When you’re given advice, here’s how to listen with an open mind

Edited excerpt from Advice or Criticism? by Seth Godin:

Here’s a simple way to process advice: Try it on.

Instead of explaining to yourself and to your advisor why an idea is wrong, impossible or merely difficult, consider acting out what it would mean. Act as if, talk it through, follow the trail. Turn the advice into a new business plan, or a presentation you might give to the board. Turn the advice into three scenarios, try to make the advice even bolder…

(1) In my experience, two factors enable you to listen to advice with an open mind: (i) Never forget that you are the decision maker. Whatever advice you get (and “try on”), the decision is still yours. (ii) Never give your opinion about the advice, or make a decision, on the spot. If you do that you’ll get you into an argument, and lose your feeling of being the decision maker.
(2) An application of this: never make decisions in board meetings.
(3) Note the similarity with the most effective advice for how to be a better listener — listen with intent to agree.
(4) Other advice from Seth Godin which we’ve implemented in Seeking Alpha: exhaustive lists.

6 thoughts on “When you’re given advice, here’s how to listen with an open mind

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