When asked authentically, this three-syllable question creates connectedness, trust and understanding with anyone, even a person you have just met.
Why do connectedness, trust and understanding matter?
Because empathy is an essential ingredient in the process of designing solutions for people.
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others.
How can we understand how others are feeling unless we ask?
Asking the question unlocks the potential to observe problems that would otherwise go unobserved. This is a gold mine of understanding for solutions designers.
"How's Your Day?"
So, I routinely ask this question of people because:
We exist in a world characterized by disconnectedness and distrust.
Consequently, introducing a countercultural question produces a measurable shift in the environment and it builds trust and connectedness.
One of my favorite contexts to ask the question is while getting things done on the phone, standing in line or chatting online.
Try It and See
Understanding how people in the world are feeling is easy. Just ask them. They'll tell you. Listen to them and learn what problems they are experiencing. It will inform your design decisions.
When the woman you are talking with senses that you care enough about her to ask how her day is going, it breathes fresh life into the conversation, even if she is having a bad day. Somehow when you care enough to ask, it reaffirms her humanity and causes her to reflect on how she's feeling.
If we, as solutions designers, practice this kind of authentic caring, listening and learning on an ongoing basis, we tap into a limitless supply of priceless insight for free by simply exercising a common courtesy towards another person.
Your empathy for people and willingness to go there immensely affects your solution design.
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I help organizations design solutions collaboratively using agile design methods, user experience and survey methods leveraging my real-world experience in survey software design and development, enterprise architecture, business analysis, Pragmatic Marketing and playing drums in ensembles.
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