How Was Your Weekend?

The Monday Question

Every Monday morning I arrive to the office at 8:55 am. Every week I get a cup of latte from our amazing coffee machine. And every week as I place that cup on my desk and open my laptop, my American colleague (let’s call him Jack) asks me:

“So how was your weekend?”

Every week this question catches me off guard. For a couple of seconds I struggle to recall anything from Saturday and Sunday. When I finally do, I decide that none of it is particularly interesting anyway – and answer:

“Relaxing. How about yours?”

Jack knows better than that.

A Good Answer to Monday Question

Jack would say:

“Relaxing too. Actually, this weekend I made another stop on my tour around Czech castles! This time it was Písek, I think… I drove into its gardens despite the “No entry” sign, walked around for two hours and when I got back into my car, and tried to drive out from the gardens, I got lost.

Luckily, just in time when I thought I will have to call for someone to rescue me – and probably make me pay a terrible fine – I found another gate. That one was locked, however, so I had to break an old rusty chain to open it. Finally I was free to go back to Prague. Oh it was a relaxing weekend indeed!”

These Monday exchanges with Jack made me aware of two things – first of all that those expats are doing some crazy stuff here; and second that if someone would judge just by these exchanges, Jack would certainly come out as way more interesting conversation partner than me.

That was an unpleasant finding – since I’m spending quite many hours every week trying to improve my communication and storytelling skills in Toastmasters, all kinds of conferences and networking events.

I knew this needed to get fixed. Now.

It’s not what you think – I didn’t decide that I have to jump into my car and start terrorizing Czech castles (I’m not interested in castles – and I don’t have a car). I would try something else: Taking example from Winston Churchill, who according to his friend F. E. Smith “spent the best years of his life composing his impromptu speeches”, I would start getting prepared.

Why not take the best out of an opportunity that repeats every week? At the very least, maybe I can come up with some funny stories to get my colleagues laugh on Monday mornings!

How about you, would you like to give it a try? Hey, I know that preparing your answer for a simple conversational question sounds pretty geeky…

So what?

Weekend Highlight Routine

If you’re up for it – here’s the deal:

On Sunday evening, sit down with a piece of blank paper (or journal, Evernote, typewriter…) and a stopwatch. Then it’s just 5 easy steps :

  1. Write down everything that you remember from the weekend (1 minute)
  2. Pick 3 moments that have the biggest catchy-story potential (1 minute)
  3. Write down 3 very short stories (one for each selected moment – 3 x 2 minutes, that is 6 minutes in total)
  4. Pick the most catchy story (1 minute)
  5. Tell the story to whomever you may have around – dogs, cats and fish are fine too (1 minute)

Geeky, maybe – but chances are if you follow this, few people will have a better answer to the Monday question than you.

By the way – how was your weekend?

Featured image by Sjoerd Lammers, taken from Flickr, under Creative Commons license. Brightness & coloring of the image adjusted.

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