The Best Way to Give Advice

Category: GCS Culture, Growth, Tips & Tricks
Posted by: Greg Alcorn on April 2, 2012
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Sometimes when we offer real suggestions to others, they take it personally. They might not understand that you’re coming from a positive place. That is why you need to make sure the advice is part of a critique to make them better and not criticism to make them feel bad.

  • Ask them first. It’s best to approach this situation with permission first. Simply ask them “Would you like a suggestion?” This gives them the option to say ‘no’ if they don’t feel comfortable enough to talk about it.
  • Air it out. Often when you approach someone and ask them if they need assistance, they really just need to get something off their chest. Let them get it out. Once they are finished, help them move on and not continue to talk about the negative situation.
  • Don’t lie. If you truly do not know how someone feels, do not start by saying “I know how you feel.” Instead, be truthful, open and honest with them. You can still empathize with them and let them know you’re here for them. Also, it is okay to reply with “I’m not sure what to say but I’m here to help.”
  • Do not judge. When you are offering advice, approach is positively. Do not start with “Well, you should have” or “Why didn’t you…” Instead, offer them other points of view to the situation. “A couple of options are…” or “It might help to think about…”
  • Collaborate and listen. Join forces with the person and say “Let’s figure this out together.” It doesn’t sound superior and truly makes the person feel like you are willing to help them out. They understand you don’t have all the answers but will appreciate your support.
  • Be in it for the long haul. Whether it’s a friend, sibling or child, people want to know you have their back. They don’t need to just hear a short-term answer but rather, that they have your long-term support. Give it to them!
  • Don’t fluff it up. Be realistic. Give them an honest point of view. Don’t offer advice that leads to unrealistic expectations and goals. Instead, make them feel their goals are attainable and they are positive. Also, help others understand any rewards, risks or consequences of their actions.



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  • Recommend a book. Some of the best advice you can give someone is to read a book. They can seek out information and words of  wisdom you just don’t have (and that’s okay!). It helps to hear some things from a second source.
  • Let it come from a good place. When you approach someone with advice, make sure they know it comes straight from the heart. Some people just need to be reminded that good things can happen. Leave a nice handwritten note, give praise or recognize someone for their positive attributes.
  • Make plans. After you give someone advice, they need to process it and relax. Whether it’s planning a beach trip with your best friend or a simple lunch meeting with your new co-worker, take the time to catch up with them and make sure they’re okay and that your advice resonated in a positive way.

For more on giving advice the right way, check out Tiny Buddha’s article 10 TIPS TO ADVISE WISELY: HOW TO GIVE ADVICE THAT ACTUALLY HELPS

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Posted Under: GCS Culture, Growth, Tips & Tricks