You know what it is like, you are having a hectic day, emails to answer, meetings to attend, people talking to you, asking questions and looking to you for answers. The phone rings, you have no idea who it is or what they want. They want to speak to your Executive or someone random in the office; you can’t put them through to the correct person, so you take a message without capturing the right information… like their name… We’ve all been there. People don’t phone much these days and when they do it can throw you off guard, on top of that if you are having a busy day and your mind is elsewhere it can be pretty easy not to get all of the right information, or pass on the correct details. Now you could say, “can you email me please”, but that adds so much time to their day and yours. So why not make sure that you capture the correct information using a good old fashioned template rather than writing down the message on a scrap of paper or quickly firing out an email without any context? Here is the Practically Perfect PA template for capturing messages.

Template for capturing messages

I’ve put together two different templates you can use for collecting the right information. Firstly, those random messages you get asked to relay to someone in your team, department, office, organisation. Here are the details you need to capture:

  • The name of the person receiving the message, their job title and department if you don’t know them
  • The full name, with the correct spelling, of the person calling
  • Their job title and organisation
  • The time and date of the call
  • The phone number and email address of the person calling
  • The message they would like to relay, if the colleague is expecting their call, and if it is urgent
  • What are the next steps, will the person call back or are they waiting for your colleague to call them?

I think you need a different template if you are capturing a message for your Executive. This template does come with a slight caveat though! You should be able to answer most queries that come in for your Executive so that they don’t have to phone anyone back. But there are always circumstances when you might be out of the loop on something, and you don’t have all of the answers. So here is where a template might come in handy. This template can also be helpful for any sales calls you receive. You can capture the details, run them past your Executive and then reply on their behalf. So, with that caveat in mind, here are the details you need to capture for your Executive:

  • The name of your Executive (if you support more than one)
  • The full name, with the correct spelling, of the person calling
  • Their job title and organisation
  • The time and date of the call
  • The phone number and email address of the person calling
  • The message they would like to relay (does your Executive know who they are? Have they met before? Are they due to attend a meeting together? What project, meeting, piece of work does this relate to? Is this urgent?)
  • What are the next steps, will the person call back or are they waiting for your Executive to call them? Do you need to call them again on behalf of your Executive? Can you arrange a meeting?

I have put all of this information into a template that you can download and keep on your desk.

You may also like