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

Nancy Friedman, customer service keynote speaker, is founder and chairman of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training and a featured speaker at franchise, association, and corporate meetings around the world. A popular TV guest, she appeared on Oprah, The Today Show, CNN, FOX News, Good Morning America and CBS This Morning, as well as hundreds of other radio, television and print outlets around the world, including the Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. The author of 9 books on her chosen topics, Nancy helps corporate America improve their communications with their customers & co-workers.