The greeting “How are you?” is so standard that the reply often becomes perfunctory. It doesn’t have to be.
The question presents an opportunity. Here are three ways to make your response meaningful:
- Project a positive attitude.It’s hard not to smile when the response to “How are you?” is a big grin and “If my life were any better I’d have to hire someone to help me enjoy it!”You don’t have to go that far, though. Even a simple “Super!” is better than “Fine.” Years ago I adopted the response “Peachy!” for a few weeks. Things actually weren’t going well for me, but my response was honest—No one made the connection that a late frost had severely damaged that year’s peach crop.
- Brag a bit. If calling attention to your accomplishments is difficult for you, this is a subtle way to make sure your efforts don’t go unnoticed. When someone asks “How are you?” say something like “I’m thrilled today, because my team closed a deal that we have been working or for three weeks” or “I’m excited, because I just learned that I’ll be serving on the Employee Rewards Committee.”
- Lead into a request. Respond and move the conversation along at the same time. Couple your reply with why you are approaching the other person. Example: “My day will be perfect if you can …”
Come back next week to discover three better questions than “How are you?”
What’s your favorite response to “How are you?”