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Stop Asking These Bad Questions, & Suggestions For Better Ones.

I have completely taken "How are you?" off the table.


I think this question is trite... Who answers this question honestly anyway? I know I'm guilty of it.


Let's put it into practice:


-- "Hi, how are you?"

-- "I'm great. I'm awesome. How are you?"

--"I'm awesome... "


It's like a great american awesome-off.


Are you really awesome, all the time?


No one ever answers with:


-- "I am tired. I am exhausted.

I am mad at my husband.

My kids are a-holes.

My feet are killing me."


We don't usually answer with truthful responses because we don't want to be a "Debbie Downer" or a "negative Nelly". Understandably so.



This is why I suggest using SWAPS in professional conversations.

Instead of "How are you?"

ask "What made you laugh this weekend?".


At a networking event, instead of "How are you?"

I now ask "What are you working on?".


What a great time of year to ask the question. "What are you working on?"


We are ALL works in progress. Whether we announce it or not, we're all working on something. It doesn't always have to be serious. It can be something playful and light. For example, you're working on becoming a better gardener or drinking less soda. Sometimes though it can be something more significant. Like working on being more present for your family or working on leveling up your sales game.


Personally, I'm working on not saying "You Guys".


I say this ALL the time and in doing so am preventing an entire subset of humans from getting the attention they deserve!


Instead, I have been intentionally swapping out "You Guys" for:


-- "Hey Everyone"

-- "You Humans"

-- Or use the "You're" word instead of making a gender assumption.


It might be the midwesterner in me but "you guys" rolls off the tongue so easily :)


Why should we ask this though?


Asking this question helps you develop a deeper level of trust with someone.


People don't buy from people they like, people buy from people they trust.


When people trust you, you get to a deeper and more authentic level of the relationship. Vulnerability allows vulnerability. You can't go deeper into a relationship without asking real meaningful questions!


To unveil the authenticity of someone, I like to ask these two questions:

-- "What made you laugh today?"

-- "What are you working on?".



How are we treating our customers like people?


Are we saying "How are you?" and not listening to the answer? Or are we intentionally connecting with them, asking meaningful questions, and truly listening to the answers?

Using "What are you working on?" will get you there. I PROMISE.


So, as we end 2023 and kick off 2024 I double-dog dare you to do two things:


  1. Ask yourself and look inward: What is one thing you're working on? Are you willing to share this with people and make the world your accountability partners?


2. Ask others and look outward: What are you currently working on? Listen for the answer and let the info fuel a deeper relationship. Introduce that person to others who can help them achieve their goals. Be a cheerleader for them and lift them up in whatever they're working on!


We'll talk about the above and much more in a robust live coaching session on February 6th, 2024! Buy your tickets here today to Sales Tales Live! and get on the list to elevate your business game for 2023.




Mandi Graziano, a celebrated author honored with multiple awards for her work in Sales Tales, is a renowned group sales coach and serves as the Vice President of Global Accounts at HPN Global. With a talent for coaching 1:1 and teams alike, she orchestrates lively, interactive sessions that infuse joy, captivate audiences, and empower sales teams across the globe. To discover more about Mandi's expertise, connect with her on Instagram and LinkedIn.


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