These Are The Conversations That Build Your Business

Knowledge vs argumentsWhen was the last time you made a point of sitting down and talking to someone who has the polar opposite view from you? Do you think it would be a complete waste of your time?

I was visiting a college with my son the other day when this exact question came up.

You see, most college info sessions are all the same. They talk about how they encourage diversity, how their professors love to interact with the students, and how they take a holistic approach to applications (not just looking at grades and test scores).

I usually fall asleep within the first few minutes.

This one made us sit up and pay attention.


Firstly, the admissions officer did all the things that marketers tell you to do to build a relationship with your list.

  • Be personal – she told stories about both herself and real students
  • Don’t try to please everyone – she was very specific about who would and wouldn’t belong there
  • Ask questions to get interaction – she actually asked people more than the usual “where are you from”
  • Teach something – she talked about one class they have that explores how Disney movies affect the way we see other people and the world. (Hint: Think about the accents the different animals have in The Lion King)
  • Be different – she described a messy reality of the admissions process that was completely different from the Tina Fey movie.

But one of biggest unique value propositions she stated was this:

They believe that people with completely different viewpoints need to sit down together.

Such as,
* The conversation between the devout Catholic and the adamant atheist, or
* The conversation between the vegan and the hunter

For us as marketers or solo entrepreneurs, consider what you could get out of a conversation between..
* A content marketer and a paid traffic enthusiast
* A life coach and a business strategist
* A spiritual counselor and a project manager

….and especially between a business owner and his or her customers!

I was once told by the consulting firm I was working for that my biggest strength was my analytical ability. My biggest weakness was that I could always see the other person’s point of view.

Is that really a bad thing?

Sometimes. You have to make a decision and pick a course of action to move forward.

But, you still need to have the discussions with people with diverse views too.

The controversial conversations are the ones that can completely change the way you see your business or your market.

Or, they might just reassure you that the course you’ve chosen is the right way to go.

With list-building, those conversations will also help to make sure you have the right people on your list – the ones who want to hear what you have to say.

Either way, make sure you have those discussions in your business too.

What about you? Have you ever had a conversation with someone who had a completely different viewpoint from you?

How did it impact you?


  1. Sharon, I missed out on all this stuff by holding off to have kidders until I was sure we could afford them. That didn’t work out too well.

    Maternity aside, this is one brilliant takeaway from your experience. Thank you so much for sharing. 🙂

    • Hey Brenda,
      Not everyone would think they’re missing out on something by not having kids. That’s probably one of those “difficult” conversations. This visit was definitely a learning experience all around (and I’ll be working a looooong time to afford it!)
      – Sharyn

  2. Interesting post, Sharyn. But, I humbly disagree with the quotation you chose by Robert Quillen that: “A discussion is an exchange of knowledge, an argument an exchange of ignorance”. An argument by definition is a discussion involving different points of view. To say that someone who has a different point of view is “ignorant” and therefore their argument is invalid would be an ad hominem, a falacy known as a “personal attack” which is commonly used when the person who is losing the debate can’t come up with a reasonable argument and resorts to this as a way to silence the opponent (which could also be called ignorance). Mark Twain said, “Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.” Your post seems to be making the argument that it is good to have discussions between people who disagree. So, why lead with a quotation that disagrees with the argument you are trying to make? The sad thing, I think, is that when logic was taken out of the schools and removed as a requirement for most college degrees, it was predictable that it would come to where we are today: discussions between people who agree with each other and try to silence the opposition. Otherwise, as I think Mark Twain would say today: “Don’t get into discussions with fools”, because if they do not listen and are not open minded and interested in learning, what’s the point?

    • Hey Bill, glad that one got a rise out of you ;). It was meant to!

      I’d actually say that the difference between a discussion and an argument is that the anger that often arises in arguments can blind people to the viewpoints of the other person. So, rather than it being an exchange of knowledge, it just becomes a situation where one person is trying to force their views on the other. Neither one is necessarily a fool, but their emotions might make them seem that way.

      Oh, and there are some schools that still require logic or debate as part of the curriculum, but not many!

  3. Sharyn thank you that you day by day sharing great stuff great articles plus more always I go to your site for info ….for how even to build my site it is coming soon,
    the article above it is excellent
    Thank you

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