Written by: Allstate Hall of Fame Member, Bill Gough
There are two questions that can build stronger relationships with others in your office.
Question #1: How is life?
Notice how I didn’t say how are you doing, or what’s up? Those questions usually get you an answer such as “good” or “can’t complain”, and really doesn’t bring the conversation anywhere interesting.
From my personal experience, when I ask someone how life is, I usually get answers about their struggles in and out of work and a good sense of how work fits into their overall life. It helps start the conversation by getting to know more about that person outside of work which is what I strive for and what really builds strong relationships.
Question #2: Anything I can help with?
I try to end every conversation with this question. 90% of the time, the other person just says “no, not really” but is always grateful that I asked the question. The other 10% the person will say things such as “Actually, I have a question for you. Do you know anything about X or have you heard back from Y yet?”
It has really helped me become a better communicator for any project that I’m leading because I’m confident that I’m hearing all relevant information and can prevent surprises.
These two questions focus on servicing another person, and it’s a gesture that I believe isn’t made enough in business. By asking these two questions, I have been able to build better relationships with my clients and employees. Many people will open up and the relationship only gets stronger from there.