Immediately you know that the caller does not give a fig about how you are.
Usually, though, I say: “Fine. What are you selling?”
I do this on the off chance they are selling something I’m in the market for. Otherwise, why are they wasting time pretending to care? The caller may gasp, as if “selling” were a dirty word, solemnly insisting that “no” this call is not about sales but a chance to save a child, an endangered species, or money on my cell phone bill, or to maximize my investments, sales, home value, or mileage.
Another giveaway is name-mangling. If you are my friend, or even an online acquaintance, you know that I go by Barb, not Barbara. My last name, Sawyers, should not be difficult for anyone who read, or heard of, Mark Twain’s classic “Tom Sawyer.” Sadly, it is. In the rest of the world, where many of these calls originate, this unfamiliar name inspires “Swayer” and similar fumbles. Please, get it right or don’t say my name.
Don’t say my name