The most important thing about communication is hearing what isn’t said. – Peter Drucker
One question that tops our list when conversing with our friends and family is ‘How are you?’. It has become basic and the responses are so systematic, it is easy to predict the responses – Okay, Good, Fine, Great.
‘How are you’ is now intended as a means of greeting rather than a question with the intent to acquire more information from the person we are conversing with. It will be pointless to keep asking a question that will not generate a new information. This is the reason why ‘How are you?’ is in need of a make over. If we genuinely care about the person with whom we’re conversing with, we will want to truly know how they are.
Being good to people is a wonderful legacy to live behind – Taylor Swift
There other information-seeking questions that can be asked in place of ‘How are you’. And if we listen carefully we will learn something new about the person’s life, character and ideas. These six questions come in handy when next you want to strike up a conversation with someone, they can’t be answered with one-word response.
- What was the best part your day?
- What work has been the most exciting for you this week?
- What new ideas have come to mind lately?
- What have you learnt in recent times that has inspired you?
- How can I make your day better?
- Tell me something that made you laugh today?
The first question is mostly used as an end-of-the day greeting, it requires engagement and it will get the other party to get talking. You will be surprised at the detailed response of how their day went. With this, communication becomes easier and effective. Also, the question can be rephrased to a beginning-of-the question such as; What part of your day are you looking forward to? this question will spark a positive energy in the person the question is being directed to.
Question 2 reveals ideas and accomplishments made within the course of the week. It is an invaluable question that should be asked in offices, it helps identify an employees areas of strength and passion. Which when aligned with the goals and vision of the employer will increase productivity and efficiency.
Question 3 can be asked in the office and at home. This leaves room for new ideas and innovation which will stimulate growth and development for the company and employee. It is very important for leaders – employers and parents alike, to ask this question and also pay prompt attention to the feedbacks they get. It is important for the development of personal skills and self-awareness.
Question 4 this question aims at self-reflection, as the person takes out time to think about their recent source of inspiration. It can also serve as a form of learning for both parties
Question 5 this question brings about engagement and thoughtfulness on the part of the person who asked. It also reveals whats going through the mind of the person who the question is directed to.
Question 6 this question will help you share in the person’s excitement and it usually goes a long way.
There are numerous ways to give ‘How are you?’ a makeover, if we truly care about the well-being of the person we are directing the question to. Whichever way we choose to go about it, the questions should bring about engagement and positive energy.
Be kind to others. Your unassuming act of kidness might become someone’s memory of a life time – Anonymous.
If you were to give ‘How are you?’ a makeover what questions will you ask?
Written By Oluwayomi for Flourish Africa