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To Make A Real Connection, Asking ‘How Are You?’ Doesn’t Work: Here’s What Does

A new study finds that initiating a conversation with “How are you?” might be a customary practice, but it doesn’t foster substantial connections.

The Harvard study suggests that to truly connect with someone, it is better to ask open-ended follow-up questions that invite more thoughtful responses.

The research, which involved analyzing over 300 online dialogues, revealed that steering clear of the habitual “How are you?” and “What do you do?” and opting for more engaging follow-up questions could enhance likability between the individuals involved in the conversation, CNBC reports.

The researchers noted, “When people are instructed to ask more questions, they are perceived as higher in responsiveness, an interpersonal construct that captures listening, understanding, validation, and care.”

To evolve from a person struggling with small talk to someone who is charismatic and engaging, it is crucial to initiate the conversation with a question that adheres to the A.C.T criteria: Authenticity, Connection, and a Topic that provides a snapshot of your personality.

Here are some examples of questions that can foster a substantial conversation:

  • “What’s your current state of mind?”
  • “What are you looking forward to this week?”
  • “You remind me of a celebrity, but I can’t pinpoint which one — who do you relate to?

Also Read: Wealthy Wisdom: 6 Self-Made Millionaires Discuss Common Mistakes, How To Avoid Them

Moreover, it is recommended to avoid overused topics such as weather, sports, and traffic, which are frequently utilized as conversation starters but rarely lead to meaningful discussions.

Instead, one should focus on more personal and significant subjects. Observing and commenting on something distinctive in your surroundings can also be a fruitful way to kick-start a conversation.

Sharing personal anecdotes or encouraging others to share recent interesting events from their lives can create a more personal and genuine bond. It is vital to remain truthful and not concoct stories to maintain a genuine flow of conversation during follow-up discussions.

Engaging promptly in discussions, be it in person or over a conference call, can prevent you from losing the chance to share your insights. Non-verbal cues such as facial expressions and eye contact are pivotal in conveying your message effectively.

For individuals who find casual conversations challenging, it is essential to make an effort to communicate, even in minor moments before a meeting or in an elevator.

It is important to remember that everyone feels apprehensive at times; the key is to take a deep breath and initiate a conversation, fostering connections through small yet substantial exchanges.

Now Read: Workplace Wisdom: Lessons In Happiness From A 90-Year-Old With A 74-Year Career At Dillard’s

This story is part of a series of features on the subject of success, Benzinga Inspire.

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This content was partially produced with the help of AI tools and was reviewed and published by Benzinga editors.

Photo: Unsplash

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