"How Are You - Really?"

Question: Have you ever said or heard, “How are you” when you make or receive a phone call?

Answer: I recently had a conversation with one of our readers who happens to be a sales professional for a major corporation. We were discussing initial telephone conversation with people that she hadn’t done business with in the past. In other words, a cold call. I asked her to role play with me right on the spot and the conversation began like this:

Hello George, this is “Mary” from the XYZ Corporation. How are you today? My immediate response was to tell her what I’ve told many other sales people I have trained and the dialog usually goes something like this;

“….well my back is bothering me today, and my legs are in severe pain. My left shoulder which is the side I use my cane seems to really be taking a beating of late and I’m certain my bowels are backed up as well. I thank you for asking and how are you?” I’ve actually used this on high pressure sales people when they get me on the phone and ask, “How are you?” Mainly because they don’t know and I firmly believe they could care less how I am. And it’s a fabulous way of throwing them off their game. So why do so many of use that phrase in each and almost EVERY phone we make or receive?

Possibly to soften the approach or pretend we really care? Recipients’ of our phone calls have become case hardened to these insincere emotional approaches. It goes back to business as usual which isn’t working well. It goes back to the fact that we are creatures of habit and tend to take the path of least resistance instead of reinventing ourselves.

So here is my advice, aka the Mancusoism of the week and I know that it’s worth what you paid for it UNLESS it works for you, then you can classify it as priceless! When YOU make a phone call such as this, the recipient gets an immediate picture of you from your demeanor. So if you have ONLY one chance to make that first impression, why not speak;
a. with authority
b. professionally
c. determined not overbearing
d. with a determination to get down to business
e. slow enough for the listener to understand you
f. clearly
g. lay out the course of the call within the first 25 – 30 words
h. AND end those words with a question that requires more than a yes or no answer.

Can it be done? Of course but only if YOU invest a few minutes in yourself and write down the opening script, practice it and play the devil’s advocate with yourself by defining various answers you might receive and be prepared to continue the professional mode WITHOUT overwhelming the listener or trying to feed them too much information too fast.

Once you establish a relationship, and you find yourself really caring about the other person, by all means ask them, “How are you?”

As always, please accept my wishes for a tremendous week. And don’t forget your opinions, comments or questions are always welcome. If I can be of any assistance to you, please call or write and I will respond immediately!

George F. Mancuso
Gman Business Resources
Grinnell, Iowa


April 18, 2010

Q: I know you have spoken to this before but I’m still real conflicted in trying to grow myself into what I call a “management success.” Any general additional thoughts you can share at this time? (Alfred D., President – Internet Service Co., Fort Lauderdale, FL)

A: To be an effective manager, you must pay attention to the multiple levels of management, your leadership role and growth within organization. It's a bit difficult to arbitrarily build a "management success" model and say that the following five items are the most important for a manager to achieve success. I will, however, take this opportunity to suggest a few management success skills, for which I believe you should have, embrace and/or learn, to be a successful manager.

I’ve said this many times in the past, but an outstanding manager is one that is a true leader with whom people are willing to associate themselves and follow you into the battle of the business world. EVERY action you take during your career within an organization helps determine whether people will one day want to follow you.

In addition consider the following suggestions:

• Foster and build interpersonal relationships that create trust, respect and collaboration.
• Be totally in tuned to communicate effectively in person, print and email.
• Listening and two-way feedback characterize your interaction with others.
• Build a team that enables other team members to collaborate more effectively with each other. People feel they have become more effective, more creative, and more productive, in the presence of a team builder.
• Create an environment in which people experience uplifting or positive morale and recognition so that employees are motivated to work hard for the success of the business.
• Provide recognition to “all” when others demonstrate their leadership skills as well.
• Think about this… “You have the power to make their day or break their day.” Your choice. No kidding.
• You as a manager or supervisor have a tremendous impact on an employee’s motivation by your words, your body language, and the expression on your face. Because as a manager, supervisor, or leader, you telegraph your opinion of THEIR value to the people you employ.
• And finally, your entrance into the work place every day will set the tone. Again the choice is yours….grumpy, happy, business like, caring, leader or a dictator. Which sounds best to you?

Thank you for your readership and as always your comments or questions are always welcome. If you like what you read here, please pass on the link for your friends or colleagues to receive a copy of The Desk of Gman as well. Have a tremendous week.


George F. Mancuso, CPC
Gman Business Resources
Grinnell, IA