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Better Greetings (for Optimists)

by Victor Perton

Use positive language to foster the positive change you think we need. Be optimistic.

You can develop a more optimistic attitude and manner by practising positive speech and actions every day and all day. 


Ask a Better Question: "What's the best thing happening for you?"

How to raise the optimism around you? One way?  Ask better questions.

In Australia, as in France and many other countries, on meeting or passing someone, people routinely ask a question, “How are you?”

The answer, more often than not, is the double negative “not too bad.”

Usually, it’s ignored. The conversation moves on, or the people walk past each other without exchanging another question.

Think about what you ask people when you greet them. 

Think about the answer you use.

Experiment: Next time you are in a position to interact with someone with a greeting, why don’t you try replacing “How are you” with “What’s the best thing happening for you?” or whatever similar question feels natural.

If that works well, why not try it for a week?

A Better Answer: “Thank you for asking, life’s good, and I am working on a very interesting….”

Experiment:  If someone asks you, “How are you?”, pause… and respond with something like “Thank you for asking, life’s good, and I am working on a very interesting….” Try this for one week.

I am willing to bet that an answer like that will cause them to pause and ask you an excellent question as a follow-up creating better engagement and, perhaps, making a new ally or friend.

Recently I shared this advice with a group of students at the University of Melbourne.‪ One of the students kindly messaged me with “With mum, I asked her what the best thing was to happen to her today, and she absolutely loved it. Has been a very refreshing technique to use indeed. She has taken it back to (the) Law School, where she works and is finding it quite powerful to stimulate more meaningful conversations with her colleagues.”

Try these changes in language for a week, and I would be delighted if you let me know how it goes.

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