice.  If you are soft spoken try to speak louder and speak a little slower.  This will help the receiving party hear you more clearly.  If you have an accent slow down a little it makes it much easier for the receiving party to understand your message.

  When you give your telephone number remember the person taking the message is trying to write it down.  Don’t run the telephone number all together.  Give the area code – pause – then the prefix – pause – then the line number.  Make sure the area code has 3 digits, the prefix has 3 digits and the line number has 4 digits.

  Start your message with your name and telephone number.  Then your message followed by your name (perhaps spelling your last name) and telephone number.

  Here is an example of a good message:

  “This is Jane Smith at 805- 444-1245.  I would like more information about the seminar you are giving on Tuesday July 18.  Please do not call between 2:00 and 4:00 pm.  Again my name is Jane Smith S-M-I-T-H at 805- 444-1245.  Thank You.”

  This message provides the name and return number at the beginning and again at the end of the message, the reason for the call and when the caller is not available to accept a return call.  It is short and to the point and eliminates any guessing.



  SATURDAY – July 7 – 7:30 am to 2:00 pm – “9th Annual Rummage Sale” – at Wilson Senior Center, 350 N. “C” Street in Oxnard.  For more information call (805) 385-8042.

  WEDNESDAY – July 11 – 8:30 to 11:00 pm – “Free Smoothie Day” – buy breakfast at the Goebel Café 1385 E. Janss Road in Thousand Oaks and enjoy a free smoothie.

  WEDNESDAY – July 11 – 1:00 to 3:00 pm – Meeting – The Ventura Parkinson’s Disease Support Group – “Making Exercise Fun” – Lisa Oliver, Manager of Title Boxing will demonstrate Rock Steady Boxing, a non-contact boxing program created for those with Parkinson’s at Lexington Assisted, 5440 Ralston Street in Ventura.  For information call Patty at (805) 766-6070.

  FRIDAY – July 12 – 1:00 to 2:00 pm – Seminar – Ventura County Crime Stoppers – “Senior Safety and Security” – at Goebel Adult Community Center, 1385 E. Janss Road in Thousand Oaks.

  THURSDAY/FRIDAY – July 12-13 – 8:30 am to 12:30 pm – AARP Smart Driver Course – at Goebel Adult Community Center, cost is $15 for AARP members, $20 for non-members.

  SATURDAY – July 14 – 11:30 am to 1:00 pm – “Memory Café” – a social gathering for those with memory loss and their family caregivers – at Senior Concerns Day Care Center, 401 Hodencamp Road, Thousand Oaks.  Reservations are required and can be made by calling (805) 497-0189.

  WEDNESDAY – July 25 – 1:00 to 5:00 pm – AARP Smart Drver Refresher Course – at Pleasant Valley Senior Center, 1605 Burnley Street in Camarillo.  Registration must be completed by July 18.  For more information call (805) 482-4881.


  Betty Berry is a senior advocate for Senior Concerns.  The advocates are located at the Goebel Adult Community Center, 1385 E. Janss Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91362 or call (805) 495-6250 or e-mail (please include your telephone number.  You are invited to submit questions on senior issues.


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