How To Have More Genuine Conversations

Years ago, as a young man, I used to spend the odd weekend or two travelling two hours and spending time with friends who lived regionally outside of Sydney.

These were great friends, who’s company I very much enjoyed. We would spend the weekends discussing all the problems of the universe, and solving a few of them.

Those were the good old days… but time moves on…

One of the things I learnt from one of those friends was a greeting, or conversation starter, that has stayed with me for over thirty five years.

It’s a simple question that I use on a very regular basis in conversation with all sorts of people, and is something I believe that every person should adopt to set their conversations apart from the other conversations out there that are using very ordinary and banal greetings.

The greeting that my friend used is this:

He said to me, as I arrived at his home and was settling in, he asked me:

“How’s your week been?”

Here’s what he didn’t say:

He didn’t say:

“How are you?”

Or

“How ya going?”

Which are probably the two most over-used and under-appreciated greeting questions on the planet.

I say this because I find that most people who ask me the questions

“How are you?” or “How ya going?”

really don’t care at all about my physical well-being or my mental health, and only use these questions as a silence breaking tool to then depart from the current moment of reality and get quickly onto their own agenda.

Make a note when you hear people greet each other and LISTEN as to whether they actually pay any attention to the answer they receive.

Often the person answering the question “How are you?” replies with an answer equally as insincere as the original question.

They will say:

“Not bad.”

Or

“Not too bad”

whatever those two phrases mean…. And then we’re off into more banality….

The genius of my friend’s question is this:

My friend’s question is genuinely thought provoking, and initiates a genuine conversation about the events of the week.

My friend’s question gets the conversation away from any banality and leads it straight into recent and current reality.

And it shows a genuine interest in the other person and what they are about to reply.

From that day forward….

From that day on I used that question and other variances of that question as a genuine conversation starter, getting the conversation straight into the other person’s agenda and reality.

The other variances that I used were these:

“How’s your week looking?”

and

“How’s your day looking?”

Which can both be followed with:

“What have you got planned?”

And of course, using a shorter time frame when discussing the past, you can ask:

“How’s your day been?”

which can be followed with the genuine questions:

“What have you been doing?”

or

“What have you been up to?”

Here’s what will happen

When you start asking these questions when greeting your friends, contacts, and customers, your conversations will immediately move up to be more personal and more genuine.

And the change in conversation matter me will be more appreciated.

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