Going beyond “How are you doing?” – Alternatives to Starting Your Business Conversations

how are you doing

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Is it starting to feel like the movie Groundhog Day every time you have a Zoom meeting or phone call? It feels like every conversation starts off the same way: “How are you doing? Everyone safe and healthy?” The responses often feel the same: “Hanging in there. We’re doing OK. How about you?”, etc. It’s become a script of sorts that everyone is repeating.

It’s nice to have the pleasantries at the start of the conversation, but when we keep asking the same questions over and over, it can seem like we are missing out on a chance to really get to know people better and make a deeper connection.

Even during pre-pandemic times, the “How are you doing?” question was still a staple, often followed by talking about the weather, exciting weekend plans or a vacation, talking about a sports game, etc. With many sports just starting back up and many people skipping trips for staycations, it can seem like we’ve run out of meaningful ways to engage in conversation.

So what’s the solution?

Move beyond the rote, “How are you doing?” and start having enlightening conversations again. It’s what builds business relationships and keeps them strong during long stretches of time. When you use the power of questions, it becomes a relationship magnet and creates a compelling urge to reveal more personal information which builds trust.

Building those relationships is key in also having a strong internal team. Newly remote workers need to keep a strong and cohesive relationship even though they are prevented from being together physically.

Here are some suggestions to ask after the pleasantries that invite levity, reflection, and go beyond “How are you doing?”. Keep in mind being a great question asker isn’t about just tossing the question out there, it’s also about being a good listener too!

  1. What’s something fun you have planned for yourself today – reading, exercising, baking?
  2. What’s one good thing you have learned or discovered while spending more time at home during the pandemic?
  3. Have you read any good books or watched any great Netflix series lately? What was so compelling about it?
  4. So many people are making big changes – have you started a new hobby or done any big projects lately?
  5. What are you looking forward to most once things settle down again?
  6. What is something that you thought you would miss and really haven’t?

Next time you have a virtual meeting – give it a try – I’m sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

At Litchfield Bancorp, we believe that every customer counts and we strive to build relationships, not just increase accounts. Getting to know our customers is just part of what we love about the communities we serve. As always, if you ever have questions or need business banking solutions, give us a call or stop in, we’re always happy to chat.


Mickie-Ann Budny
Litchfield Branch Manager, Vice President