The Subtle Art of Giving Advice | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 10, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, September 10, 2019

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The Subtle Art of Giving Advice

Advice. We all love to give it but taking it from someone is not really a moment of triumph for many of us. It does not occur to us that most times, the right advice from the right people can be fruitful for us. Now, we can only wait and pray for people to come to their senses and realise the value of advice, but till then, a few of these subtle ways of giving advice can be very useful.

Use the sandwich method: This is the classic way of giving advice to someone. You start with a compliment or areas that they are good at, then, in the middle, you mention the advice that you have for them and lastly, you top it off with another appreciation. This way, they don’t get offended and you get to give out your advice too. For example, giving feedback to your colleague about their work could go like, “I really liked the way you designed the colour theme of the presentation, though I think the use of more pictures would take it to the next level, but the way you presented it filled in the lacking, good job.”

Provide solutions: If you are giving advice to someone, the first reaction they have is that, “Well there is no better way to do it.” So, to refute this statement, you should always have a proper solution ready to back up your advice.

Avoid personal attack: Getting advice on something that someone is insecure about can trigger them in a wrong way. So try not to get personal while giving advice. Just address the situation and how it can be bettered without pointing flaws in the person’s abilities.

Read the situation: This one I can’t stress enough. There is a place and time to give advice. Don’t go to your colleague to give advice after s/he was just scolded by their boss. Read the situation. See when the person is not vulnerable and then politely share your thoughts with them.

Don’t compare: Comparisons will almost always backfire. No one likes to know someone else is better at doing something that they are not really too good at. So without naming anyone, just say how they can do better.

As tricky as it can be, when advice comes from a good place, it can really help people grow in life and build a better future for themselves. I meet many people every day, and they share their struggles with me. As a trainer, my job is to advise them without making them feel even worse about themselves. In my experience, these above mentioned caveats always helped. Hope they will help you too.

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