Voicemail First Impressions Matter

How many times have you tried to reach a client, co-worker, or business partner only to get sent straight to their voicemail? How many calls have you let go to voicemail? In our busy lives, we may spend more time listening to electronic recordings of voices rather than the voices themselves. The message you've recorded to greet callers is oftentimes your first chance to make an impression, so it's important that it's a good one.

I'm often traveling to and from book signings, media appearances, and public speaking gigs, so more calls get sent to voicemail than I'd like. When people can't reach me on the phone they hear, "Hello, you've reached Janine (pause) Driver. Please leave your name, phone number, and a detailed message so I can get back to you and give you my undivided attention."
This message accomplishes a few goals. First of all, the pause between the first and last name ensures callers understand both, and it also signals to people that you're someone important. Try it—say your name with a two- or three-second pause in between your first and last names. It makes it sounds like your name appears somewhere in lights! It's simple, but it works. Once when I introduced myself this way to a client, enunciating both names and pausing ("My name is Ja-nine (pause, pause) Dri-ver") the client said, "Wow! Yeah I guess you are Janine Driver!" If you have trouble waiting the full time or if it feels awkward to you, try saying your middle name in your head while you pause. Remember, when we're nervous we often increase our rate of speech, so practice with a slightly longer pause than you'll use on your voicemail message or when introducing yourself.
Secondly, I emphasize that I want to give the caller my full and undivided attention. When you do this it's as though you're saying to them, "It's not that you're not important to me, it's that you're so important to me that I want to wait for a time when I can fully focus on your concerns."
Thirdly, I didn't apologize. You don't need to apologize for being busy with work. If you do, it may come off as insincere and it can even make you seem weak. If not apologizing worries you, just provide the caller with other options to get in touch with you instead (just not so many that you overwhelm them).
Feel free to copy my voicemail greeting, or pick from any of these other examples:

"You've reached ________. Leave me your detailed information and your preferred method of contact so I can be sure to get in touch with you as soon as possible."

"This is the voicemail of ________. Please leave your name, a brief message, and phone number. I will contact you the first moment I'm free to focus on you."

"You've reached _______. I'm busy at the moment, but please leave your number and a brief message or email me at ________ if you'd prefer to be more thorough. I will get back to you as soon as possible."

"This is the voicemail of ______. Either I'm out of the office or on the phone, in any case give me your name, number, and a message and expect a call back promptly. Thanks."
The impression you leave with your voicemail may be your first, so make it last!



We'd like to congratulate the recent graduates of our five-day course on Nonverbal Communication and Public Speaking. Each and every person in class worked their hearts out and gave 110 percent every day, and we're very grateful for their hard work and participation. Congratulations to:


Appreciate, Don't Judge

Ever see someone with a scowl on their face, thought to yourself "Wow, what a jerk, wonder what I did to make them mad?" only to speak to them and find out they're not in a bad mood at all ? We tell ourselves stories about people we meet, even only briefly, and form judgements about them every day.


Use the New Body Language to Defeat Your Office Nemesis

At some point, you've probably experienced workplace frustrations with an "office nemesis" whose second job seems to be making yours more difficult. These are the people you dread seeing each and every day. They may second-guess your every move, stubbornly throw out roadblocks, or otherwise stand in your way. There are plenty of body language techniques you can use to help control confrontations with these hard-headed co-workers, but oftentimes your office nemesis is far more insidious—it is yourself. If you're one of tens of millions of Americans suffering from severe shyness, you may feel like your own worst enemy. You could be the one always second-guessing yourself, throwing up unnecessary roadblocks, and standing in your own way. The good news is that you can change your body to change your mind, shake off shyness, and command your life.


Love and Lies on The Bachelor

With the ceaseless scheming, conflict, and competition, reality shows attract and often encourage master manipulators. If a season of reality TV is nothing more than a semester-long object lesson in lying, Rozlyn Papa from this season of ABC's The Bachelor could teach a master class.
For those unfamiliar with Ms. Papa's story, the 28 year-old model was booted from The Bachelor after her relationship with one of the show's producers was revealed. In the latest episode Rozlyn was brought back to confront her fellow contestants and the host, Chris Harrison.
Though Rozlyn repeatedly rebuffed Chris's questions about the affair, her body language betrayed the truth. During the interview she unintentionally sent signals, both verbal and nonverbal, indicating she was lying.


Dr. Oz

"He cheated with me. I mean on me," are the words that clumsily slipped from my lips during my dream-come-true 15-minute interview on The Dr. Oz Show. The good doctor even called me on it! My incorrect choice of words screamed to Dr. Oz, "There's more to this story here." During my 16-year career at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), I trained cops, lawyers, and judges within ATF, FBI, CIA, DIA, and state and local law enforcement how to recognize both verbal and nonverbal flares and probe deeper to get to the truth.


The Winter Olympics

As we tune into the 2010 Winter Olympics that began today, we'll see many emotions on the faces of the athletes as they journey towards the closing ceremony - anger, joy, sadness, etc. Whether the athletes this winter season are male or female, call China, Australia, the USA, or another country their home, or leave as winners or losers, their emotion will be consistently written across their faces and displayed through their body language. If the way we respond to winning and losing is universal, does this mean we are biologically wired to show the result of the race on our faces?


Perceived Threats

As an investigator with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, I was always on my guard. Walking into an unknown situation, I had only a few seconds to determine whether I was in any danger. My extensive training was indispensable, but it's within everyone's capability to make simple, split-second threat assessments based on body language.


Congratulations Body Language Institute Class of January '10

We kicked off 2010 with a bang thanks to our dynamite group of students! We would like to recognize all of those who graduated both Body Language 101: Non-verbal Communication and Body Language 102: Public Speaking Plunge. We hope everyone learned a lot during their time with us and will continue to put their new skills into practice. Over the next few weeks we'll be posting more information about some of our new exercises to give you a taste of the BLI experience.


Congratulations Body Language Institute Class of December 2009!

We recently wrapped up another successful class here at the Body Language Institute. We would like to recognize our phenomenal students who graduated both Body Language 101: Non-verbal Communication and Body Language 102: Public Speaking Plunge. We hope everyone had a blast and learned a lot!


BLI President on CNN: Balloon Boy and Family

Janine Driver, President of The Body Language Institute, was on CNN News Saturday, Oct. 17 between 5:30pm and 6:00pm discussing the young boy in the balloon hoax.  Below is a short update from CNN and two video links of the family’s interviews.

Below are the comments that she sent to CNN:
(CNN) — After scouring northern Colorado by foot and air, frantically chasing a Mylar balloon for miles and repeatedly interviewing his big brother, authorities ended the search for 6-year-old Falcon Heene where it began — at his house.
6-year-old Falcon Heene says he was hiding in a box in the attic while authorities were searching for him.


Lie to me!??

Many of you may already know that during my 15-year career as an investigator with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), I was trained by Dr. Paul Ekman, who’s scientific research is highlighted in the new FOX hit drama series called, “LIE TO ME!” But did you know that the main character who is named “Dr. Cal Lightman” (played by Tim Roth) is really a combination of two people? Paul Ekman and J.J. Newberry!