By Nancy Friedman, Keynote/Workshop Customer Service Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training


Oh, I suppose there are dozens, or even more of them, but our surveys have shown that these four words in starting a conversation have the ability to ‘kill’ the conversation.


Looks harmless, right? Yet it’s been labeled “social noise.” Especially to those we don’t know at all, haven’t met, and may never see again. USELESS!

There are dozens of other ways to open and start a conversation in person or on the phone. A few to give you to start are:

* Nice to hear your voice.

* Good to meet you.

* Glad to talk with you.

* Good to see you.

* Thanks for taking my call.

* You’re looking great.

* Glad to make your acquaintance.

* You sound/look chipper.

* And on and on and on.

“Hi how are you” can reduce effectiveness, especially on a first-time call or first-time meeting. Plus, you risk surrendering control of the conversation at a critically early stage.

You pass someone in the hall, on the street, wherever; it usually goes like this:

“Hi, how are you?” “Fine, how are you?” “Fine.” Done. Over. Nothing. Nada. USELESS!

Use a more original, caring comment. You’ll see a big difference.

Nancy Friedman

Nancy Friedman

Communication and customer service expert Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor, founder and chairman of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training, is back in the saddle again. Well, back into live onsite programs, and still offering her ZOOM programs, in a cost saving manner. Whichever you choose, onsite or Zoom, you’ll be glad you did. The reviews are excellent, and audiences have loudly applauded her in either area. Sales, customer service and communication skills are her area of expertise, and she welcomes calls, texts, or emails. You can reach her directly at; through the website at, where you can sign up for her newsletters; or call/text directly at 314-276-1012 central time. Bring it on. Whether you need a keynote speaker or workshop/breakout speaker on customer service and communication skills, you’ll make a great choice.