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Automated phone calls are most appropriate for important reminders and emergencies. We want this to be effective, not overwhelming. With too many "robocalls", parents will block the calls. This jeopardizes our ability to communicate in emergencies.

Phone calls are effective for sending quick messages or doing surveys.

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Listen to a sample phone message

Strategies for Phone Calls:

  1. Use sparingly
    Keep this method effective by using it infrequently. Think about how important the message is – if it’s not critical, send an email or letter instead.
  2. Use your own voice
    Do not use SchoolMessenger's automated voice to send out phone calls. They are not clear and often the message is misunderstood. It is best to record the message with your own voice, or have another staff member record the message for you.
  3. Keep it short
    Only use this method if you’re able to keep the message short. You generally have about ten seconds or less to convey your purpose before losing people’s attention. Time yourself reading the message slowly and clearly.
  4. Write your message out
    Begin with the important information and get right to the point. Good messages always contain your name, your school and your position at the school. Also, have someone else read the script and give feedback before sending the message.
  5. Repeat important information such as the date, time and location of events so parents have time to write it down. Use the following order for most effectiveness:
    1. What is the event? - Get to the purpose of the call right away
    2. What day, date and time is it?
    3. Where is it?
    4. Repeat day, date and time
    5. Include a contact phone number. Avoid email addresses, as they are often more difficult for the listener to remember or write down.
  6. Articulate clearly
    You should speak slowly and clearly when recording messages – but not so slow as to lose the recipient’s interest. It can be difficult to understand callers who speak too quickly. Always listen to your message before sending it.
  7. Create a good impression
    Messages are often your first contact with a parent so you want to make a good impression. Smile when you speak; people can hear it in your voice. Take a deep breath before you start recording; you want to keep your voice from trailing off. Put some energy in your voice and change the inflection; avoid sounding monotone. If you sound bored, your recipients will be less likely to pay attention. Remember, how you say something can be just as important as what you say.
  8. Only mention one topic per call
    Trying to cover a variety of complicated and/or unrelated issues in one phone message is not a good idea.
  9. Ask for feedback
    Do not be afraid of feedback from your recipients. Ask recipients if the messages you are sending are clear and how they could be improved. Also find out the type of information recipients desire and how often they want to hear from you.
  10. Send the call at an appropriate time
    Make sure there is someone available to receive incoming calls after your message goes out to answer questions. If no one will be available to take the call backs, record your voice message to explain what the call was about.

Do you have questions about the toolkit? Contact the Communications Department

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