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We all have them: the standard greetings and inquiries we use when we’re attempting to make conversation with a friend, neighbor, co-worker, customer, prospect, fellow networker, Great Aunt Janelle, or whoever. Problem is, many of these standard questions, such as “How’s it going?” and “What’s new?” are often met with other standards:

  • “Oh, it’s going.”
  • “Going okay.”
  • “Oh, not much.”
  • “Oh…I don’t know…”
  • “Nothing much.”
  • “Same old, same old.”
  • “Just getting by…”
  • [Insert the response you typically get that ends the exchange before it begins.]


What if you tried something different? More creative? More intriguing?

My favorite this week (which I asked after using one of the standards and getting nowhere) has been:  “What’s your latest triumph and challenge?”

I have to tell you: this has sparked some interesting, inspiring, and surprising conversations! I believe it works so well because it’s a more specific question. It shows genuine interest, in both the good and the not-so-good. Sure, the person you’re asking might be slightly surprised when you ask. But then… I bet you’ll hear some memorable and meaningful responses. And a truly good conversation will ensue.

How refreshing!!

Give it a try. And by all means, let’s hear one of your favorite questions. The kind you like to ask when you want to get a real conversation going.

And, if you don’t already have them, click here to receive several FREE conversation and connection resources, including a list of conversation-starting questions organized by setting and situation.