When someone asks you an innocuous question, especially when there is a stated time-critical need for a direct answer, never take it as an opportunity to philosophize, criticize or expound upon a better way in which they might be able to ask the question or to have it more efficiently answered. If you do, you will alienate the person who was relying upon you and trusting you to simply answer a question.
When a question is asked, the first job is to eliminate the "pain" by providing an answer. Only after you have done this should you gently suggest to the satisfied inquirer that, when and if he or she has the time, you might be able to 'share a better way' with them.
This is a matter of manners, showing respect, communication efficiency and strengthening trust and rapport.
There is an ancient Chinese proverb, which (loosely translated) says "If you give a man a fish, you have feed him for a day; but if you teach a man to fish, you have fed him for a lifetime." While I see the lasting benefits of an education, for the purpose of The Sending Signals Blog, I see it this way:
"If a man is dying of thirst, he doesn't need a lecture on digging wells or irrigation."
- Douglas E. Castle
First, satisfy his thirst. After that, you will find him to be more receptive to your lecture series.
An excessively pedantic, accusatory ("How come you forgot your canteen, soldier?") or "let me show you a new thing!" type of response is invariably hurtful to the questioner, and will harm your relationship.
Remember: First satisfy the immediate need. If you answer the question directly, pointedly and with proper utilitarian focus, you build a bridge with your counterpart instead of burning one. And because of you obvious demonstration of a willingness to help him or her, he or she will be much more receptive to your propensity to educate and expound afterward.
Please take some extra time to read some of the related articles at the very bottom of this post. Some of the them are merely good. Others are excellent.
As always, thank you for reading me, and for retweeting me!
p.s. Please have a look at some of the new blogs in our fleet:
The CrowdFunding Incubator Blog and The Crowd Funding RSS Feeds Blog