I love giving free advice; the problem is that giving free advice has gotten me into trouble on many occasions. I am a firm believer that if you give you will receive plenty in return. I have given free services or given some of my services at a discount especially for people that read this blog and support many of my other efforts.
Is Free Advice Valuable?
The only way I see Free Advice being valuable is if the person on the other side is really interested in receiving it and more importantly taking any actions based on the advice.
Free Advice can come with a Heavy Cost
If the person receiving the advice is not interested, then your Free Advice comes with a cost to you. It costs you time when you thought it was an investment. It becomes a waste of your time and that other persons time.
Who should you Give Free Advice to ?
Those who have requested your help and continuously support you. I get requested for advice all the time. I try to help as many people as possible but I really have to help out those that are continuously supporting my efforts. I wish I could clone myself and divide myself. But time is something I have a constant battle with and I try to make the best of it.
Make sure they want your opinion
Another key part of giving free advice is making sure that even though the person asked you for it they really want to hear your opinion. People might ask for advice waiting for you to validate what they think is correct. They want an affirmation that they have done something great! If you see their is resistance to any of your advice ,try to cut your conversation as short as possible. Resistance is an indication that the person might have their own agenda and just want your approval.
Let them know you support them
I read a few months ago a post on @raffel’s blog on how you need to stop playing Devils Advocate and support those who have an idea, even when it might not make sense to you. This is true for those individuals that requested your approval. Be clear that you support them and wish them the best.
If you Asked for Advice Be Ready for My Follow Up
If I took the time to help someone, I make sure I monitor the actions they take. Feel free to ask them about the progress and how they went about the situation for which they requested advice. If you see they are not committed, then you need to invest your time and energy elsewhere.
Seeing how the person approached it can give you a clear indication if the time talking with them was an investment or a waste of time. I usually pay attention to body language and other indicators that let me know if the person is listening and interested in what I am saying.
How do you approach others for advice? How do you approach those that requested your advice?
photo credit by Digital Magic Photography