How are you? A question I’ve always found difficult to answer, especially at a start of a business call. Do people truly want to know how I am? Or, is it just a formality?
But now, more than ever, we should ask questions that truly allow us to connect – especially at the beginning of a conversation. I’ve noticed that starting of a conversation talking about how people are, the current climate etc, the call is not only a lot more effective but also a lot more fun and meaningful.
Having been working from home for almost two months now, my daily calls with colleagues and clients are so important for my sense of connection and meaning. And although it is important to find a balance, I have realised whenever I connect with somebody, I have the choice whether I make it meaningful or not. For instance, just by starting with ‘I cannot even begin to imagine how busy it has been for you in the past few weeks, how are you holding up?’ you start the conversation in such a different way.
This doesn’t mean that it is always easy – we all have days where we are stressed, anxious, worried or maybe just not in the mood to talk to others. And that’s okay! You can be honest with that and in the current situation, everybody will most likely understand. But by letting others know, and being vulnerable, you are giving yourself an opportunity to have a meaningful human connection.
So how can we create meaningful conversations in the current situation?
You probably have a good idea already on how you can do that, but I wanted to share some tips from us that you may not have discovered:
- Allow yourself to be vulnerable. If you're having a difficult day, it’s okay and you can say so. You don’t have to share why- but just by saying ‘you know, today isn’t the best day’, you allow for meaningful interactions to take place. And mostly likely, the other person has experienced something similar.
- Allow a couple of minutes of normal conversation and checking in before starting with business talk – when we have calls back to back or see our emails piling up, it is easy to want to talk business straight away. But it is so important to allow yourself to have a few minutes of non-business talk, just as you would if we were all still working in an office.
- Ask a different question than ‘how are you’. Ask instead, how has it been for you the past few weeks? Has working from home been going? What has gone well/have you found difficult.
To build more meaningful connections, download this worksheet with different tips and get in contact with us for more information on how you can support yourself and team to stay engaged and connected.