You have permission to ask the second question. What do I mean by that? What is the second question? It’s the follow-up. “Hi, how are you?”
“Great. How are you?”
Without the second question, the conversation is over. But as the group's leader, you're invited to continue the conversation by asking another question. Be the kind of leader who is interested in others beyond the surface-level pleasantries. More times than not, when you ask a second question, people start getting real.
When you ask someone how he or she is doing and you a get-one word responses like, “fine,” “good,” or “okay,” show your group member you care and are genuinely interested in knowing what’s going on in his or her life by asking specific questions. You can even ask a group member what "fine," "good," or "okay" looks like.
People generally want to talk in more detail about how they’re doing, but they need to know the person on the other end of the conversation is safe. They need a little encouragement. They need to feel confident that, if they get more personal, what they say will be well received. You're in a special position. You're the group's leader. You have an opportunity to lead your members in healthy, safe communication by asking the second question.