Advice on Giving Advice

  • women powering business
  • November 02, 2012

In her recent contribution to Women Powering Business, Chandra Pappas observes that some professional women have a responsibility as leaders to share advice, but sometimes they do it compulsively. According to Pappas, women can be more effective at giving advice if the message is more direct.

Let It Be Announced: Let your audience know that you are about to give advice. Chandra argues that there is nothing wrong with saying phrases such as, “ok, here comes some unsolicited advice. Sorry, I just can’t help myself…But after hearing…it may be helpful….”

Observe your audience: Note if they are receiving your message or politely nodding. If it is the latter, your delivery may need help.

Ask How, Not Why: ‘How’ is “much less accusatory, less harsh. It gives people the opportunity to speak openly without feeling the need to be defensive.” This approach creates a non-threatening, less judgmental environment and gives your listener the opportunity to speak openly without feeling defensive.

Walk in Their Shoes: Listen to your audience and tailor the message to maximize the value for each individual. Focus on how it will help them achieve their goals and objectives.

Feel, Felt, Found Method: Chandra suggests that “in terms of the actual delivery, this shows an understanding of the recipient's situation. The first step is ‘feel’ (also known as empathy), which creates a neutral zone. ‘Felt’ creates a community of people who have experienced the same challenge, and ‘found’ allows you to deliver your sage and awesome advice.”

Always Opt Out: If it is not going to add value, save it for another day!

Chandra Pappas is Senior Vice President for Randstad Finance & Accounting and contributor for Women Powering Business, a source focusing on women-leadership in in the workplace.

Follow Women Powering Business on Twitter and download Randstad’s latest news, insights and reports at Workforce 360.