dev·il’s advocate (dvlz)
1. One who argues against a cause or position, not as a committed opponent but simply for the sake of argument or to determine the validity of the cause or position.
I was at an event hosted by a fantastic group of positive people the other night. There were lots of business owners packed in to the venue to discuss big ideas, how to connect with customers, how to represent themselves and their businesses better, etc… The time was specifically designed to talk about concepts, not necessarily the execution of said concepts.
But in every crowd there’s always a skeptic, right? Well, there was in this one.
It was a bit deflating for a few moments as the gentleman interrupted the speaker, inserted himself into the presentation, and among other things said he was “looking for something more realistic than all this speculation”. He was quite snarky and made his disapproval was apparent to all. Really??
Discussion from multiple points of view is a good thing and powerful for everyone. BUT I propose that in some settings the Devil’s Advocate should be left out. Business professionals who network, go to seminars and read good books are certainly faced with plenty of opposing viewpoints already, so it would be great if there were at least a few times and places where the skeptic, the negative guy, the Devil’s Advocate were shut out.