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Six ways to respond to unsolicited advice

Updated: Mar 16, 2020

Helpful advice is not always helpful. Has this ever happened to you? You're in the middle of a great conversation with someone and they come out with a phrase that starts "You know what? You should...." 

The phrase is well-intended. It's "helpful advice". But what should you do? Should you take that advice? Or, should you smile and ignore it?

Helpful advice is only helpful if it provides relief from the problem you have and if you can use it.

But how do you know? Here's an idea.

The next time someone offers some well-intended advice (ie. "You should network more", "You should get a new job" or "You should go on a low-carb diet"), try asking yourself these six questions. 

  1. What problem does this person think I have? 

  2. Are they right? 

  3. How does this person think following their advice could address this problem? 

  4. Are they right?

  5. If you were to give yourself some advice on this topic, what would it be?

  6. Do I need to take action and if so, what?

So, next time someone offers you some helpful advice, instead of rejecting or accepting without thought, start asking yourself these questions.

If you make it to the sixth question, the chances are that the advice is well worth considering. In fact, even if you don't reach the sixth question, you may well have a better understanding of yourself (or a given challenge) than you started with. In which case, the person giving the advice did you a favour.

It would be great to hear what strategies you use when someone gives you advice?

If you found this article valuable, please remember to share.

About the author:

Kate Christiansen is an award-winning author, master facilitator and speaker. She specialises in helping leaders and teams to escape the status quo and build momentum behind change that matters. To discover more about Kate and what her clients say about her impact on their teams, visit or contact Kate on


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