Deur Wilma Bedford
Perhaps you have given somebody advice and wondered afterwards why he asked for it if he doesn’t use it. To give advice does not necessarily mean that people will accept it and perhaps you have spent lots of valuable time trying to help the person. Sometimes people only need a soundboard while they already have the solution to the problem. Ask yourself whether you really want to become involved in the person’s problem, whether you have the necessary knowledge or experience to address the person’s problem and whether you really understand the person’s need. Be honest enough to say so if you cannot help.
There are three factors that determine whether a person will accept advice: when it is expensive to obtain, e.g. legal advice; if the advisor has experience of the matter, e.g. a doctor’s advice; but if the person is, for instance, angry or has already made a decision, it is highly unlikely that your advice will be considered.
The golden rule when giving advice, is: only give it if you are asked to do so. Unasked-for advice is usually ignored and could spoil relations. When you are approached for advice, approach the person and the issue sensitively and make the person the central figure. The person must feel that you really care and understand the situation. Make sure that you are really being approached for advice; sometimes people only want to sound off or are looking for a sound board. You can directly ask whether the person wants to hear your ideas on the matter. In this way you don’t waste time and avoid senseless talking. Ascertain for yourself what the advice seeker has in mind. Ask: “What specifically do you want me to help you with and what outcome would you like to see, and what have you done so far to resolve the matter?” In this way you address the matter purposefully and directly.
Work with the advice seeker to find a solution. Be friendly and reassuring and respect the person’s view of the matter and affirm and endorse the person’s feelings and do not judge because the person is already feeling vulnerable. Avoid words such as must and shall and rather say I suggest, what do you think of this idea. If possible, share a similar experience of your own and that worked for you. Also determine the advice seeker’s emotions: does he feel frustrated, helpless, unappreciated or insecure and confirm your hunch by asking subtle questions about the person’s emotions.
Offer support. Discuss the problem, make suggestions and give information about your suggestions, for instance what the possible outcome of suggestion A could be, or the financial implications of plan B. Give the person permission to reject your suggestions; in this way you give control back to him or her and do not place yourself under any obligation.
Agree on the next step in the process, ask how much and what further support will be necessary and what pitfalls have to be avoided. Hold out prospects and decide on what steps to rake and approach the matter as a team. Assure the help seeker of your support.
How to Give Great Advice. Entrepreneur. https://www.entrepreneur.com
How to Give People Advice. Goldfarb, Anna. New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com