If I were you . . . (DW#429)

Many of us love giving advice, thinking to ourselves: "I should really share the wealth of my knowledge, wisdom and experience – I am sure the recipient of my advice will be very grateful indeed". 

And then we get very confused when the advice is rejected or remains unheeded  . . .

Here’s the thing: one of the worst ways of giving advice is to start it with "If I were you  . . ." before we have finished this sentence, the person on the receiving end of this advice is saying to themselves:
But you are not me
My situation is different 
You just don’t understand 

And all that valuable advice that we so graciously shared has now gone to waste – sigh! Such a shame, no?

It turns out that of the many ways of giving advice, the most effective one is to simply share information about something. A study on this subject found that information advice was the most effective and the one most likely to be heeded. Information advice simply provides knowledge and information about the subject that the advice seeker may not know. It also highlights possible courses of action that may prove useful. 

When people receive information that may benefit them, they feel in charge of their choices and can make their own determination if they want to follow it and whether or not it applies to their situation. They also feel more empowered and clever about making their own decisions when they have options and when they can choose the best option for themselves. 

So the next time you feel tempted to say: "If I were you  . . ." resist the temptation and remember that most people hate being told what to do. Instead, consider sharing information about something that has helped  you and disclosing how it has helped. Personal testimonials on how something has worked, especially when they can see the transformation for themselves, are often the best motivators for others to heed the advice. 


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