We've all been there—the moment right before a meeting starts when a well-meaning workmate asks, "How are you doing?" While this question may seem harmless on the surface, it often leads to the all-too-common response of "I'm fine" or "I'm busy."
To continue with Mental Health Awareness month, we have compiled a list of five refreshing alternatives to spice up your pre-meeting conversations. Perhaps the key thing to note is not necessarily to replace the de facto greeting, but instead use these as follow ups to the all-too-common meeting ice breaker (eg.: "How are you, what's been the highlight of your day so far?").
Say goodbye to mundane small talk and hello to meaningful interactions.
"What has been the highlight of your day so far?"
By shifting the focus from a generic inquiry to a specific aspect of the day, you encourage your workmates to reflect on positive experiences. This question opens the door to sharing personal achievements, exciting moments, or even interesting challenges. It promotes a more engaging conversation and allows individuals to showcase their unique journeys, fostering a sense of camaraderie and connection among colleagues.
"Is there anything exciting happening in your professional life?"
Instead of the vague and overused "How are you doing?", this question zeroes in on work-related accomplishments, projects, or goals. It creates an opportunity for colleagues to discuss recent achievements, share progress, or even seek advice on challenges they are currently facing. This shift in focus cultivates a more productive and constructive dialogue, enabling colleagues to support and motivate one another in their professional endeavours.
"What's something that has been on your mind lately?"
This open-ended question invites your workmates to express their thoughts, concerns, or ideas. It encourages individuals to delve into deeper conversations and discuss matters that truly matter to them. By offering a safe space for sharing, you show genuine interest in your colleagues' thoughts and feelings, fostering a stronger bond and allowing for more meaningful connections to form.
"What's something new you've learned recently?"
In a world that thrives on continuous learning, this question sparks curiosity and promotes intellectual growth. It prompts your workmates to share interesting tidbits, knowledge gained from recent experiences, or insights from books, podcasts, or courses. This alternative not only fosters a culture of learning within your team but also provides an opportunity for colleagues to discover common interests and engage in enlightening discussions.
"How can I support you in achieving your goals?"
This powerful question demonstrates your willingness to be a supportive team member and encourages your workmates to articulate their needs and aspirations. It opens the door for collaboration and allows colleagues to identify ways in which they can assist one another. By offering your help, you build a stronger sense of unity and foster an environment where everyone feels valued and supported.
Next time you find yourself in the all-too-familiar pre-meeting scenario, break free from the monotonous "How are you doing?" routine. Embrace or append one of these five refreshing alternatives and transform your interactions into meaningful exchanges that encourage deeper connections and foster a positive work environment.
By taking the time to ask thought-provoking questions, you will not only enrich your professional relationships but also cultivate an atmosphere of authenticity, support, and growth.