3 Tips for Giving Professional Advice in a Genuine Way

  • Posted on: 5 August 2014
  • By: Leonard Shostak

It’s valuable to have mentors, advisers or consultants to support your initial business development and guide you through various challenges, from creating a marketing strategy to implementing new technology. Getting the right type of support and the right advisers is key. Often, we come across experts who would point out what we might be doing wrong without providing any specific steps or suggestions for improvement. If you are a mentor, adviser or a consultant to someone else, avoid giving advice that does not create any value for the recipient. The message this sends speaks poorly of your intentions and hurts your credibility as an established expert who truly wants to provide value to others.

Here are three key tips for providing professional advice or feedback in a genuine way that creates value to others:

  1. Provide honest, yet constructive feedback
  2. The point of giving feedback is to help the other person improve. Being honest and providing constructive criticism is what will create value for the other person. Focus on the constructive side of your feedback and how it’s meant to help your business client improve. If you are helping a business owner streamline their operations, point out the inefficiencies, of course—but help them remove them by focusing on their existing business strengths.

  3. Give concrete advice, not generalizations
  4. It’s important to be specific with your business guidance. Your goal is to create value for the person or organization you advise by helping them in a specific way. If you are guiding a small business owner to obtain a small business loan, advise them on the specific application criteria and steps to follow, rather than providing general information on business loans, which is easily available online.

  5. Be more personable
  6. Giving an example of how you handled a difficult business challenge or solved a problem makes your advice not only more relatable but also more personable. Be willing to share a personal story about your professional journey and how the experience helped you improve. Being personable and showing a bit of vulnerability does not hurt your professionalism—it only makes you more human and helps your advice come across more genuinely.

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