Monday, August 29, 2011


Advice: Giving & Receiving....

Giving advice

We all like to share our opinions on the things going on around us. When someone asks us for advice, we tend to use our experiences and thoughts to help them. The problem with this is we tend to project our beliefs onto the situation at hand. The most important tool we need to utilize when giving advice is; ACTIVE LISTENING. Active listening is a communication technique that requires the listener to understand, interpret, and evaluate what they hear.

It's imperative to make sure you understand the situation from 'their' point of view. Quite often, people give jaded advice to the people seeking help. They project their own 'issues' into a situation requiring objective correspondence; this is a classic mistake that many people make, everyday. The biggest concern with this is the fact that the person you are helping is 'vulnerable'. A vulnerable person needs their internal thoughts strengthened. This can be a slippery slope. It's very important that you seek out what the person truly wants to do.

When giving advice, attempt to stay away from, "This is what you are supposed to do". Telling someone what they need to do does not garner ownership on their part. The person you are helping needs to own the decisions they are making. If this person doesn't own the decision, they won't have long-term success. They also won’t grow through this experience and therefore, will not be capable of handling the same situation in the future, with ease.

The moral of the story is; refrain from giving advice if you aren't good at active listening. Also refrain from giving advice if you lack the ability to offer an objective, 'in their shoes' point of view. Remember it's, 'What they want to do', not 'What you want to do'.

Receiving advice

This is a much simpler experience to understand. You also need to practice active listening. You 'know' exactly what you want to do; the question you are asking yourself is, should I do 'that' or is there a better way. This is important when receiving advice from someone. When listening to the advice someone is giving you, listen to all sides of it. You need to ascertain whether this person is projecting their personal thoughts onto your situation, or whether it's genuine and objective. This can be very difficult in an emotionally high charged situation.

If you are actively listening to the advice, you can pull out the pieces that resonate within you. This is where you begin to see what your true thoughts are. You begin to say internally and externally, "Yes you are right". The key here is whether the 'YES' is confirmation of a thought or understanding of where you need to go now. This can be tricky. What makes it easier to grasp is, knowing from the beginning if the advice you are getting is objective and from your point of view. If you are practicing active listening, you will know this almost immediately. You will know whether this person is 'saying what you want them to' or 'saying what you know to be the truth'.

The most important thing to remember when receiving advice is: Make sure it is about you and your situation at hand. Don't let people project their failures onto your situations....

Remember cr@p in = cr@p out...