"You're wrong. You're dead wrong, and I'll tell you why."
That statement, and a few others that came after it, may have caused the loss of several million dollars worth of business for a company I was employed with many years ago.
The person on the receiving end was a high-ranking civilian technical expert working for the U.S. Department of Defense. The person on the delivering end was an associate of mine, Jack (not his real name), a young man with considerable technical knowledge but few discernible social skills.
He and I were meeting with the government expert for the first time. Our mission was to begin building a relationship that would enable us to acquaint him and his colleagues with our technical capabilities as a firm, and by that ...