I checked out a business development group and part of their meeting is to open the floor for anyone that would like input on a business issue. A person asked, “How do you increase the likelihood of someone attending an event that they RSVP’d for?” The head of the group started on a rant about that’s not important. If you want more people you invite more. You need to know your conversion rate. There is no way to change the conversion rate and so on and so on.
Several minutes into this rant a person at the table said, “I found a method that increased my conversion rate.” She continued, “After they say they will attend I ask them ‘Have you had people not show up to something they had promised to attend? What was your opinion of them after that?’” I thought that was a brilliant tactic and a few others nodded their heads in agreement. The head of the group immediately started back into his rant for several more minutes.
I’m sure you can find many faults with this scenario but let’s focus on the social skills faux pas. By not asking a follow-up question to encourage input you have just told them their information is not important. You have figuratively steamrolled their ideas and them into the ground. Most people will overlook this the first time or two. If this steamrolling happens on a regular basis you will loose a valuable asset because the person will stop trying to contribute, and others in the group might prefer to keep silent after witnessing such a steamrolling.
I’m sure the head of the group did not mean to dismiss the idea so completely. I believe he truly wanted to help the person with the problem, but by being so focused on his point he caused damage to several people. His repeated comments about knowing your numbers and working them took up all the time so no one else could ask questions. Always keep thinking about how to make others better and you will get better.