They Want Your Advice? Don’t Be Flattered Just Yet…

advice1‚ÄčAs a motivational speaker I get asked for my advice a lot. And I've learned that there are real risks involved in giving someone advice – no matter how well meaning your intentions. If they take your advice and things turn out badly – they could blame you for the outcome.  And no, you are not responsible for the choices they make – but the bottom line is that what ensues could compromise your relationship.

So what do you do when someone asks for your advice?  Consider the following disclaimers:

1.  "I really can't tell you what you should do – but I can share with you what I might do in this situation."

2.  "I probably don't know enough about this situation to properly advise you, but based on what you have told me, here's something that I saw work very well once."

And a REALLY great response might be:

3.  "I don't know. What do YOU think would be the best thing to do?"

And, while I would be remiss to tell you what you should or should not say if someone asks you for advice, what I might do – is NOT tell them what they SHOULD or SHOULD NOT do.

"Shoulds" create a slippery slope, indeed.


Motivational Speaker Linda Larsen, CSP has been described by meeting planners and audiences as "hysterically funny," and "riveting." Known for her ability to connect on an authentic and emotional level with audiences, her spontaneous sense of humor, and her engaging and powerful stories, Linda is passionate about sharing ideas to help people live their finest, best, and most productive lives. Her riveting and true story of being kidnapped and held hostage at gunpoint by an escaped convict, and the strategies she used to escape, will give people the tools THEY need to rise above any of life's toughest challenges, to communicate more effectively with THEIR difficult person, and to find creative solutions to THEIR problems. To book motivational speaker, Linda Larsen: 941-927-4700

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  1. Such wise advice.  I myself do not like giving advice. I don't want the pressure. So instead of giving advice, I tell people that I'm sharing what I have learned the hard way. I also say that I don't have any of the answers – but I think I'm asking the right questions. That releases me of the burden of being "right" but allows me to share. Great post Linda!

  2. Excellent advice! :-) Your disclaimers are brilliant and work. Another outstanding example of choosing words wisely. Bravo.

  3. Like our sisters above, I agree – great advice! I'd like to add my 2 cents: I like to remind people to NOT give advice unless it's requested!  If you want to give advice and it's unsolicited, try asking if the person is open for feedback first!  Then, of course honor their answer.  It just hit me, you weren't asking for my advice…

  4. Slippery slope indeed.  Both at the gym and at Whole Foods I am asked to advise on a regular basis.  My go-to response is "What I have found that works for me is…"  Thank you for offering more ways to handle this!

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