Giving advice can be difficult, but with the right tips it can be a lot easier.
When it comes to giving advice, many people feel like they have a lot to share. However, just because you have something to say doesn’t mean that you’re an expert. Here are some tips to give good advice in a way that is both professional and beneficial.
Tips to give good advice
Giving advice can be a delicate process. On the one hand, you want to be helpful and offer support. On the other hand, you don’t want to be presumptuous or come across as judgmental. If you’re not careful, you might end up doing more harm than good. To avoid this, follow these expert tips for giving advice.
1. Be clear about what you want to achieve
When giving advice, it’s important to be clear about what you want to achieve. This way, you can tailor your advice to the specific situation and ensure that it is as helpful as possible.
Trying to give advice without a clear goal in mind is often ineffective. So, if you want to give good advice, take a moment to think about what you hope to achieve with your advice before you start sharing it.
This will help you to be more focused and purposeful in your advice-giving, and ultimately lead to better results.
2. Be aware of your own biases
We all have biases – it’s human nature. These are our own experiences, values and beliefs that can impact the advice we give. And while there’s nothing wrong with having a bias, it’s important to be aware of it when giving advice so that you can remain objective.
Otherwise, you might unintentionally steer someone in the wrong direction. For example, let’s say you have a strong preference for one particular brand of car. If your friend asks for your advice on which car to buy, you might inadvertently encourage them to buy the same brand that you prefer, without considering other options that might be better suited for their needs.
So the next time you give advice, take a step back and consider whether your own bias is influencing your opinion. It could make all the difference in the world for the person who is relying on your advice.
3. Ask questions and listen to give good advice
Asking questions and truly listening to the answers will help you understand the person you’re advising and their individual situation. Only then can you truly offer the best possible advice.
Of course, this can be difficult when you’re dealing with a sensitive issue or a person who is resistant to change. But if you take the time to ask questions and listen patiently, you’ll be able to give much more helpful and effective advice.
4. Good advice offers specific recommendations
It’s important to be specific when giving advice. Vague recommendations can lead to confusion.
When offering advice, make sure that your recommendations are clear and concise. This will help ensure that your advice is followed and that it has the desired effect.
Additionally, avoid making assumptions about what the person receiving your advice knows or doesn’t know. Instead, give them the information they need to make an informed decision. By being specific and clear when giving advice, you can help ensure that it is taken and that it has the intended impact.
5. Follow up to give good advice
By following up, you can ensure that your advice was received and understand how it was used. This allows you to give more targeted and helpful advice in the future.
Furthermore, following up shows that you care about the person you gave the advice to and are invested in their success. Doing this will give you an opportunity to develop a relationship with the person you gave the advice to, which can lead to more opportunities to help them in the future.
Following up gives you a chance to learn from your mistakes and improve your advice-giving skills.
6. Be honest about your intentions when giving advice
If you’re giving advice, be honest about your intentions. The best advice is given with the intention of helping the person you’re advising, not to make them feel bad about themselves or to put them down.
So, be clear about what you’re trying to achieve with your advice, and make sure that your words and actions align with that goal. Don’t try to push your own agenda. When in doubt, err on the side of kindness and compassion.
We all have enough critics in our lives without adding yourself to the list. Be the person who builds people up, not tears them down.
7. Consider the consequences when giving advice
What could happen if the person follows your advice? Are there any risks involved? Make sure you weigh all potential outcomes before giving advice.
8. Don’t be afraid to be assertive
If you truly believe in the advice you’re giving, don’t be afraid to be assertive. Sometimes people need a push in the right direction and your advice could be just what they need.
Don’t be afraid to speak up and offer your opinion. Chances are, your advice will be appreciated, and it could even make a positive difference in someone’s life.
Of course, it’s important to be respectful and considerate when offering advice.
9. Be open to feedback to give good advice
After giving your advice, be open to hearing feedback from the person you advised. They may have valuable insights that can help you improve your advice-giving skills.
10. Good advice is tailored
The best advice is tailored to the person who is receiving it. One size does not fit all when it comes to giving advice, and what works for one person might not work for another.
The best way to give useful advice is to take into account the individual’s unique circumstances. This type of advice is more likely to be effective and help the person achieve their goals.
Additionally, be sensitive to the fact that everyone is different and what works for one person might not work for another. Just because something worked for you doesn’t mean it will work for them.
11. Make sure your advice is actionable and achievable
The whole point of giving advice is to help the person you’re advising improve their situation. As such, make sure your advice is actionable and achievable so that they can actually make use of it.
Otherwise, you run the risk of frustrating or disappointing the person who’s asked for your help. To make sure your advice is useful, start by clearly defining the problem.
Then, brainstorm a few potential solutions. Once you’ve got a few options, evaluate each one to see what’s realistic and achievable given the person’s circumstances.
12. Encourage the person you’re advising to decide for themselves
Giving advice can be a delicate balance. On the one hand, you want to be helpful and provide guidance. But on the other hand, you don’t want to be too pushy or tell the person what to do.
A good way to strike this balance is to encourage the person you’re advising to think for themselves. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t offer any advice at all. But it does mean that you should help the person to reach their own conclusions, rather than just telling them what to do.
Encouraging someone to think for themselves will help them to make better decisions, will improve their critical thinking skills and it will also empower them to take control of their own lives. So next time you’re giving advice, remember to encourage independent thought.
13. Help the person you’re advising identify their resources
One of the most important things you can do when advising someone is to help them identify their resources. Chances are, the person you’re advising has more resources than they realize. Help them identify these resources so that they can use them to achieve their goals.
