When greeting others, ditch the ‘unpleasant pleasantries’

Whether speaking to a group or chatting with co-workers, stop opening with, “How are you?” and ask, “What’s your latest news?” instead.

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Many people will start their speeches by saying things such as, “Good morning, thank you for having me here,” “It is an honor to be here,” “What a privilege to be in the company of so many fabulous people,” “It is a lovely day here in sunny California,” blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. People hear these types of openings all the time.

When you begin a speech in one of these extremely common ways, people do not tune in—at least not right away. Instead of grabbing their attention, you are saying to them, “This is just another typical speech, we’re just warming up, it’s not time to start listening yet.” And they go ahead and check their phones one last time or finish the conversation with their neighbor.

The biggest problem with “unpleasant pleasantries” is that they are everywhere. Not just at the beginning of presentations. Many everyday personal and professional conversational exchanges are filled with “unpleasant pleasantries” and they do nothing to establish connections, build rapport, build trust, show concern, exchange information, solve problems, or generate growth and improvement.

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