It’s definitely not “business as usual” these days. Under the circumstances, you may feel disoriented, foggy, overwhelmed, numb, stuck, or just not knowing what to say to someone. And yet your business life continues, you want to connect, you need to do your job, and you care about the people you work with.

Before discussing vulnerable or potentially stressful or contentious business topics, strive to make an authentic connection. Ask one or more meaningful questions. These suggested questions are most effective when accompanied by an open, grounded, positive and abundant attitude. Each question is followed by an intent that you can be mindful of without explicitly sharing.

  1. How are you feeling? Intent: I want to hear what emotion you are experiencing and especially what worries you the most. I know that expressing those emotions helps move them through your mind and body more quickly.
  2. What immediate actions are you taking or do you need to take now? Intent: I want to hear that you are taking action to mitigate risk and long-term damage.
  3. How can I support you? Intent: I see you as a smart, strong and resourceful person who doesn’t need to be fixed and, where I can and where you want to be helped, I want to be helpful.
  4. What are you most grateful for right now? Intent: I don’t want you to lose sight of what’s working, I want you to use positivity to broaden your vision and build on useful ideas.
  5. When you picture things five years from now what do you see are positive possible outcomes from the pandemic? Intent: I want you to hold a vision for yourself and the world and benefit from the breakdowns than turn into breakthroughs.

The trick in all this is to avoid fixing, advising, rescuing or problem solving without an explicit request to do so. Listening just may be the more valuable gift you can give someone right now.