This includes both internal and external resources. Internal resources are things like skills, knowledge, and experience. External resources could be things like family, friends, or professional networks. Once the person you’re advising has a clear understanding of their resources, they’ll be in a much better position to make decisions and take action.
14. Offer support and encouragement when advising
Giving advice can be difficult, but it’s important to offer support and encouragement throughout the process.
Offer your advice in a non-judgmental way. Always speak kindly and with empathy. This will show the person you’re advising that you care about them and want to help them succeed.
15. Be patient to give good advice
The process of giving and receiving advice can be slow. Be patient and allow the person you’re advising to take the time they need to make decisions.
When we are in a rush, we may not take the time to fully understand the situation, and our advice may be based on incomplete information. Additionally, we may be more likely to make assumptions about what the other person wants or needs, rather than taking the time to listen to them.
Furthermore, hurry can lead us to be less compassionate, and our advice may come across as cold or uncaring.
On the other hand, if we take the time to be patient, we can ensure that our advice is well-informed and tailored to the individual. We are also more likely to build a rapport with the person, which can make them more receptive to our suggestions.
16. Don’t give advice that you won’t take yourself
When applicable, it’s important to remember that when you give advice, you should be willing to take it yourself.
Think about it this way: if you wouldn’t do something yourself, why would you expect someone else to do it? It doesn’t make sense. So, next time you’re tempted to give some advice, ask yourself if you would follow it. If for some reason you wouldn’t, it will be helpful to share that with the individual.
After all, it’s always better to practice what you preach. This is the best way to ensure that your recommendations don’t come back to haunt you.
17. Be cautious about giving unsolicited advice
Be cautious about giving unsolicited advice. It can be easy to assume that we know what is best for someone else, but it is important to remember that we do not always have all of the information. In addition, offering unsolicited advice can often come across as judgmental or condescending.
If you are considering giving advice, it is important to make sure that it is welcome and that you are respectful of the other person’s autonomy. Taking these precautions will help to ensure that your advice is well-received and appreciated.
18. Don’t presume that you know everything
It’s important to remember that even if you’re an expert in your field, you shouldn’t presume that you know everything and can give good advice on every topic. Just because you’re experienced and knowledgeable doesn’t mean you have all the answers.
There’s always more to learn, and even the most seasoned experts can make mistakes. Stay humble and open-minded, and be willing to learn from others. This will help you continue to grow and develop as a professional, and it will also make you more relatable and approachable to others.
Don’t be afraid to admit when you don’t know something – it’s better to ask for help than to try to act like an expert when you’re not.
Here’s a fun fact:
19. Timing is important when giving advice
Timing is important to giving good advice for a few reasons.
First, the person asking for advice may not be ready to hear it. They may still be in the process of gathering information, and they may not be ready to make a decision.
Second, even if the person is ready to make a decision, they may not be ready to take action on that decision. They may need some time to think about it or to work up the courage to take the next step.
Timing is also important because the advice-giver may not have all the information they need. If they give advice too soon, they may inadvertently steer the person in the wrong direction.
Finally, it’s important to consider the relationship between the person giving and receiving advice. If there’s a close relationship, the recipient may be more likely to listen and act on the advice.
On the other hand, if there’s a more distant relationship, timing is important so that the recipient doesn’t feel like they’re being pressured into making a decision.
20. Seek wise counsel from others
Giving good advice is not always easy. There are many factors to consider, and it can be difficult to know where to start.
However, seeking wise counsel from others can help you to give better advice. By talking to people who have experience in the field, you can get a better sense of the issues at hand and identify potential solutions.
In addition, seeking counsel from others allows you to get different perspectives on the problem, which can help you to develop a more well-rounded solution. Ultimately, taking the time to seek wise counsel can make a big difference in the quality of your advice.
21. Giving good advice is more of an art than science
The best advice is not always the factual, statistically correct advice. The best advice is the advice that meets the person where they are at, and helps them to see a way forward.
Sometimes, this means giving them tough love and telling them what they need to hear, even if it’s not what they want to hear. Other times, it means being a shoulder to cry on and letting them know that you’re there for them.
Giving good advice is about being attuned to the needs of the person you’re advising, and then giving them what they need, even if it’s not what they want. It’s an art, not a science. And it’s one that takes practice and experience to master.
22. Seek professional help if needed
There are times when professional help is needed. If you feel like the person you’re advising would benefit from professional counseling or therapy, don’t hesitate to refer them to a reputable provider.
Why is giving good advice important?
The goal of advice is to help the person you are giving it to. And if you give bad advice, or even just ineffective or incomplete advice, you are not helping them. You might even be harming them if they follow your bad advice and it leads to negative consequences.
This doesn’t mean that every piece of advice you give needs to be perfect, or that you need to have all the answers. But it does mean that you should take care to give advice that is likely to be helpful, and not harmful.
Read also: 10 Key Importance Of Effective Communication
Final words on expert tips for giving advice
Giving advice is a delicate art. You want to come across as helpful, without sounding bossy or like you’re trying to tell the person what to do. It can be tough to find that balance, but with a little practice, you can become an expert at giving advice.
The tips we’ve shared should help get you started. What’s your best tip for giving good advice? Let us know in the comments below.
Eskreis-Winkler L, Fishbach A, Duckworth AL. Dear Abby: Should I Give Advice or Receive It? Psychol Sci. 2018 Nov;29(11):1797-1806.
Levari DE, Gilbert DT, Wilson TD. Tips From the Top: Do the Best Performers Really Give the Best Advice? Psychological Science. 2022;33(5):685-698. doi:10.1177/09567976211054089