You can’t call anyone these days and not get voice mail, it’s so common. I happen to love it and think it can work really well. The problem is that many people use it as a message dump instead of the effective communication tool it can be.
All too often, people leave messages like, “Hello, this is [name] please give me a call. My number is xxx-xxxx.” Calling them back is inefficient for two reasons. You may not be prepared for the call or you may get their voice mail.
A better way to leave a voice mail is to leave your name and contact information and the reason why you’re calling such as, “Hello, this is [your name] at xxx-xxxx. I wanted to confirm our lunch date on X day at X time. No need to call me back if you can make it. If we do need to reschedule, please call me with an alternate date and time.”
See the difference? The second method saves both people time. Think about that the next time you leave someone a voice mail. Make it worth your time and theirs.