Your call: voicing phone numbers

Just wanted to pass on some really positive feedback from the client. They were so happy with the read and rang yesterday to say they needed the phone number said a different way. I was sure you did another take, and sure enough, you had! Anyway, he was really impressed with the read and your attention to detail.

I got this note last month from a producer I work with—it’s so lovely to receive this type of feedback. I was particularly chuffed as I pride myself on my attention to detail. I am a big believer in investing a little extra effort up front to save time and money further down the track.

If in doubt, I always try to provide options but it is so helpful to have any preferences outlined in the script. Phone numbers are a biggie—there are so many ways they can be presented.

From how the numbers are broken up:

  • 1234 567 890
  • 1234 56 78 90

To how they are read:

  • five, six, seven, eight, nine, zero
  • fifty six, seventy eight, ninety

So is there a standard format when voicing? Not really. It is common to see 1800 and mobile numbers presented as 1234 567 890 in writing and when completing forms, while landline numbers are generally broken in half following the area code (01) 1234 5678.

However, these rules don’t necessarily apply to the spoken word. It really comes down to two criteria—the numbers themselves (what is the easiest and most memorable way to say them) and whether the organisation has an existing style preference. It always pays to double-check the latter when writing your script as the format could be an important component of your organisation’s brand and corporate identity.

I’ll end on probably your biggest consideration—is a phone number actually necessary? The answer is: it depends…but I’ll tackle that one in a separate post!

Don’t have a specific style? Here are some examples of how the different formats can sound.

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