“How’s everything?”

What kind of question is that?

Well, it’s the kind of question I bet you get asked very often. It certainly is for me.

The quandary is how to answer it.

Do the people who ask really want to know or does the nature of that question simply beg a one-word answer that allows them to be polite yet ultimately disinterested. How is it possible to lump “everything” in our lives into a simple answer? “Good” or “great” is likely the quick response they’re looking for, yet how can it possibly be accurate? We all have SO many things going on in our lives—from business to finance to health to family, friends and more. It’s much more likely we would have a different answer for each of those categories. Maybe our kids are good; yet another family member has a health challenge. Maybe our customers are loving our work; yet our server just froze the phone system. Maybe our significant others just received a promotion; yet we are still anxious about ours.

The long and short of it is there is no fast, easy answer to “How’s everything?”…which makes the question a dead bore, or simply a polite yet uncaring greeting. Perhaps a more caring question would take a small bite out of someone’s life Instead. How’s your remodel coming along? How’s your son doing in college? Working on any meaningful projects at the office these days? How’s your health? Choose any one of these topics that shows you care and begs a meaningful response and let ‘er fly.

We’ve learned over the years that asking clients how their marketing/communications plans are coming along is much like the “How’s everything” question. Our clients may be doing well with social media, yet barely communicate with employees. They may have just developed a new trade show booth, yet display dated branding. Or they may have developed a new website, yet have no plan to continue refreshing it with engaging content.

A great communications plan has many tools that all need to be at the top of their game, and play off each other. A simple question that lumps it all into one pot does not beg an accurate answer.

Your DDCC team’s best approach is to plan a roadmap with all the elements of internal and external communications. Sometimes budget necessitates we execute them one bite at a time. Still, we know how they will all fit together and capitalize on economies of scale in the long run. A social media post is often a great web update; new branding is needed on all communications tools; and employee communications are good intranet refreshers. No matter which of the tools we tackle first—or whether we tackle them all together—they are a work in progress to achieve excellence in the category of “everything.” They may be at various stages of excellence along the journey, and certainly can’t be addressed with a one-word question; or a one-word answer.

The next time someone asks you those crazy questions of “How’s everything?” or “How’s your marketing/communications?” you may want to respond with this: “Some things are in great shape and others are in need of some help.” Then reach out to us at DDCC for all the help you need…either with the big picture or one small bite at a time. We know it’s a journey to excellence, not a destination. And we’re here for the long haul…to make good things happen every step of the way.