A better question to ask than, “How are you?”

It has become my most hated question.

I mean, does anyone know how to answer the question “how are you” right now?


Do you lie and say “fine” or “good”?

Do you give a cliché like “hanging in there” or “putting one foot in front of the other”?

Whether you are checking in with colleagues or customers, there are better questions to ask than “how are you?”

Let me be clear, I am a fan of checking in with people. A check-in is a great chance to get information and make a connection. But if you really want to know what’s going on in someone’s life, ask more specific questions.

Questions to ask besides “how are you?”

Here are some other check-in questions you can ask:

  • What’s going on in your world?
  • What’s new in your world?
  • Any changes coming up?
  • And big decisions coming up?
  • What have you got on your plate today?
  • Anything you want to talk to me about today?

The quality of the information and connection changes when you ask these more specific questions. For example:

Person: Holly, how are you?

Me: Ok. You know. Putting one foot in front of the other.

Person: I hear you.


Person: Holly, what’s going on in your world? Any changes coming up?

Me: Actually, yes. Since Covid, I’ve been taking care of my 87-year-old mother. Now that in-person conferences are coming back, I have a lot more speaking engagements and work travel. I’m not sure how to find professional care for my mom.

Which of those answers gave you more quality information? Which one of those answers would spark a conversation with a chance for real connection?

Ask better questions. Get better answers. Make more genuine connections.

Holly Buchanan

Holly Buchanan

Holly Buchanan is the author of Selling Financial Services to Women – What Men Need to Know and Even Women Will Be Surprised to Learn. She is the co-author of The ... Web: www.SellingFinancialServicesToWomen.com Details