Negotiation and sales experts say that the one who asks the questions and listens is the one who carries the weight of the conversation. I agree.
The largest HVAC installation I remember designing had about three megabytes of installed power, delivered by large air conditioners like buses. It was to condition the interior of a large storage of finished product, which had to be kept in specific conditions of humidity and temperature.
The installer, who regularly did small jobs in the plant, had never done such a large installation. He was heartbroken, or something like that. We knew each other from some courses that I had taught in his area; He asked me to help him with the design and calculations.
The installer sold to the company that had hired an engineer to develop the solution, when we had a rough draft, the maintenance manager called us to explain his conditions. What a pint!
The guy appeared in work clothes, dirty from head to toe, as if he had come out of a boiler. It was a version of Paco Martinez Soria as a young man; energetic, folksy (but without the elephant-killing part) and very foul-mouthed He went on for 10 minutes in an insubstantial chatter beaded with all kinds of curse words. He did not enter the subject.
After the spiel he was silent, watching the hyena follow the wounded wildebeest.
If it had been an episode of Dragon Z the stones would have revolved around us.
I am one of the people who is not bothered by silence. Not everyone is comfortable in silence.
The installer was forced to speak, and began to lay out the solution. I remained expectant; the maintenance manager looked at me and asked what make of automata we were going to use. I answered him, he said no and he indicated another brand, justifying his answer in a polite way.
It started as a kind of tennis match, where we served and he remained at the level of Djokovic.
He spoke little, and at the same time, he decided and carried the weight of the conversation.
It made a deep impression on me. What he did in that meeting was a master lesson. He was a serious and direct man, but personable and polite. In the course of the work, we learned from him that he was born in a nearby village, that he lived in the village, and that the factory was his home.
He did not give us information about his studies or experience; But I was very curious about his vast knowledge, his ability to anticipate problems and, above all, his ability to correct others through a methodical dialogue that made them fall into their mistakes without feeling aggrieved, and that he himself spoke less than he did. interlocutor.
So, I did my research. Nobody in the plant had certain references, it was known that he was an industrial technical engineer and from there rumors, that he had three degrees, that he had studied in the United States, and that he had done a postgraduate degree at MIT. I never asked him.
That work taught me the importance of active listening, that it is possible to carry the weight of a conversation by being the one who speaks the least, and above all that appearances can be deceiving, and that when we interact with strangers, caution should prevail about presuming a certain level of knowledge by appearance. It also showed me how long it takes to purge some open circuits, but we leave that for another day …
Boiler room ventilation
If you have reached this point you may be wondering why the matter speaks of Boiler Room Ventilation.
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