Over the years it's come to my attention that people - educated, accomplished, or just highly opinionated - tend to be very generous in giving advice. They mean well, for the most part, but they often don't weigh the outcome of their generosity.

Advice, like food, tastes better when one is hungry for it. Ever try and feed a baby or a child when they are not hungry? Compare that to feeding both when they have sufficient hunger. The difference is stark. The former will make them seem undesirous. The latter makes them seem ravenous.

When it comes to getting advice, people are the same way.

Men, unlike women, feel more compelled to give advice. Women often want to vent frustrations, anger, and a myriad of emotions about situations, and men want to offer advice on how to fix it. It's classic. The woman was never seeking solutions; she just wanted to vent. The advice went unnoticed because there was never a need or desire for it.

Women have an uncanny ability to share information, insight, experiences, troubles, and anxieties without seeking or offering advice. Men have an innate need to solve problems; their need to be competent problem solvers dates back to prehistoric times when their survival was contingent upon solving the problems of hunting and providing food for a family. It's instinctive.

Though it's rarely discussed, there is advice protocol that should be followed. It doesn't matter if the advice you want to give is of a personal or professional nature.

First, before you firmly assert yourself as all-knowing (which is perilously close to being a know-it-all), understand that no one cares how much you know, unless they know how much you care. If you really don't care if a person's situation can be enhanced or changed with your advice, don't bother.

It's more important that you show that you not only care about how a problem is plaguing someone, but that you have taken the time to understand the totality of the problem. In other words, fully comprehending it. This is accomplished by asking questions to get to the root of the problem.

Secondly, once you've established yourself as an empathetic listener, ask the person if they want advice. Leading with a question such as, "I totally understand your problem; I have some experience that may be helpful to you. Would you like some advice?"

This gives you the chance to gage their sincere interest in receiving advice. It's a simple premise: a person who is sincere about receiving advice, is more receptive to it.

On the flip side, a person who really takes the time to understand the nuances, backdrop, and context of a situation or problem, is more qualified to evaluate if they are truly qualified to offer advice.

When giving advice take these points into consideration and remember, sometimes an empathetic ear which understands and appreciates a problem, is just as helpful as a knowledgeable mind which is eager to dissect and solve it.

Author's Bio: 

Gian Fiero is a speaker and author who lectures throughout the country.