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5 Steps to Giving Advice People Will Actually Want to Take

Read the Room

  • Determine whether the person you’re talking to is open to receiving your advice. Is she literally asking for it? 
  • If there’s no concrete question, assess her body language. Is she leaning into your conversation, does she seem engaged, eager to hear what you have to say? 

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5 Steps to Giving Advice People Will Actually Want to Take

5 Steps to Giving Advice People Will Actually Want to Take

https://www.themuse.com/advice/5-steps-to-giving-advice-people-will-actually-want-to-take

themuse.com

5

Key Ideas

Deliver it for the Right Reason

Providing truly useful advice starts by coming from a selfless place. If you have ulterior motives, stop while you’re ahead. 

Keep it real. Using real-life experience versus anecdotes or third-party tips can make your advice that much stronger.

Read the Room

  • Determine whether the person you’re talking to is open to receiving your advice. Is she literally asking for it? 
  • If there’s no concrete question, assess her body language. Is she leaning into your conversation, does she seem engaged, eager to hear what you have to say? 

Understand Your Target

Establish if the person in need of advice would prefer anecdotes, personal stories, short takeaways, specific examples, or fuller context. 
Also, acknowledge the state of mind she or he is in—crisis mode or planning mode? 

Keep it Brief

Simply give the topline takeaway first. If the person wants more or would like you to elaborate on what you’re saying, she’ll ask. If she doesn’t, you’ll get a thank you, after which both of you can move on.

Know Your Expertise

Don’t give advice if you don’t really know what you’re talking about. 

Be candid with that fact and point the person in the right direction or connect him with someone who is an expert on the topic at hand. 

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The Advice Trap
The Advice Trap

It happens when one rushes to provide advice, which is most likely to be discarded or ignored, even if the person was asked for it.

Even with good intentions, providing advice isn’...

Word Play When Asking For Advice

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.

A piece of straightforward advice doled out to be followed to the tee, is often due to lack of knowledge, rather than because of it.

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Avoid tension and build rapport
Avoid tension and build rapport

This underscores the importance of starting on the right foot.  If you upset the person you’re trying to help, they’ll wall themselves off. 

It's important to use empath...

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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Feedback
Feedback

Feedback provides an opportunity to gain insights about a person's personal and professional actions.
Without feedback, we will move in the same direction without realizing our shortcomings. ...

Types of feedback
  • Positive vs. negative. Positive feedback confirms that someone is taking good action, while negative feedback shows what actions need to be corrected.
  • Formal vs. informal. Formal feedback is given on a set schedule, and informal feedback is short and follows after an action or event.
  • Annual vs. monthly
  • Verbal vs. written
  • Manager vs. peer
Effective feedback
Effective feedback is:
  • Objective. Don't let your personal feelings get in the way.
  • Timely. Feedback should follow when the event is still fresh.
  • Constructive. Give respect and show that you have their best interests in mind.
  • Actionable. Feedback must include immediate next steps.
  • Warranted. Give your employees room for mistakes and learn from them.

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