“Couldn’t it be shorter?”: Voicemail messages cause frustration for some recipients. Others are satisfied with the personal message. Why are audio messages so polarizing?
Berlin – Rumble bass, girl sounds delighted – whoever plays the voicemail is right in the middle of the action. Without having to hear many words, you can see that the party is good.
Some people love it. According to the company, seven billion voicemails are sent every day using Whatsapp’s largest messenger. The group says users can exchange information “faster, easier and also on a more personal level”. Nevertheless, there are not only fans.
“In everyday life, you can see that many people get very nervous when they receive voicemail messages. The tolerance limit may be even higher for your own child. But anything that goes beyond the narrowest emotional sphere of the family will eventually become very annoying, ”she says. digital expert Gerald Lembke. He is Professor of Media Economics and Media Management in Mannheim, and has also studied voice messaging and its use.
“Users say: They like to send voicemails but don’t like to listen to them. Why? It is very easy to record something casually, standing at the cash register or sitting in the car, but listening to the voicemail message takes action, ”explains lemke. Because communication with voice messages is asynchronous, i.e. with a time delay: someone receives them, sends them, and then they are listened to.
Communication as a one-way street
“Voice messaging is a one-way street communication,” says Lembke. From a theoretical point of view, this is even a simplification: “You are independent of the recipient’s reaction and this at the beginning facilitates communication because it is only in one direction and is not intended for interaction.”
If someone is temporarily unavailable and the matter is not urgent, this type of communication “makes sense,” says Lembke. But: When it comes to making arrangements with multiple people, a synchronized phone call is more effective and productive.
“If you want to give a date, for example, you shouldn’t put it in a voicemail for a few minutes, but send it as text, as the recipient can see it immediately and can easily check it later,” agrees Dorothea. Adler. At the Department of Media Psychology at the University of Würzburg, he conducts research on, inter alia, over the voice prompts.
You start talking – and the message grows longer
Some people digress when recording: “Spoken language is less predictable than written language. You can think ahead of what you want to say, but there is probably still a discrepancy between what is planned and what is said, ”explains Adler.
“While text allows you to reread what you’ve written and correct things to better fit the recipient’s message, spoken language is more likely to make you talkative, which probably adds a bit of length as well. Some people like it when someone starts talking and talks about their thoughts and feelings. While a text message can be personal, it is usually a bit more focused and focused. ”
Some things are already being passed in the background. “For example, I hear when a friend is still at the party and music is playing. This means that I can participate much better and perceive genuine emotions through language, and thus feel closer to the person, ”says Adler. “Not only does she speak more, she also speaks a little faster and more melodiously when she is happy. voice and intonation. ”
“It’s also about sensitivity”
Laughing, speaking faster, whispering, pausing to think – all these things can get a message across. But: It is important that both parties agree aloud instead of text messages. “It’s also about sensitivity: if I send someone a voicemail and the other person constantly replies by text, I would probably at some point assume that they don’t want to do so and I will ask or stop sending language instructions,” says Adler. Conversely, as the recipient, you can also say that you prefer to call or receive something in writing.
Lembke also advises you to make a clear decision – “Yes, I want it or not, I don’t want it. If I say I don’t want voicemail messages, I can discuss it over the phone with those who send them to me. But a lot of people are struggling with this decision. “