We’ve all experienced this.  You call someone.  The message starts.  "Hi, I’m away from my desk…."  And it goes on and on.  And on some more.  Ever hear this kind of message: " I’m visiting a really important client in a really exotic city and won’t be back in the office for several days.  However, through the genius of Alexander Graham Bell and a bunch of other tech guys, I’ll be able to call you back even before I get back to office.  If I feel like it."  Then, the person goes on to reveal the obvious in a manner that suggests he or she is leaking highly classified material:  "At the sound of the beep, leave your name, number and time you called."  Meanwhile, at your end of the phone, you’ve finished your coffee, written a 15 page brief and decided on your next vacation.  And made the reservations.  Too Much Information!!!!

Is there a person in the world who is not familiar with voice mail?  Does it matter whether you are away from your desk or playing video games on your computer?  Does it matter where you are or when you’ll be in your office next?  It seems to me there are only two relevant pieces of information–your name (so the caller knows he or she dialed correctly) and when you’ll respond–quickly, or because of circumstances (trial, vacation to remote mountain village), longer than normal.  And if the latter circumstance, it’s probably best to provide an alternative number in your firm so your client doesn’t choose to call another.