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As a blogger, I’m asked to give advice a lot. I genuinely want to help others so learning to give advice correctly has allowed me to impact more people.
Whether you want to be a leader, coach or entrepreneur — knowing how to give advice will help you.
If you give advice incorrectly, then you’ll risk being disrespectful, pissing people off and not helping others to take the positive action that will assist them.
I also try to remember that I don’t have all the wisdom in the world and I don’t know everything.
Some of my advice is useful and some of it is not. Removing your ego from the advice you give makes the quality of your wisdom much higher.
Here’s the best way to give advice:
Tell a story.
Dry information and stats don’t inspire people to make a change or listen to you. Storytelling is how you make your advice human, relatable and real.
Every great speech or piece of advice comes bundled with a story. The story is what people remember and that’s how they’ll remember your advice.
I don’t know about you, but I never remember facts, figures or statistics. Unless you’re a lifelong, successful, trivia show contestant with a brain for remembering facts and figures, always include stories in any advice you give.
One tip though is to keep your story short and concise. Don’t tell a story that goes for 90 minutes if you can avoid it.
Chunk the story down into what happened, and more importantly, what your audience can learn. Pro’s give advice through telling stories — just look at Ted.com for examples.
Chunk it down.
A long piece of advice that is complicated will rarely be absorbed or put into practice.
Chunk your advice down into simple steps that your audience can follow. Keep your advice simple wherever possible and focus on key takeaways.
What can someone listening to your advice takeaway with them?
I find the power of threes works best. Aim for three steps or three takeaways if it’s possible in the context of your advice.
Have a good structure.
Just like a good speech, high-quality advice has a solid structure. There’s an introduction, a body and a conclusion that highlights the takeaways.
This makes your advice easier to follow and more likely to be retained by that very old computer that’s living in our heads called the brain.
Be logical with your advice and structure it in a way that makes sense. Start with your most important point or think about the timeline in relation to your advice. What events happened first or what steps do you begin with?
I get people all the time emailing me and saying things like “Should I be a stripper?” or “Should I kill myself?”
Leading with respect is very important because to do anything else could lead your audience to not take your advice, or even worse, use your advice to harm themselves or put themselves in more pain.
Not everyone is Superman or Superwoman like you, so don’t talk down to your audience. Appreciate their situation even if you haven’t been there yourself and concentrate on being of service.
No one likes to be spoken down to and you have your own issues. You’re not perfect either. Remember that whenever you’re giving advice.
Even if your audience disagrees with your advice, they’ll respect you if you respect them first.
Get to the point.
If your audience is millennials, then you’ll want to get to the point. Our attention span is only decreasing as time goes on and so those who can get to the point will win in this new attention economy.
Your advice may be amazing, but it will never be heard if you can’t get to the point.
Respecting your audiences time is how you get them to listen to your advice. Even try telling them up front how long the advice will take to deliver.
You don’t need to tell your life story when giving advice. Focus on the advice that will lead people to take action or think differently. Adopt the mindset of “All killer no filler.”
Make it inspirational.
Advice that is simultaneously inspiring works. I’ve witnessed this over the last few years with my own audience.
People just want to be inspired. Being inspired is how you get people’s attention. Inspiration makes us feel good and positivity always wins.
Inspiration that doesn’t inspire action though is useless. A one-off pump up session of advice doesn’t help anyone in the long-term.
Focus on how you can inspire and also get people to think and follow through with action.
Use your own experience.
We’ve talked about storytelling already. Many people tell stories but never include their own experience.
Your experience is the best advice you can give. No one has exactly the same story or list of experiences as you, so that’s what makes your advice truly unique.
If you’re planning on making a business around your advice, this is an important fact to realize early on.
All of us have experiences worth sharing. Many of my coaching clients tell me they don’t. When I test that theory, I find out every time that we all have personal experiences that can help others.
Your personal experiences are more valuable than you think.
Relate your advice back to their problem.
Lots of people give advice without knowing their audience’s problem. The best advice is tied back to the listener’s problem.
If you want to be effective with your advice you need to learn to tailor it to the audience. This sounds easier than it looks.
The best way I discovered to understand my audience’s problems was to ask them (in the case of 1–1 advice) or for large audiences, to research my audience’s problems through websites like Quora.
I’ve found that our problems all come from mostly the same list. Our problems are not as unique as we think — they are in our own head.
If all you do is give advice that doesn’t solve the real problem, you’re wasting your time. I even try to reference my audience’s problem in every part of the advice I give.
Become obsessed with the problem and your advice will be effective.
The best advice contains your own emotion. Linking your advice to emotion is another practical strategy to get people to take action.
Injecting emotion into your advice requires you to be bold, authentic and vulnerable which is why so many people forget this valuable step when giving advice.
We all remember when someone got emotional while giving a speech or when we felt the same emotion as the person giving us the advice.
“We’re all human and emotion unites us”
Emotion is what can make your advice feel universal. We’ve all felt sadness, laughter or emotion in our lives. Put this into your advice if you want to influence your audience to make a real and rapid change.
Next time you have to give advice, you’ll now have a toolkit you can use. Giving advice is a privilege and it should never be taken for granted.
The sole purpose of giving advice is to help someone.
Don’t forget that.
“Giving advice is not about you and how good you think you are; quality advice transcends one’s self”