read it here before you continue!)
Your flavored answers must have a mixture of the right ingredients. Here now are seven characteristics that will lay a foundation from which you can create your own flavor. Read these, and soon you will be turning water into lemonade with only a few words!
MAKE YOUR ANSWER…original. Become known for the way you answer mundane questions with something unique and creative. When I saw George Carlin in concert, he told the audience this: ‘I hate answering the same stupid, mundane questions in the same, stupid way. So I’ve decided that every month, I will use a new adjective just to keep my answers fresh. This month, it’s ubiquitous.’
MAKE YOUR ANSWER…a personification of your attitude. People can learn a great deal about your attitudes and values simply by the way you reply to ‘How are you doing?’ What’s more, flavored answers to fruitless questions are self-fulfilling prophecies: tell someone you’re ‘On top of the world,’ and you just might find yourself there.
MAKE YOUR ANSWER…surprising. Say something completely unexpected. Say the exact opposite of what the person expects to hear. Several years ago I was wearing a Michigan Football hat the day after Ohio State demolished them 49-10. A man wearing an Ohio jersey approached me, rudely got in my face and with utter arrogance said, ‘Hey man – did you see the Ohio State/Michigan game last night?!’
‘No, I don’t like sports.’
He was silenced. Dumfounded. A complete a loss for words! I smiled back and he ended up changing the subject after which we had a friendly conversation.
MAKE YOUR ANSWER…appealing. Use your smile, tone of voice and even touch to activate and enliven the senses. This combination of words and actions will make your answers almost seem three dimensional! My friend Samantha once suggested the idea of having ‘National High Five Day’ in order to make conversations more fun! Now that would add some flavor to the fruitless!
MAKE YOUR ANSWER…memorable. Discover words that differentiate you. Millions of conversations take place every minute. So, what can you say that resonates in someone’s heart that they haven’t already heard 20 times today? I’ll never forget the time I asked an elderly man, ‘How are you?’ to which he replied, ‘I’m old, I’m Italian, and I’m rich!’
MAKE YOUR ANSWER…honest and open. People are afraid to disclose the way they really feel in response to mundane, ritual questions because: there’s little time to do so, revealing emotions doesn’t seem worth it, or ‘fine’ is just the first word that comes out of their mouths. This isn’t conducive to much reciprocation or flow in your conversation.
But have you ever gone out of your way to truly answer openly and honestly? Here’s an example that demonstrates the reciprocal nature of self-disclosure.
A few months ago I was working the lobby door at the Ritz Carlton when my eyelids just about closed on me. I was exhausted from working all day. As a guest rapidly approached the hotel I greeted him with, ‘Welcome in sir, how are you this evening?’
‘Fine, how are you?’ he quickly replied.
He almost flew right past me, but the moment that word came out of my mouth he stopped in his tracks! He looked back with a tilted-head smile and said, ‘Yeah… I guess I’m kinda tired too. I had a long day of meetings and I just want to get some sleep.’
That’s odd…I thought he was ‘fine.’
Now let’s move on to Part 3 of this article, in which you read some of my favorite flavored answers.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Who’s got the best “flavored answer” you’ve ever heard?