I am a busy executive of a multi-billion dollar company. As such I am incredibly busy and must choose where focus my energy and efforts with great care. Thus, I am always looking for those things that steal time.
One of those time stealers is phone. In fact, next to meetings and email, it is probably worst time stealer of all. Phone tag is a complete waste of time, and I generally simply refuse to play game at all.
Voice mails, like email messages, can be major time wasters. I know you've gotten at least once voice mail in your life that goes on and on, with callers phone number mumbled at end. You just wasted five or ten minutes!
So what I do is simple. Unless voice mail message is from my boss or someone very important (like my wife), I will ignore it unless it follows most of voice mail etiquette rules listed below.
Tell me who you are - I hate playing guessing game. If you leave a message without leaving your name (first and last is best), then I'm not going to spend a lot of time trying to figure out who you are.
Leave contact information - Look, I'm pretty good at what I do but I don't have every phone number in world memorized. In fact, believe it or not, I may not have your phone number even listed in my address book. Even if I do, you've given me another reason not to call you back - you've annoyed me by forcing me to have to search around for your number. This wastes time, and unless your call is important to me you are probably not going to get a return call.
Be polite - Believe me, my day is hard enough without listening to a hostile voice message. You want to make I don't call you back (unless you are boss or boss's boss), then leave a very emotional message. You'd be amazed at how quickly I'll delete those that are hostile or somehow upsetting.