What is this thing we call “advice”

You’ve probably either said “let me give you some advice”  or heard it someone else say they want to give you some advice.  But what really is advice anyways?  That was a question I was thinking of when I listening to the speaker at the quarterly training seminar sponsored by the local toastmaster’s international district 7 (which is the district that covers from Northern California to about Longview Washington, about 4K or 5K toastmasters in that area).  The speaker’s topic was about mentoring and there was some good info given about mentoring too.  But one of the first items the speaker talked about was giving advice.

She mentioned in general, people usually don’t “like” to receive advice.  Especially unsolicited advice…if they receive advice, it is assumed by the giver of the advice that there is something wrong.  Even if you give advice, not many people will act upon the advice you given them or not fully.  So that got me thinking, how do you define “advice”?

Well good ole Wikipedia defines advice as “an opinion or recommendation offered as a guide to action”, which got me thinking of the times I gave advice.  Was I some expert in that area?  If so, why don’t others come to me.  How did I know if my advice is correct for the person I’m giving it to, in that situation.  Fact is, I don’t.  After some contemplation at the toastmasters meeting and rereading my notes, come to understanding that “advice” really is just another name for “opinion”.

Based on one’s own experience, one can inform another how he or she should proceed with a challenge or issue and with that explanation, presumably, the same or similar result will occur.  It gives a sense of relief to the receiver that this is the answer to their problem or challenge….but does it really work?  All it is is advice!

What do you think?


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