Seth Godin inadvertently gives all coaches, consultants and other professionals great advice on giving advice. Below is my version of Seth’s ideas:

Timing is everything

  • Don’t point out spelling mistakes in the first draft of a book.
  • Don’t tell someone you don’t think their product is going to sell the day before launch.

Give analysis and ask questions

What I want instead of your opinion is your analysis. It does me no good to hear you say, “I’d never pick that box up.” You can add a great deal of value, though, if you say, “The last three products that succeeded were priced under $30. Is there a reason you want to price this at $31?” Or, “We analyzed this market last year, and we don’t believe there’s enough room for us to compete. Take a look at this spreadsheet.” Or even, “That font seems hard to read. Is there a way to do a quick test to see if a different font works better for our audience?”

Compliment whenever you can

  • Be genuine
  • Point the parts your like best
  • Don’t just say you like something, explain why you like it

Don’t give advice unless asked

(I just realized that this works in personal situations as well. Perhaps I could use this advice once in a while.)