Advice (Issue 1129)

In which we revisit the idea of asking questions when we’re asked for our opinions. 

And, then, there was some push-back!

Last week, I described friends’ responses to my Detroit long weekend plan  sharing that, to a person, they responded with advice ….

Me: “One of the things I’d like to do this year is a trip to Detroit with my son.”

Them: “Yeah, great idea, The Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village are really great. Have you been there? And the Ford Rouge plant if you like cars…or, in this case, trucks.”

…rather than with questions…

Me: “One of the things I’d like to do this year is a trip to Detroit with my son.”

Hypothetical them: “Really? Great! What do you like to do together? What’s he interested in? What do you like?”

Responding, one reader (Thank you, Debbie!)  wrote to share the name of a Detroit guide who provides customized tours of the city.  Super!

Another reader (Thank you, Patrick!) emailed to ask, “When are you coming?  What do you and your son like to do?”  [“Thank you for listening,” I thought!!!] I answered and he shared a list of responsive activities and places we’d like and that we never would have found on our own. Brilliant!

But then: Push-back. I shared these experiences with a couple of folks.  Their opinions were, roughly:  “You’re being ridiculous, making mountains out of mole hills. When people ask for advice, share ideas and they can choose the ones they like and disregard the rest. That’s up to them.”

A day or so later, a  third  reader (Thank you, John!) wrote back to introduce me to the “Advice Monster ”  quiz from leadership training company, Box of Crayons, and Crayons’ leader, Michael Bungay Stanier.  Michael’s view (and here’s a  brief video of Michael on the point): We all harbor Advice Monsters – a default response,  that part of us that JUMPS IN (too soon!!!!!!!!!!!!!) to offer up ideas, opinions, and advice  and the best defense against Advice Monsters is…. Questions.

So, stay curious my friends!

[Here is Michael’s full Ted talk.]

Nick Miller is President of Clarity Advantage based in Concord, MA. He assists banks and credit unions to generate more and more profitable relationships, faster, with business clients, their owners, and their employees through better sales strategies and execution. Additional articles on Clarity’s web site.

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