Asked to Give Advice? Don’t Feed. Give Food for Thought.

When you’re looking for advice, would you have rather have someone tell you what to do? Or would you prefer that they give you things to think about so you can decide for yourself?

There’s a nuance here that’s worth breaking down and an approach worth sharing – an approach my mom taught me.

Quick story. A friend was preparing for a panel interview for a role she desperately wanted. She asked me to take a look at the questions she was asked to cover and an outline of the points she planned to make.

As I read her outline, I felt something was missing. I thought about what I would want to hear if I were on the interview panel, and what I read didn’t quite do it.

I didn’t want to put words in her mouth, or in her document.

I didn’t want to edit her outline, hard as it was to not enable track changes.

I didn’t want her to feel demoralized or that she needed to start all over again.

I wanted her to give feedback in a way that she would feel supported and encouraged.

And I wanted her to get the job!

Instead of telling her what to do, or what I would do, I did what my mom would have done.

1.) Clarify what the problem, challenge or dilemma is.

2.) Ask if I’m open to feedback.

3.) Give the feedback as something to think about, not a directive or advice per se.

4.) Offer to be available to circle back and/or hear how it went.

My mom used to do this all the time. She shared her point of view, experience, knowledge, and wisdom. The rest was up to me. Mom was so smart. She would usually end our chats by saying this:

“You heard my two cents. You’re a grown woman.
You do what you THINK is best.”

Corona Panzano, Mom

How empowering!

She didn’t feed me. She gave me food for thought.

I’ve recently been the recipient of an approach like this, and it reminded me of how powerful and effective it is. I just used it with my friend. She got the job.

Next time you are asked for advice, consider this:  don’t feed them; give them food for thought.

To Your Prosperity!

If you’re interested in learning more about how I can help you and your team prosper, let’s talk.

Let’s Talk – Help People Prosper

About the Author:  Mary Lou Panzano

Mary Lou Panzano retired after 42 years in corporate America to pursue her purpose in life:  help people prosper, personally, professionally, and financially. As Founder and CEO (Chief Enlightenment Officer) of Panzano Enterprises, LLC, Mary Lou focuses on helping:

  • Professional communicators prosper. Whether it’s students studying communications, or junior-, mid-career, or senior communicators, Mary Lou provides coaching services to help them be even better at what they do.
  • Anyone looking to prosper in their lives. As a student of millionaires and leaders in their fields, Mary Lou shares how she applied principles of prosperity she learned to achieve millionaire status and a lifestyle of freedom, peace, and prosperity, with those looking to do the same.
  • Home-business owners prosper. Mary Lou offers home business opportunities and services such as leads, training, discount apps, and digital library systems that help businesses prosper.

Reach out to Mary Lou directly at [email protected].