3 keys to giving advice

LegalJob was recently asked what makes a superstar associate.  There are several items – sound judgment, the ability to present complex issues in a straightforward manner, etc. but one of the most important skills is the ability to give advice to partners and clients in a helpful manner.  Follow the three keys below for best results:

  1. Understand that the value to your advice is not in direction but in information.  
    So, the appropriate next step or “the answer” is not as helpful as providing sufficient and relevant information from which the person can make an informed, thoughtful decision.
  2. Listen more than you talk.  
    When asked to offer advice, first do not offer advice.  Listen and then listen some more.  Before dispensing advice, ask questions to help you understand the problem and to help the person seeking advice understand the problem.
  3. Inform more than you advise.  
    Do the work (such as reading and understanding the law and policy where statutes are ambiguous), be patient, and do not jump to conclusions.  Then, provide value by taking the welter of considerations and sorting them out but stop short of making recommendations (unless and until asked).

Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net