The other day, a friend called to ask me for my advice. As I was gleefully providing my input, I was then provided with excuses and reasons why my advice wouldn't work. OK, I know I am not always right…however, I was being asked for my advice, right?
When we ask questions, which is what we all need to be doing to better understand what we don't know, then being a good listener requires that we take in the information. If we need to gain clarification, we need to ask more questions. I don't believe we should side track the conversation by getting into the reasons why the advice isn't good. It might be enough for you to know that the person you have asked for advice from provided you with info you already knew or have already tried. Fine. Move on to someone else.
We all want to be heard, not criticized.
I have a mentor who is wonderful at listening. She asks great questions and never makes me feel stupid. If she doesn't agree with something I've said, she asks another question to dig deeper into the stupid thing I've just said. For example:
Hannah's stupid statement: "All job seekers are lazy"
Brilliant mentor: "What do you mean by lazy, Hannah?"
Someone else: "No, they aren't lazy, they just don't know what else to do"
Hannah's answer: "Well, they just don't do what they need to do"
Brilliant mentor: "So why do you think they don't do what they need to do?"
Hannah feeling stupid: "Because they don't know what they don't know, but I
guess that doesn't make them lazy, but perhaps
uninformed" (AHA moment for me, right?)
I am not suggesting that we don't debate or discuss opinions or views, that is very important, but perhaps not appropriate to the conversation in which we are requesting advice.
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.