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10 Tips to Advise Wisely: How to Give Advice That Actually Helps

Advise with permission

If you feel the need to offer unsolicited advice, ask them, “Do you want some ideas to improve the situation?” 

This way they have the option to say no, and they’ll likely give you more attention when they’ve agreed to take your help.

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10 Tips to Advise Wisely: How to Give Advice That Actually Helps

10 Tips to Advise Wisely: How to Give Advice That Actually Helps

https://tinybuddha.com/blog/10-tips-advise-wisely-how-to-give-advice-that-actually-helps/

tinybuddha.com

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Key Ideas

Give them a rant window

The best way to be a friend is to allow them to tell the story repeatedly. Then they need to work through it and let it go. 

Tell them you’re there to listen to everything they need to say. Once they’ve gotten all out, you’d love to help them move on.

Be honest

If you don’t know how someone feels, let them know that you haven’t been there before, but you’ll try to put yourself in their shoes to help as best you can.

Also, don’t be afraid to let them know you don’t have anything to say. You can still be an ear, take some time to think about it, and then share your thoughts later.

Avoid judging

When someone comes to you for help, they’re trusting you to hear them out without being judgmental or condescending.

Focus on what they can do or change right now. Try something like, “It might help to consider….” 

Make it a collaboration

It can feel gratifying to figure out what seems like the answer and then deliver it in a sermon. 

It can come off as superiority. Instead, try, “I don’t have all the answers, but I’d love to help you figure out what’s right for you.” Whenever you’ve talked for a few minutes, bring it back to them. “What are your thoughts about that?”

Offer long-term support

Your friend doesn’t just want tips to switch careers; she wants support in making a scary but positive change.

It doesn’t matter so much that you have all the answers. More often than not, people know what’s right for them; they just want to feel validated and supported.

Don’t make promises

Even if you’ve been there before, you can’t guarantee any specific outcome. Your friend could approach her boss exactly like you did for a raise and end up being demoted—at which point she might blame you.

Keep expectations realistic by focusing on possibilities within the realm of uncertainty. Weigh the possible outcomes, both positive and negative.

Recommend a read

When you make the proactive decision to find answers for yourself, you feel both empowered and confident in your ability to make the right decision. 

You can help your friend feel that way by pointing him in the direction of a few books that will help him help himself. Start by saying, “I came across something that might help put things in perspective…

Say it from the heart

Be there with kindness instead of words. This is a good approach if you’ve already offered advice on the problem, and realize not much you say will help.

Leave a hand-written “thinking of you” card in that person’s mailbox or mail them a package with some sweet treats and light reads.

Make plans

Plan a fun weekend getaway or day trip with your friend. Set the date in stone and make an unforgettable memory. People often find answers for themselves when they get away, let themselves relax, and clear their head for a while.

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Focus on collaboration

To get someone to act on your advice, it’s going to mean giving up at least some of the credit for it. 

When the person receiving your advice feels like they had a hand in creating it—with guidance from you, the expert, of course—they’re far more likely to act on it.

Show your work

In this case, you’re showing your work because it instills trust, and trust is critical for acceptance. 

When you show you work, the person you’re advising doesn’t have to take your recommendations on blind faith. They can see exactly how you got to your advice and buy into it along the way.

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  • Empathy: the skill and practice of reading the emotions of others and responding appropriately.
  • Social skills: this can include finding common ground with others, managing others in a work environment and being persuasive.
Improving self-awareness
  • Keep a journal of your emotions. At the end of every day, write down what happened to you, how you felt, and how you dealt with it. 
  • Ask for input from people who know you well about where your strengths and weaknesses lie, to gauge your perception from another’s point of view.
  • Slow down (or meditate). The next time you have an emotional reaction to something, try to pause before you react.

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When someone mentions a problem, it most likely isn’t the core problem but only an outward symptom.

Even if by some miracle one is able to find out the real problem, it does not mean that the advice doled out will be useful or will be implemented.

Ignorance And Superficial Knowledge

Most people are ignorant of their ignorance and live in a self-created bubble of superficial knowledge, which they believe is the only true knowledge there is, due to a cognitive bias known as the Dunning-Kruger effect.

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