Voice Message 101: WhatsApp shares etiquette guide for becoming a voice message pro

Easy to send and fun to listen to, voice messages have become a go-to for many when sharing funny anecdotes or heartfelt messages with friends and family. With 7 billion voice messages sent on WhatsApp every day, they are a popular way of sharing in-the-moment updates, with the added expressiveness that comes with speech. Voice messages are protected by end-to-end encryption, to keep your personal messages secure at all times.

But as quick as it is to swipe and send a voice message, they should be shared with thought. Receiving long rambles that could take ten minutes to listen to, or playing a message from a parent out loud on public transport is neither fun nor convenient. And what about the politics of replying? Must you respond to a voice message with one of your own?

To help navigate voice message etiquette, WhatsApp has shared tops tips on how to voice message like a pro:

  1. Don’t record a podcast: While everyone has a different opinion on the ideal length of a voice message, try keeping them to 1 or 2 minutes. If it’s too long to type but too short for a call, you’ve found the voice message sweet spot. And if you receive a voice message that is unbearably long, you can play it at 1.5x or 2x speeds to listen to it faster.
  1. Break it up: If you really can’t shorten your message, consider breaking it up into shorter ones and sending them separately. Your recipient can choose to binge-listen in one sitting or squeeze them in around their schedule.
  1. Respect others: Be aware of your surroundings when listening to a voice message. Loud playback can be annoying for those around you, but the message may also contain private information. Keep the volume down or use headphones in quiet, crowded places like train carriages.
  1. Cut the questions: Be mindful of how many questions you ask in a single voice note so your recipient doesn’t forget half of them when trying to reply.
  1. Return the favour: If you receive a voice message, try sending one back. A two-way voice conversation is much better than a one-sided rant.
  1. Be timely: Remember to reply to voice messages in a timely manner. If you’re really tight for time, you can send a voice message hands-free while multi-tasking. Simply hold down the microphone icon and swipe up to lock your recording in place. When finished, tap to send.
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According to WhatsApp, “Technology has helped us communicate in an informal, relaxed manner with family and friends, and voice messages over WhatsApp are a popular way to share a funny anecdote, or a heartfelt message – particularly as they’re protected by end-to-end encryption. That said, at times we can forget the importance of etiquette in digital situations, and there are no official rules to guide us. I’m excited to share some etiquette tips, to help you and the people you’re sharing them with get the best from voice messaging”.


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