Get Organized Mission #5: Become a Smart Verbal Communicator

Get Organized Mission #5: Become a Smart Verbal CommunicatorWelcome to Mission #5 of our 52 Get Organized Missions.

If you’ve completed the previous mission Get Organized Mission #4: Forgo The Freebies then give yourself a pat on the back!

This week’s task will help you save time and increase productivity every single day – simply by being smarter and more proactive in your routine verbal communications.

Your challenge this week is to spend 30 minutes creating simple templates or scripts for routine communications, such as:

– Receiving messages (your own voicemail)
– Leaving messages (other people’s voicemail)
– Delegating

It may feel a little foreign at first to be so clear-headed about something as squishy as, well, talking, but the benefits will convert you. Try it and see for yourself!

Note:  The sample messages are only for ideas. Of course you’ll want to come up with something that suits your role and personality.

Remember – you only have to spend 30 minutes to complete the basic mission. If you want to go further check out the Extended Organizing Mission Options below.


Get Organized Mission #5: Become a Smart Verbal Communicator

1: Streamline your own voicemail message (10 minutes)

Circumvent time-wasting telephone tag by recording a smart message for yourself.

The important elements are:

  • Identify yourself -> Avoids messages not for you
  • Ask the caller to specify what they need from you –> Lets you have the answer/info ready when you call back
  • Ask the caller to clarify if you need to call them back –> Avoids wasted calls if their message is information only
  • Give indication of when you will call back, if needed –> Avoids follow ups from the caller if, say, you batch-return calls on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons
  • Ask for contact details –> Saves time and error

Sample message

Hi, Michele from Get Organized Wizard here. Thanks for your call.

Please let me know what I can do for you. If you need a return contact, please also leave me your phone number or email.

I generally return calls on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, so let me know if you need me to contact you before then.

Thanks, and bye!

Dos & Don’ts

  • Do smile while recording your voicemail message – callers will hear it in your voice. 🙂
  • Don’t try to squeeze in too much. It will be confusing.

2: Write a script for leaving voicemail (10 minutes)

The same principles apply in reverse to messages you leave for others. Write yourself a simple script for leaving messages and leave it right by the phone, or on a post it to stick on your cell phone.

The important elements are:

  • Identify yourself -> Don’t expect them to know it’s you
  • Specify what you need from them –> Lets them have the answer/info ready when they call back
  • Clarify whether they need to call you back –> Avoids wasted calls if your message is information only
  • Specify if you need them to call back by a certain day or time –> Helps avoid your having to follow up
  • Repeat your phone or email contact details –> Saves time and error

Sample message

Hi Brad – Michele from Get Organized Wizard here.

I’d like to move the conference from September 12 to September 19. All other details remain the same.

Please call me to confirm if that’s OK with you. I need to book by Tuesday morning so please get back to me before then.

My number is 555 5555. That’s 555 5555.

Thanks, Brad!

Dos & Don’ts

  • Do batch your phone calls to save more time.
  • Do consider leaving an email address if it’s easy to understand – and repeat it.
  • Don’t leave your email address if it’s a mouthful. Stick to a phone number.

3: Write a script for delegating (10 minutes)

Streamlining your delegating communication can save time and radically improve the task outcome. It’s worth preparing a little template script for yourself.

The important elements are:

  • Specify the task clearly
  • Specify any preferences or special requirements
  • Specify what to do if there are problems
  • Specify the deadline
  • Specify what to do when the task is complete
  • Give them a chance to ask questions

Sample message

Percy, could you please move our entire conference booking from September 12 to September 19 and advise all attendees?

If possible I’d like the same menu, but if not make an alternative selection that you like.

If there are any problems get Sam to help – he’s well known at the venue.

I need this rescheduled and all attendees notified by Thursday’s meeting. If you could email me confirmation that it’s done by then, I’d appreciate it.

Dos & Don’ts

  • Do type up step-by-step notes for more difficult delegation tasks. It will take longer the first time, but make life much easier in the future.
  • Do address what should be done if problems arise. Delegation often fails because a task gets stuck. Provide a what-to-do-if safety net.
  • Don’t assume no news is good news. Specify what should happen when the task is complete, especially if you’re delegating to a new person.

Extended Organizing Mission Options

Want to go beyond this 30-minute organizing mission?

  • See if others in your office or business want to join you in planning smarter verbal communications. The whole team will enjoy time and productivity gains.
  • If you have kids, teach them to be informative in their messages and texts by including details like where they are, what time they need to be picked up, etc. You’ll be showing them how to be proactive communicators.
  • If you send many similar emails or email replies, prepare a few template emails and save them into your drafts folder. Then you have a starting point for your regular missives.

Ready, Set, Go!

Remember – move quickly, act fast, don’t overthink.

Before You Go – Please Check In

You’re now accountable to your organizing mission-mates! Once you’ve completed this week’s Get Organized Mission please add a comment to let us know you’ve done your assignment and you’re keeping your commitment.

And see you back here next week!


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Image by Torley

74 thoughts on “Get Organized Mission #5: Become a Smart Verbal Communicator

  1. christina says:

    i don’t even have a voicemail 🙂
    some time ago i got rid of my cell phone completely and i don’t miss it at all.

  2. Jenni says:

    I don’t find myself leaving or receiving many messages except with close family members and friends. As a teacher, I occassionally have to call a parent and I like the idea of making a script before calling to initiate the conversation or to leave a message if they are not available. We mostly communicate through email or face to face conferences, which are scheduled for us. I can see where this mission would be very suitable for most professions, but I just don’t find myself making many phone calls. However, when I do, I will certainly take your advice! : )

  3. Chris says:

    I have finally come back to catch up on the missions I have missed…I’m so far behind where I should be.

    I have written my scripts up for when I have to speak to an answering machine, they include one for when calling friends for a chat to catch up and one for when I call them to let them know something, and then one for businesses – for asking questions and the last one for replying to someone’s call that I have missed. I plan on changing my voice messages tomorrow when I am at home alone and it’s quiet. I am also going to type them up and laminate the sheet so I can blu-tak it to the wall near the phone, so everyone in the family can use them.

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