The early telephone answering machines recorded the messages reel- to-reel, like a movie theater and played back the same way. You only had to pray that the tape didn’t break or get corrupted midway through your caller’s message. The sound was terrible, often distorted, and usually crackly. The most redeeming feature was that you and your caller could talk as long as you wanted. Today’s machines, if they’re still around, limit your speaking time to a few minutes.
I said this unlimited amount of speaking time was their most redeeming feature but in retrospect, it also had a downside. I had two clients, a man and a woman, who always left messages of twenty minutes or more in duration. In the playback mode, my machine first had you listen to your outgoing message and since it didn’t allow you to back up a wee bit to take down a specific piece of information that you missed or couldn’t decipher, every time you had to play it back to retrieve that vital piece of information, you got to hear your outgoing message over and over again. Not a wonderful thing when you’re very busy and time is of the essence, but when you have nothing more exciting to do at the moment, it could be the high spot of your day 분당스웨디시.
I don’t know if it was the excitement of getting my very first answering machine or if it was nervousness at hearing my voice being played back to me, or just the fact that I didn’t know what to say. It was probably a combination of all of the above. What I certainly didn’t realize was that my message was going to tell the listener a lot about me.
Most people record their outgoing message without realizing what it says about them. In the old days, waaay long before voice mail, when telephone answering machines first came into being, I was one of those people who didn’t realize what my message said about me.
My very first outgoing message played upon the image of a happy dog wagging his tail and I recorded it in a perky voice. It said: “Hi, there. I hate to brag but this machine is so intelligent it thinks it’s human. When it hears your voice, it becomes so excited that its recording tape goes into action. It has such a wonderful memory that just by a flip of a switch it repeats your whole conversation word for word. Where else can you get such an enthusiastic response? Try it… you’ll like it. At the sound of the tone, leave your name, telephone number, and message, and be recorded for posterity.”
I got a lot of comments about my message. One day, I answered my phone and a man said, “Oh, I didn’t want to speak to you; I just wanted to hear your outgoing message.” I offered to hang up and let him hear the message but he declined. Another call I received was from a newspaper reporter wanting to do a story on my answering machine’s message. This time I declined. And still, another incident was when my friend and I were waiting in line to be seated at a restaurant and I was telling her about the comments I was getting on my outgoing message. A man who was standing behind me tapped me on the shoulder and asked me to tell him what my message said.
Those were the early days when you could have fun with your answering machine. It was so new that most people didn’t have them and so it was a novelty to hear an electronic device taking down your message. Nowadays, it’s serious business and it says a lot about you. It especially says a lot about the business you are representing.