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ESL Lesson Plans: Leaving A Voicemail Message (free sample)

Level: ESL Intermediate

Objectives: discuss the basic elements that make a good (informative) voicemail message; practice leaving a voicemail message
Teacher Notes:
Ask students if leaving a voicemail message to a person who can’t be reached on the phone is a widely accepted way of communicating in their cultural backgrounds. State, that in North America leaving a voicemail is ubiquitous and not returning calls left on a personal voicemail system is considered rude.
Discuss what comprises a good voicemail message. Bring up caller identification and contact details, date, time and nature of a call, brevity and clarity of a message.
Have students discuss Agree or Disagree questions in pairs. Ask to think of any additional advice that may improve the quality of a voicemail message (e.g.: repeating a phone number twice, mentioning extension number, enunciating clearly, avoiding leaving numbers with letters such as 1-800-456-FUN).
Ask students to evaluate voicemail messages 1-3 in Evaluating A Voicemail Message and find relevant and irrelevant information in each of the messages. Allow time to edit messages. Read out loud and comment upon improvements.
In Leaving A Voicemail Message students read the scripts of sample personal or business voicemails and practice leaving their own short but informative message. Monitor and provide comments while circulating the classroom. Allow time to listen to a number of messages created by students ensuring all the basic elements of an informative voicemail message are included.

Student Worksheet

Leaving A Voicemail Message

Agree or Disagree?

Talk to your partner and decide whether you agree or disagree with the following statements:
1. It’s a good idea to spell out your name when you leave a message. Offering words for each letter of your name (e.g.: “My last name is Wang. W as in water, A as is apple, N as in Nancy, G as in Garry”) helps avoid misspellings. _____
2. You should always speak as fast as you can when you leave a message. The mailbox space might be limited. _____
3. It’s okay to engage in other activities, e.g.: eating, chewing or typing when you leave a message. The quality of the message won’t be affected. _____
4. It’s helpful to update your voicemail greeting at work every so often, especially before you go on business trips or vacations. _____
5. When leaving a message, you should specify the way and time that are best to contact you if you expect a call back. _____
Evaluating A Voicemail Message
In pairs, read and evaluate the voicemail messages below. Find relevant and irrelevant information in each of the messages. Are there any missing pieces of information in these messages? Would you leave out/rephrase any of the sentences to improve the clarity of the messages? Edit as needed.
1. Hi. This message is for Mr. Miransky, grade 4 teacher. I’m calling to let you know that I can volunteer to accompany the kids on the field trip on March 2 to the Art Gallery. Please call me back to confirm the details. I’m not available Monday from 10 to about noon, Wednesday from 1 to 6, Thursday from 5 to 7 and won’t be in Tuesday this week. Please give me a call as soon as possible as I’m on vacation starting next week.
2. Hi Anita. It’s me. Can we get together sometime next week to go over the proposal? Can you have Bill be there too? Bill... can’t remember his last name...that guy from upstairs, remember? Hope you have his number. Call me on my cell. Thanks, bye.
3. Hello. My name is Cathy Wong. It’s Cathy with a C, not with a K. I was referred to you by your customer Andrew Potts. I’m interested in buying a house in the area and you seem to have a reputation of a knowledgeable real estate agent. I’d be happy to look at any house listings you might have at the moment... Just to mention, hard-wood floors and aluminum windows are important. The house must front south, be well maintained and have a two car garage. Plenty of closet space is required...And no neighbors with pets or musical instruments, please. I’ll tell you more when we meet. Please give me a call as soon as you can. It’s 905-845-0809. Thanks, bye.
Leaving A Voicemail Message
Imagine that when you try to contact a person or business, there is no one on the line and you hear their voicemail recording. Leave a short but informative voicemail message that would best reflect the nature of your call.
1. Your son has a cold and can’t go to school today. Call the school absence line and notify the office of his absence. You should leave a message with the following information:
Name: Daniel Chavez
Home Teacher: Ms. Polansky
Room Number: 225
When you dial your son school number, you hear the following recording:
This is Roselawn Public School. To speak to a secretary, please press 1. To report a student absence please press 2. After the beep, leave the following information: student name, teacher name or room number and the reason for the absence. Thank you.
Your message:

2. You had a tooth filling done last month. You paid for the dental work with your credit card, but had to be reimbursed 80% of the cost by your insurance company. Call your insurance agent to inquire when you’ll receive the check. You should leave a message with the following information:
Doctor Name: Dr. Addison
Employer Name: KELCO Industries
Benefit Plan Number: EOOO543F16
Date of Doctor Visit: April 12
Cost of Filling: $108.25
When you dial your insurance agent number, you hear the following recording:
Hello. You’ve reached Lora Bernardez at Great West Life Insurance. I’m either on the phone or away from my desk. Please leave me a message and I’ll get back to you within the next business day. Thank you and have a nice day.
Your message:
3. You are heading to a Caribbean destination next month and were advised to get a Hepatitis B vaccine prior to your trip. Call your doctor’s office to inquire if he’ll be able to administer the vaccine.
When you dial your doctor’s office, you hear the following recording:
Hello. This is the office of Dr. Keissburg. Our office is currently closed. We’ll resume our services on Monday, October the 17th. At the tone leave your name, phone number and the reason for the call. Please note if this is an emergency, call 911 or go to your nearest walk-in clinic.
Your message:

Tuesday, March 01, 2011 AT 6:29 PM
Assane Diouf said:
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Sunday, January 29, 2012 AT 10:22 AM
Rochelle said:
Perfect for my lesson tomorrow! Thanks. ;-)

Friday, February 10, 2012 AT 10:06 AM
MAHEK said:
hi! nice to talk to you.

Friday, February 10, 2012 AT 10:07 AM
NIKITA said:
hi! nice to meet you.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012 AT 3:38 AM
Omar said:
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