429: Encouragement vs Advice
The Startup Chat with Steli and Hiten
In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about encouragement vs advice and the importance of encouragement.
This episode comes after a recent tweet by Hiten about the power of encouragement and the impact it can have on the person who is being encouraged.
In today’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about the definition of encouragement, why this tweet resonated strongly with Steli, the best thing we can do for other people when it comes to giving advice and much more.
Time Stamped Show Notes:
00:00 About today’s topic.
00:39 Why this topic was created.
01:13 What prompted Hiten to share this thought.
03:04 How we really can’t do much to get somebody else to do something.
03:42 What people tend to care about.
04:03 How Hiten hardly does anything with great advice he gets.
04:59 The best thing we can do for other people.
06:00 Why this tweet resonated with Steli.
06:30 The definition of encouragement.
06:41 How Steli typically sees encouragement.
3 Key Points:
We really can’t do much to get somebody else to do somethingYou don’t really care about my opinion and that’s ok.Some of the best advice I’ve gotten, I haven’t done anything with.
Steli Efti: Hey, everybody, this is Steli Efti.
Hiten Shah: And, this is Hiten Shah.
Steli Efti: Today on The Startup Chat we're going to talk about encouragement versus advice. And here's why we want to talk about this. It's because you'd recently tweeted about it, Hiten. You had a few really interesting things to say about the power of encouragement and how the advice you were giving to people, how potentially the impact of that advice was more the encouragement that you were giving people versus just the pure advice itself. I responded really strongly when I read that. Probably... Well, I'll get to that a bit later. There's probably a few biases or things going on on my end, why that really stood out. But I wanted to unpack that. I saw that a lot of people actually responded to this tweet. So first and foremost, what prompted you sharing this thought or having this thought and talking about the difference between encouragement and advice and the importance of encouragement?
Hiten Shah: So most writing, whether it's tweets or blog posts have been marinating in your head for a while, right? That's just usually what it is. I mean, they might feel impulsive at the time, especially if it's a tweet, but generally they marinate for a while. So one thing is, I mean, just like you, I've given a lot of advice in my life, or what I thought was advice, to the point of the tweet. And I was actually in LA, I was speaking to a bunch of product people in LA. And someone came up to me after and said... Well, she also emailed me after. So I'll share the line from the email that's relevant. She said, "As I told you in person, I had been feeling less motivated than usual. And since your discussion, I've been back to my jazzed/motivated itself. So thank you for that." And I don't know what I did. I was just speaking. So I gave a presentation. Actually, I was speaking for a while that day, but the two things I did she saw where, I gave a presentation and I moderated a panel back to back. And for whatever reason, that's what she said. And she also said, "It was an amazing meeting," and amazing all caps. So this was the latest event that happened. I didn't actually give her any advice except whatever she heard from the presentation and the panel. And I've asked people in the past about my advice, more recently, people that I've given a lot of advice to or I've known for a while and gotten their feedback on it. And I think we really can't do much to get somebody else to do something. We just can't. And that's a hard thing for some of us who give advice.
In this episode
Smash Notes summary for this episode
How can I force myself to write a blog post?
According to Steli Efti from Close.com, best writing, be that a tweet or a blog post, marinate in your head for a while, until one day you finally feel inspired to write it down.
Why is encouragement more important than advice?
More likely than not you cannot force anyone to do anything. Even close friends might listen to your advice and not do anything about it. This mean you can either (a) chose to not give any more advice or (b) accept this as a fact and continue encouraging people to do the right thing, whether or not they actually follow through.
What is the meaning of "encouragement"?
The dictionary definition of "encouragement" is the action of giving someone support, confidence and hope.
It might be easy to believe that someone who is encouraging is then a person who is telling people positive things, things like "You are special" or "You can do it," or "This is going to work out" ...ect.
Yet, In case of Hiten Shah, that's not the case. He says he can be quite harsh. However, people don't seem to mind and in fact, say they get confidence and hope through his methods.
Encouragement is the action of providing support, but support can be given in many ways, and it does not have to be overly positive.
Which advice is the right advice?
When you are helping other people, it is easy to get past the emotion of a decision and to give straight factual advice. However, more likely than not, that's a wrong way to go about it.
Next time someone comes to you for advice, instead of jumping to conclusions and giving them prescriptive advice on what to do, listen and have compassion, mimic their feelings and reflect back, provide encouragement.
It might be tempting to ignore their feelings, but you should acknowledge those feelings instead. Get people to open up.
Here is how to choose what type of advice to give, for each situation:
- Hope, for a really crappy situation when nothing else helps.
- Confidence, for a situation where the outcome is unknown.
- Support, for an emotionally tough place.