Learning to Give Receptive Advice

It can be discouraging when people don’t take your advice. Was it because you’re not credible enough, you were too pushy, or simply they didn’t like the advice? Advice is a delicate gift, and as a gift we want it received well. Here are some tips for giving advice:
Reflect what you hear – We hear things through our own filters. To truly understand someone, we need to check to be sure we received the same message, both in content and feeling, as it was sent. Share your interpretation!
Do they want your opinion, or are they venting? Try: “I have an idea that might be helpful,” and proceed cautiously. Ask questions – sometimes people just need to be guided while they talk through their problems to find a solution Offer insight, not recommendations – a study by Dalal and Bonaccio (2010) found that people thought the best advice they received expanded their knowledge of the problem, instead of telling them how to behave.
If recommending, use first person – “A thought I’ve had is” instead of, “You ought to.”
Remember: “Advice is like snow: the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon, and the deeper in sinks into the mind.” —Samuel Taylor

Leave a Reply

  • Dear Dr. Mimi-Showing Affection at Work

    Dear Dr. Mimi, I’ve recently started dating a co-worker. How do I show her affection while still being professional around the office? —Loverboy Dear Loverboy, Starting a new relationship is always fun and exciting, but remember not to mix business and pleasure. Work is not the place to show your affection. Treat her in a…

  • Dear Dr. Mimi-Boss Who Fired Me Now Wants Help!

    Dear Dr. Mimi, I was recently let go from a company. My old boss just contacted me asking work-related questions. Should I respond? —Now What? Dear Now What, If you know the answer to the question, I say go for it and answer your boss. This is the perfect opportunity to have a good interaction…

  • Introverts and Extroverts as Leaders!

    How can both introverts and extroverts be successful leaders when they are seen as opposites? The answer is that a good leader is not determined by their personality style, but rather by how they use their personality in various situations. It is essential for leaders to know themselves. People who are, or aspiring to be,…