Here is a format for giving good advice. I found this advice on a friend’s Facebook feed and I want to share some of it with you because it’s clever, creative and funny advice. When you give advice to somebody, use modal verbs or in NLP terms, we refer to those as modal operators. These are words such as can, can’t, should, shouldn’t, would, wouldn’t, have and/or haven’t.
Some modal verbs carry more influence than others. For example, ‘should’ sounds quite flexible, doesn’t it? Whereas, the words ‘have to’ is more forceful ‘you have to do this’. I would suggest with modal verbs whilst that’s good advice to use those because they do give flexibility, actually be cautious about which ones you choose because some of them really imply kind of like ‘here’s something you might want to consider’ whereas others are much more directive and ‘you need to do this’.
In my experience of giving advice, there are times when being forceful is appropriate but it’s probably not where you want to start because if you start by giving people forceful advice and the rapport isn’t there, you’re likely to get some resistance. Whereas if you are putting the idea out there with a softer approach, you’re less likely to get resistance but you’re also potentially more likely for them to not follow through because they’re not taking the suggestion as seriously. I would start with a light approach in dealing with them and if they don’t follow through you can then go in all guns blazing!
Making your advice into a question displaces resistance because the person listening to the advice (the receiver of the advice) has an opportunity to either respond or not because it’s a question.
When we give advice at the hypnotherapy and NLP clinic in Hertfordshire, there may be times when the instruction is more like a command and this needs to be delivered very carefully. If we are being forceful it’s possible to get resistance and lose our rapport and then we don’t have the leverage thereafter. If we start with a question then it’s softer, the person who is receiving the advice feels like they have an opportunity to either take it or not take it but if they don’t take it then we may want to repeat the suggestion with more of a command around the advice that we’re giving and with a more commanding tonality.
When we are advising people we can use questions, statements or commands. The difference between the three lies in your tone of voice. When we ask a question our intonation at the end of the sentence tends to pitch up. Whereas if we’re making a statement then our tone tends to stay on the same melody – our tone doesn’t tend to go up or down at the end our tone stays on the same path. When our pitch goes down at the end of the sentence, this implies that we are being more commanding. One of the best syntaxes that you can use is to combine a question with a commanding tonality. The conscious mind knows not to get offended because it was structured as a question whereas on an unconscious level the command intonation is what’s picked up on recognised and reacted too.
Next ‘put yourself in the other person’s position’. If someone is asking for your advice it’s useful to imagine yourself being in that person’s position. This is a good way to explain your advice.
In NLP, we have a process called the ‘perceptual positions process’ which does precisely that. You associate into the perspective of somebody else. It’s kind of a role-play exercise and it’s really beneficial for being able to see a problematic situation through the eyes of the person that you’re in the problematic situation with, sometimes when we give advice we do it from our own perspective because that’s easy to do. We know what it’s like to be in our skin and how we might feel or react to a certain situation but it’s less easy to think about it from someone else’s perspective because they’ve got all of their values, their history and their own considerations so just throwing the advice at them actually it might not resonate with them.
Sometimes when we give advice that they may take or leave you can deliver it as ‘I recommend, I would suggest’. This gives them the opportunity to react in the right way – the way that I want them to! If they don’t then the feedback becomes stronger and more commanding and I then take the opportunity to switch it from ‘you could/I would suggest’ to ‘this needs to happen this way’.
Before I leave you some funny and creative advice I also found on my friend’s Facebook:
- Don’t date anyone whose personality you have to explain to others.
- Never date someone if they don’t have many friends there’s probably a good reason.
- When taking the rubbish out use that time to eat your secret sweets or chocolate that you hide away from your kids!
- If you have teens listen more than you talk.
- Always put the toilet seat down when finished.
- When you’re scrubbing the toilet keep your mouth closed.
I hope that has been amusing and useful for you!