To Give And Receive – My Personal Advice Experiment

Personal Branding

This week, I chose a day where I was going to listen and be influenced by others. As one who has given a lot of advice over the years, I thought my “day of advice and recommendations” would be a great gauge to see if I was as open receiving it as I thought I was.


Putting it bluntly, I was not.

My “day” of advice

On my planned “day”, I sought advice/recommendations from friends, clients, a family member, the twitterverse, a neighbor, and an old business associate. The topics ranged anywhere from books to blogs, connections to creative input, and I told myself I would follow through on them all.

John Steinbeck spoke a large amount of truth when he said, “No one wants advice – only corroboration.” I’ve seen this be true for many people and now witnessed it within myself.

How unappealing is the person (and there are a few in your life right now) that asks for advice on a variety of occasions only to never use it? It alters your perception of them as a person. Now I had to ask myself, was I really that person?

Insights gathered from my “day”

The good news is that no matter the age, lessons can be learned. Here is what I learned from the exercise I encourage all of you to partake in:

1. People love giving advice/recommendations. Period. So ask for it when a fresh point of view could be helpful.

2. Don’t just ask anyone. The key is in the credibility of the sought. Only ask from those you find reliable in the area of which you seek advice.

3. Try to use the advice/recommendation a majority of the time you ask, it might surprise you. Remember you asked the person you did for a reason (if you follow #2). Trust their advice.

4. Follow up with your own feedback on their recommendation. It not only shows you valued their opinion enough to use it, but also shapes advice in the future.

When you value someone’s opinion/taste/intelligence, asking for his or her advice is a wonderful demonstrator. Showcasing a collaborative spirit or a lack of a “know it all” persona speaks volumes for your personal brand. The key is in actually using it. This exercise taught me that soliciting one’s advice might be more telling of one’s personal brand then giving it.

Try it for yourself and let me know how you do!


Katie Marston is a partner in VMGelement , a personal brand development company focusing on professional athletes. Follow her on Twitter at @ktmarston