How to Share Experience Instead of Teach & Get Better Results

I’ve learned something that’s changed how I approach any question I get, be it entrepreneurial or otherwise.

It’s something Ryan Carson shared when talking about an entrepreneur’s support org he’s found helpful.

Instead of heading towards an advice route — using words like should and ought — lean on your personal story and experiences. Here are some tips from a pdf I found.

  • Use the past tense.
  • Say, “Here’s what worked for me…,” which is far better than making “should statements” such as “Here’s what you should do…” or starting comments with “I would.”
  • Empathize. Strive to understand the situation from the presenter’s point of view. Remember that no one else has to live with the consequences, and what works for one person will not necessarily work for another.
  • Ask questions to lower others’ defenses. Try to explain the purpose of your question before asking it. Don’t treat the presenter like a defendant.
  • Paraphrase before you respond. Confirm what you think you heard before you reply. This ensures that you respond to what was said, not what you think was said.

It takes the pressure off. There’s so rarely a right answer. And the best course of action is so often whatever course removes the pressure on the questioner and gets them moving and shaking and digging and doing to solve their own problem. What a great tool this is.