when i record my outgoing voicemail message, i usually try to make it clever or entertaining in some way that will also get me a message that is clever or entertaining. i started doing this a couple phones ago (it's weird to me that i'm on my fifth phone, fourth if you don't count the tracfone that was my first cellular device once i upgraded from a beeper) because even though i would say my name in my outgoing message, i would still get all sorts of wrong numbers that would leave messages anyway. i once got a message that was like "Carol! I'm downstairs waiting for you!" if you hear a voicemail that's all "this is sara, leave a message"...would you go on to leave a message for carol? this guy did. and many others did for many others.
thus, one of my first non-standard outgoing greetings went something like "this is sara, leave a message. if you are not calling for sara, don't leave a message, because i don't know who you are and i won't call you back." that actually worked, and i don't think i got any misdirected voicemails. but then, that phone lived its life and i had to get a new one. i attempted to recreate the outgoing message, but it felt forced, and i had to go back to the drawing board.
another of my favorite outgoing messages was the one challenging callers to leave the best voicemail, and stating that only the caller who left the best voicemail would get a call back. (it was a bluff, i called everyone back) i got a lot of hilarious voicemails and songs out of that one, and i also got a lot of people getting nervous at the challenge and just rambling about how they couldn't think of something awesome to say but please call them back.
so this brings me now to the new phone i got just a couple weeks ago. sadly, i had to say goodbye to the Best Voicemail Competition (with fears that recreation would again feel forced). i think what i have now just very basically asks people calling me to leave a pleasant or hilarious message, since i love being entertained and/or pleased. i just got a phone call from a number i didn't recognize (aka a phone call that goes straight to voicemail). here is a transcript of the message i got:
"umm, hello, i think i've called the wrong number. i don't know if that's pleasant or hilarious, but...there it is. (laughs) ok. bye."
everyone wins!! he left a message, so i'm not left wondering who the eff in the catskills just called me. he was aware that i was not the intended party, but he abided by my voicemail rules! and i DID find it hilarious! should i call him back and ask him to marry me?