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How to Stop Using “How are you doing?”

Category: Business English Skills | 2017-09-18

Of all the conversation openers in the world, nothing is more mundane than “How are you doing?”. And we have all been in the situation where this has driven the conversation to a screeching halt. How are you doing? Good thanks, and you? Great thanks. Flatline…. Where do you go from here when no one has offered anything of value?

If you want to get the conversation off to a good start, you have to ask a question that has some weight to it. No, you don’t have to ask them to describe their views on global warming and how to fix the problem. However, dig a little deeper than “How are you doing?” and you will likely get a more honest and useful answer.

Below, we are going to take a look at 3 conversation openers that will propel the dialogue forward. This will lead to better, more meaningful discussions which, in turn, will help you develop stronger connections with your prospects. And, as we all know, stronger connections lead to more sales and lasting client relationships.

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Conversation Openers 

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How is your Tuesday going?

You may ask how this is any different from “How are you doing?”. The short answer is that it is only slightly different. But, try to think of the last time someone asked you this question. Can’t think of a single time? Quite likely not. So, maybe it IS different after all!

By simply adding the day to the question, your prospect will stop and think about it for a moment. This is a new look at the question, and it begs a new look at the answer. The addition of time into the question encourages the prospect to add time into the answer. They are likely to relate their day to the rest of the week, possibly mentioning a deadline or event that is nearing. From here, you are free to dig deeper into this aspect of their life and create a more meaningful conversation.

conversation openers


Tell me how your week/day is going?

Ok. So, technically, this isn’t a question, but we are talking about conversation openers, not leading questions. And this is definitely a strong start to a conversation. The simple act of giving a command, rather than asking a question, shows confidence and authority. With that, your prospect will immediately respond to you with more respect and trust.

On the more practical side, you have told your prospect to TELL you about their day or week. By removing the option for a one-word answer, you are forcing them to go into detail. Again, this will reveal one or more topics for further discussion and a chance for you to show genuine interest.

conversation openers

I’m curious about X, how did that go?

There is no better way to impress your prospects than by expressing genuine interest in their lives. By asking a question like this, you are showing that you are interested in more than the bottom line. You want to know them as a person, and not just a sale. When you do this, you give the conversation more heart and make it more friendly.

Conversation openers like this one work on many different levels. You can use it on work related subjects, like projects or mergers, or you can ask about everyday topics. Perhaps in your last conversation, they mentioned a hobby or event that was coming up. Maybe a recent tweet or FB post mentioned a movie they have seen lately. “I’m curious, what did you think about the new Star Wars movie?” is a fine variation of this opener. Not only is this not the same old song and dance, it has the benefit of covering a topic they are clearly interested in.

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Putting it All Together

There are literally dozens of ways to open a conversation uniquely and with a genuine sense of interest. The basic idea is to make it different. Most people start off with some variation of “How are you doing?”. Whether it is “How’s it going?” or “What’s new?”, these questions rarely do more than scratch the surface. Switch up your approach and reap the rewards of great conversation openers. More meaningful interactions, stronger relationships and a greater sense of trust will always result in higher sales.

How could you adapt these conversation openers to your prospects? What other great questions do you use? Let me know in the comment section below. Don’t forget to sign up for our monthly newsletter for more tips, articles and exclusive deals. Thanks for reading!



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