In words of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, “Advice is like snow – the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon, and the deeper it sinks into the mind.“
Just like painting, speaking and storytelling, giving advice too is an art – an art that can be learnt and mastered. At the Spoken English course at Speakwell English Academy, we coach our students on various conversation topics. One of the topics in the Speakwell Conversation book is on Advising. We demonstrate this through various examples and role plays. Learning the art to give an advice is important as we encounter numerous situations in our daily life where we need to give an advice – when someone is confused, when a person feels discouraged or even when someone is going through a difficult phase of their life.
We ought to always keep the purpose of giving an advice at the back of our mind – to help people deal with a particular situation or problem and give them hope. Below are four essential skills through which anyone can give an advice remembering the simple acronym LEGO.
Listening – Prior to giving an advice we need to understand the situation. Listening keenly to the person will help us understand him or her. While listening, we need to be completely present (physically and mentally) and avoid any kind of distractions like ringing phones or interruptions by other people.
Empathy – After listening to the person we need to first empathize with them. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. It is difficult to advice someone unless we look at that circumstances from their shoes.
Give the advice – Listening and empathizing are communication without words. After this, follows the subtle and intricate art of giving an advice. We need to be cautious about the words that we use and speak the appropriate word in English. Avoid using commands like you should. Instead you may begin by using phrases which are acceptable. For example – If I were in your place, I would say that, I think it is a good idea to, I feel you could try this option, I suggest or I recommend. Using these words makes the person more receptive to the advice given. Also, avoid using negative words like don’t, can’t, won’t, etc. If you have experienced a similar problem, don’t hesitate to share it as the person will be able to relate to your experience. Ask the person what he or she thinks is the best remedy to solve the problem. You can use simple questions such as – Have you considered the possibility of trying this? Once the person shares their opinions, use words such as – I agree with that, it sounds interesting, probably you could try that, that’s a brilliant idea. Using positive and uplifting words will increase their confidence and also encourage them to come up with better ideas.
Openness – The last and the most important quality is openness. Avoid making the person feel forced to follow your advice. Always remember that each one of us is the best person to decide for ourselves.
Giving an advice in Spoken English is easy following the 4 steps of the acronym LEGO and it can be mastered by everyone with practice and patience.