You've seen this scene play out a million times: you pick your kid up from school or the family is around the dinner table and you ask, "How was your day?" The unanimous answer: "Fine."
End of conversation.
Please stop asking people "How was your day?"
The questions is a terrible one not because it's repeated daily around the world to people who want to do anything but talk about their day. The question sucks because it doesn't give birth to a story.
Instead, ask a question that gets someone (a teenager, a spouse, a friend) to tell a story. Be specific and listen to what they say. You'll find communication will improve. Here are some ideas:
- "What made you laugh today?"
- "What happened today that was totally unexpected?"
- "Who did you see that made you happy?"
- "What did you enjoy doing the most today?"
Each of these questions gets someone to remember something specific, shifts their mind from the routine of saying "Fine" in order to recap an entire day, and gets them to talk about something positive.
We're all storytellers at heart. We just need something to prompt us to unleash the story within, the story we live so deeply.