Your Dating App Voice Prompt Sucks (and How to Make It Better)

Your Dating App Voice Prompt Sucks (and How to Make It Better)
Photo: insta_photos, Shutterstock

After tweeting out a joke and a screenshot of someone messaging me on Hinge, I read through a lot of complaints (mostly from men) about how it feels like there are only two options when you reach out to someone on dating apps: Get ignored or get mocked. And with the option record a voice message on your profile, the “get mocked” option only seems increasingly common.

Voice prompts allow you to answer question prompts with your voice instead of just writing a text answer. Hinge’s prompts are meant to offer a deeper representation of its users’ personalities beyond bios and pics. Done right, they can add a certain layer of authenticity to a dating profile. Done wrong, and they can lead to an instant swipe left.

Here’s how you can record a voice prompt that actually gets you a first date — instead of recording one that gets someone else millions of likes at your expense.

The biggest mistakes with voice prompts

When Hinge launched their voice prompt feature last year, it was only a matter of time before people started to go viral for being outrageous, hilarious, or generally terrible. And it’s true: A lot of profiles have voice prompts that suck.

This viral supercut of bland voice prompts does a good job of capturing the biggest issue with voice prompts: Low effort. In that viral video, one person takes the prompt “Give me travel tips for…” and then records himself saying the word “Georgia.” What is the purpose of recording that word over typing it out? It boggles the mind.

Side bar: That one-word answer of “Georgia” isn’t great as a text response, either. There’s no conversation starter there. You gotta say something like “Georgia, I’m new in town for work!” or “I’ve always wanted to visit Georgia, let me know what stops I can’t miss!” Just saying.

Everyone on a dating app is trying to attract each other, so let’s not waste each others’ time being boring. Before pressing record, ask yourself: What value could your voice message add? Be deliberate. You only get one shot at a first impression here. Use the recording feature to showcase some personality, originality, and charm — whatever that means for you.

Tips to record a strong voice prompt on Hinge

Here are some tips and tricks for using the voice feature to your advantage.

  • Keep it short and sweet. Hinge only lets you record for 30 seconds, but there’s no need to use all that time. No need to trail off with a “so….yeah…” ending. Get to the point, and stop the recording as soon as you’re done.
  • Re-record if necessary. You don’t have to be a one-take wonder! I’m always shocked by how much dead air is including in people’s recordings. If you stumble over a word or lose the thread at any point, just start over and try it again.
  • But don’t sound too polished. The authenticity is one of the biggest value-adds of voice prompts, so try to strike a balance between off-the-cuff rambling and Ted Talk speech.
  • Show off your personality. Maybe you want to match with someone who loves your Shrek impression. Or totally gets your reference to an obscure TV show. Get creative with what you want a potential match to like about you.
  • Make it worth a voice prompt. Like in the “Georgia” example above, you want your voice prompt to serve a purpose greater than simply reading off a one-word response. Whatever is most charming about you, give the people a sneak peek.

Recording your voice prompt

Multiple services have a voice recording feature, but Hinge’s seems to be the most popular. Open the app, then go to Settings > Edit Profile > Voice Prompt. You can record a voice note for any of Hinge’s regular prompts (questions like “give me travel tips for…” and “my favourite random fact…”). And remember: You can re-record as many times as needed. Good luck out there.

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