If you offer your advice freely but feel like no one’s taking it to heart, you may just be doing it wrong. According to a study of our decision process, the best way to give advice is simply to offer information.
Behaviour blog Psychology Today highlights a paper that looks into the way people use advice, highlighting four different kinds of advice: Advice for, which is generally a recommendation for an option; Advice against, which recommends avoiding an option; Decision support, which suggests ways to go about making a decision; and Information, which offers information about a subject that may be new to the decision maker.
The studies found that the most useful type of advice was information advice. Why?
For one thing, when someone makes a recommendation for or against a particular option, a decision maker may feel like they have lost a bit of their independence in making a choice. Recommendations about how to go about making the choice may also make a decision maker feel a loss of independence. When the advice comes in the form of information, though, the decision maker still feels like they have some autonomy.
Information also helps decision makers inform future related decisions and makes them more confident about their choice. Hit up the full article for more details, but the takeaway: If you really want to help someone with your two cents, give them information. Photo by Digital Sextant.
What is the best way to give advice? [Psychology Today]