When was the last time you received some advice, whether or not you asked for it? Do any of these sound familiar?

  • Show up ready to work
  • Don’t make assumptions
  • Be patient
  • No task is beyond you
  • You don’t always get what you want
  • Do what is right, not what is easy

And the list goes on and on…Actually, there is a great top 25 list here in an article written on Inc.com appropriately titled¬†25 Excellent Pieces of Advice That Most People Ignore.

Now, I would like to say here that I, personally, agree with many of the pieces of advice shared in this article. And I am also on the receiving and giving sides of advice daily. Having said that, I would like to share some thoughts on ways to give and receive advice. Sometimes, it can be misunderstood or not conveyed in the manner in which it was intended. Other times, it’s seamless but more often than not, it can be awkward, mis-timed, inappropriate or frankly completely out of place – and that’s why I’m writing this today.

NOTE of clarification – these tips are my opinion from my experiences (and experiences that have been shared with me) so they are by no means the be-all-end-all of lines for sharing advice. But they could be a good starting point or reminder for you.

Sometimes the bad things that happen in our lives put us directly on the path to the best things that will ever happen to us.

3 Tips on Giving Advice

  1. Before opening your mouth to share your wisdom, check your brain one more time to see if it makes sense. So, if your friend has a car that is 8 years old, falling apart and they are talking to you about how they are trying to figure out a way to fix their car AND pay their rent, suggesting a new BMW may not be the best idea.
  2. Ask the person if they would like any advice or shared experience. Something like “I was in a similar situation before – would you like me to share what happened?” or “A friend of mine experienced the same thing not too long ago. Would you like to hear what they did?”
  3. Listen to the person’s words and watch their body language. Are they sharing a story with you to get it off their chest or are they looking for your help or insight? Check out my Blog Post, A Lesson Learned where I talk more about one of my personal experiences with this)

3 Tips on Taking Advice

  1. More often than not, the giver’s heart is in the right place. Even if you are not looking for advice, people who know and care for us want to help us. And even if you aren’t asking for help, they want to give it.
  2. You don’t have to take or use the advice. Just because someone offers you advice, it doesn’t mean you have to act on it. Now, if they are the 10th person that day to tell you the same thing…well, you should probably listen. However, in most cases, it’s just an opinion. [Unless you have asked a well known expert in the field and in that case, I would take their advice and run with it!]
  3. Smile and say ‘thank you.’ Okay, so this is closely related to #1 but I still think it’s important. Most of the advice you will receive comes from a good place – the person wants to help, they want you to succeed, they want you to be happy, etc. You are fortunate to have someone like that in your life, so be thankful!

Much of the advice we receive we have heard before. Yet, there are times when we hear something new. Giving and taking advice can be a touchy subject but I choose to think of it as coming from a place of caring and curiousity. So go forth and be caring and stay curious!