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Controversy without Contentiousness

It goes beyond agreeing to disagree, there's a way to deliver and receive contrary points of views in a manner that actually enhances your business, community or processes.

My family photos photographer credit: Trish Werth, The Best Of Me Photography

"The difference between a civil debate and an irritating argument is

the willingness to accept an opposing view, even if you don't agree." - Renee Ventrice


We can argue all day about whether or not you agree with my statement above- if fact, I encourage it! Who hasn't learned more from those around them who disagree with them than from those who always agree without question?

In a wonderful conversation with John Hewitt, founder of Loyalty Brands, he stated "If we both agree on everything, then one of us is useless." I couldn't agree more! The value in hearing opposing views is further enhanced by evaluating them from a new perspective. It doesn't mean you ultimately agree- but it DOES mean that you can make a determination based on more information than you started with. Two tips to give AND receive with grace...


GIVE: It's easier for some of us to share controversial opinions than others. When you are comfortable with debating, presenting counterpoints and speaking up- you can sometimes come off as an antagonist instead of an ally. Yes, I'm talking to ME.

Present your opinion without an emotional attachment, and with the end goal as the focus. You may need to rework how you present it a few times, people like us tend to just blurt it out and wait for a standing ovation for brilliance. Believe it or not- we MIGHT not have all the answers, and there MIGHT be information we were missing that could adjust our point of view.

RECEIVE: Differing opinions are not- when well presented- necessarily a knock on what currently exists. I used to struggle with anyone submitting ideas that could improve on my own, until I realized that everyone has blind spots that someone else can see.

Look at me on the far left- I can't believe everyone hasn't jumped on the bandwagon with my amaazzzzing idea! Look at my sister, second from the left. She KNOWS I'm talking crazy and not afraid to show her opinion on her face. Now look at my sister, on the far right. She's listening and processing my concerns, not just waiting for her turn to speak her piece. When she responds, it will be thoughtful, validated my own concerns, and wise. She's SOOO annoying... but dammit- she's right.

Once I embraced how much I could learn someone with an outside perspective, I became a much stronger leader, teammate and sibling. It wasn't easy- being number five out of six kids, sometime you had to assert yourself BIGLY to be heard or get what you wanted.

But when my response was one that removed all ego and emotion, and calmly targeted the issue at hand, it brought me and the other party closer to a solution, instead of dug in as adversaries.


GIVE: Seriously- what is it? Do you want to change minds? Win an argument? Improve a process? Or are you just spoiling for a fight? Look at my brothers- the one on the left just wants everyone to shut up! The one on the right is deciding "Do I want Pizza or Chinese for dinner...?" Everyone doesn't need or want to hear your opinion- so consider the audience and outcome.

Determine the outcome you desire, and it'll shape how and with whom you deliver your opposing view. Whether you are debating a social media post, disagreeing with a sibling, or submitting a proposal for a process improvement- think it through twice before blasting off. If you're creating controversy just for the sake of being controversial, maybe it's not worth saying at all.

RECEIVE: Before pulling off your earrings and preparing for battle over what's been said- PAUSE. Why is this person disagreeing with you? In there any merit in their point of view? Is it worth a response? Regardless, consider how to respond in a positive way, even if it doesn't end with an agreement.

Look at my Mom- she's ready to knock us into next week if we don't stop bickering! Now look at my baby sister- you can tell which one she is because she's staying out of it and remaining the cute, quiet favorite... whatEVER. Look at my Daddyo. He's just letting it play out and sending my brother telepathic signals to pick Chinese.


I said something controversial recently, ok I've said and written MULTIPLE controversial things recently... When others disagreed, I went right into defensive mode instead of taking their perspective into account when I responded, and acknowledging potential value in their viewpoint.

If I turned back time, I STILL would have said what I said, but I would have been more open to responses that were other than "You're SO RIGHT, Renee!" I missed opportunities to be part of a solution, not just sounding an alarm.

PRO Tip: EMBRACE controversy as an opportunity to learn about yourself, understand how others communicate, and how differing opinions can improve the current state when both are open to elevated communication. The result? HARMONY!


Renee Don and Gino Ventrice on the Amalfi Coast works with franchise owners, tourism professionals and business owners who are ready to invest in leveraging relationships to become a local favorite through increased foot traffic, repeat and referral business, and being valued as a staple in the community. She is a successful entrepreneur who built and sold an award winning tour company. Renee also built a department of a local company to seven figure success leading to franchising, and served on their

Franchisor Team as the VP of Marketing.

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