How to Greet to Connect

greetingWhy are greetings so bland these days? A young man was at the register of a retail store recently and the cashier asked how he was doing. The cashier’s body language did not reflect that he cared about the young mans answer however the young man’s answer did not spark a reason to be interested. Both parties may have passed up a great opportunity because of failure to show true interest in the interaction.

Most greetings are rhetorical questions that the person on the receiving-end answers as a means of being polite. “I’m fine”, “I’m OK”, or “I’m hanging in there” are such lame responses that an individual might have done better had they not responded at all. Those that ask questions such as “How are you today?” or “How are you doing?” offer a less interesting way of showing true concern about the well being of others.

For the person that would like to add a spark to their day and possibly improve the well being of others; he or she must think of a greeting as the first impression to someone else for that day. It is said that a person will only get one chance to make a first impression. If this is true, then it is critical that every first impression is made to count.

Instead of asking “How are you?” ask “What are you doing today that’s fun?” It is almost impossible to get a bland response to that question, and it forces the person to go beyond the collection of usual responses and find a response that allows him or her to actually begin a conversation. If being asked a question, instead of answering with the usual “I’m fine” and similar responses use exclamatory words such as “I’m Incredible” and follow up with an alternative greeting “So, what are you doing that’s fun today?” The above question and responses will be the foundation of an interesting conversation as well as a pick me up for everyone involved. When an interest is found in a conversation, notice the change in body language of the person that is being spoken to. Their facial expression opens up and a smile will takeover. People like to converse with people they like and nothing exudes familiarity like sincere interest and a bright smile.

So, the next time someone extends a greeting make sure the interaction amazes them. It might open a door to a new relationship that will advance a career or business goal. More importantly the greeting may have mistakenly or purposely helped someone feel better about themselves and their day.