Some do not like phone calls, some do not like to send texts. Gladly, there is a middle ground in the form of voice notes. Although several social media and messaging platforms offer this feature, the most prominent is probably WhatsApp. The instant messaging app first introduced the feature back in 2013 and has been making tweaks to its features since then. Such is the popularity that as many as 7 million voice notes are sent on the platform every day, according to WhatsApp.
And it is understandable, it is easier than typing a long message. You also do not have to engage in a long conversation over a call. You just tap on your microphone, record a message and send it. That’s it! These are end-to-end encrypted too, adding a much-needed layer of security to the personal messages.
However, as easy and convenient as it is to send voice notes, there are some gaffes you must avoid and etiquette that you should follow. Nobody likes listening to a 10-minute long voice note-cum podcast or other people’s messages played loud. Also, you can put some thought into how you reply to these, as the tone and the words used can play a role in how the other person takes them.
Hence, to clear some air around the voice note etiquettes, WhatsApp partnered with etiquette expert Seema Puri, who has shared some tips you can follow while sending and listening to a voice note.
When you receive a podcast
A voice note is a sweet spot if the message is too long to type but too short for a call. Although there is no consensus on the correct length of a voice note, if you receive an unbearably long one, it is better to play it at 1.5x or 2x speeds to listen to it faster, Puri says.
Never, ever send a podcast
Just like a long voice note can be an excruciating task for you to listen to, think the same while sending one. Instead of sending a long voice note, it is better to shorten it by breaking it up into shorter ones and sending them separately. This allows the recipient to choose between binge-listening all of them in one sitting or listening to them as per her schedule.
Respect others & your privacy
Nobody likes hearing someone else’s voice notes played loud in a public place. Hence, be aware of your surroundings when listening to voice notes. It can be a nuisance for others if you listen to them out loud in a public place. Not just that, it might also contain some sensitive information thus posing a threat to your privacy. Hence, avoid listening to these out loud or keep the volume as low as possible. Also, use a headphone or an earphone when you open these, if available.
Ask fewer questions
Too many questions in a voice note might confuse the recipient and could make her forget some of them. Hence, it is better to limit the number of questions you pose in a single voice note to make it convenient for the recipient to reply.
Return the favour
When you receive a voice note, try sending one back while being mindful of the language it has been sent in, the etiquette expert says. “You could try to send your voice note in the same language,” she says, adding that “a two-way conversation is much better than a one-sided rant.”
Send a timely reply
Not just the language, timing is important here too. Hence, reply to a voice note in a timely manner so as not to keep your friend waiting or make her efforts go waste. However, if you are too short on time, you can send one back hands-free, which allows you to multitask. You just have to tap on the microphone icon and swipe up. This will lock your recording space. You just now have to record your message and press send.
“Technology has helped us communicate in an informal, relaxed manner with family and friends,” notes Puri, while highlighting the role WhatsApp has played. “That said, at times we can forget the importance of etiquette in digital situations, and there are no official rules to guide us,” she said. However, by following the aforementioned etiquettes, you can surely “get the best from voice messaging”.