Good advice is a gift and great advice is a treasure. And sometimes, you might get advice that doesn’t work out. No matter how good someone else’s ideas are, they’ve offered something personal to you. They’ve given you a glimpse of what they’ve learned from the world, and that is something worth appreciating.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Tip 1: Before You Thank, Be Sure to Listen
- Tip 2: Ask Questions
- Tip 3: Acknowledge Their Advice and Thank Them for Their Time
- Tip 4: Consider Whether You’ll Take the Advice or Not
- Examples of ‘Thank You For The Advice’ Messages
- Tip 5: Follow up: Share What Happened After You Took Their Advice
- Tip 6: Consider Whether You Are Open to Future Advice
Thanking someone for their advice shows respect and gratitude, but you may not be sure how to do it when the moment comes. What do you say if you aren’t sure what you’re going to do with their advice yet? Or what if their recommendation doesn't make sense but you want to keep the conversation polite?
You’ll learn different ways to say thank you for advice and more in this guide.
Tip 1: Before You Thank, Be Sure to Listen
A well-executed thank you begins with good listening skills. You won’t know if the advice you get will be helpful until you hear it all.
Prepare yourself by considering a few things:
- Be open-minded about what the other person offers. No matter what you think of the advice at face value, your viewpoint may change over time. Focus on listening to details and making judgments later.
- How credible or reliable is the person giving advice? Plenty of people share unsolicited advice even when they lack knowledge on a topic. Their track record of making solid decisions and personal character makes a difference. These characteristics can tell you whether you should follow or ditch their advice. How much do you trust them? How likely are they to follow their own recommendations? What’s the motivation behind their advice?
- Try to listen all the way through before interrupting or asking questions. If the other person is being rude or tearing you down, feel free to walk away. Otherwise, listen without interruption or asking questions for as long as possible.
- Sum up what you heard and repeat it back. Check what you heard by giving the other person a quick summary. Whether you follow their advice or not, you want to be clear on the main message.
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Tip 2: Ask Questions
Asking questions helps you engage with the advice-giver and get down to the details of their ideas. This is vital, even if you have a hunch their advice is off-base for your situation.
You might also realize that their advice is a better fit than you originally thought. If you are truly uncertain about your next move, don’t promise anything and offer more appreciation than praise. It’s OK to keep your intentions vague when you’re gathering information.
The advice you get may come across as short and sweet. Dig a little deeper into their suggestions, especially if you’ve heard contrary advice elsewhere. Find out what they mean or why they think their ideas would help you. If they’re open to some conversation, you’ll learn a lot about whether their advice is a good match for your needs.
Even if you don’t take their advice, this sets up the genuine opportunity to thank them for their time.
Tip 3: Acknowledge Their Advice and Thank Them for Their Time
Many people who give advice do so because it makes them feel helpful. Their advice comes from their experience and perspective, so it’s a personal offering. When someone responds with, “how can I help,” understand and appreciate that their advice is an extension of themselves.
This is a vital part of thanking the person genuinely. Regardless of the quality of their advice, you can always comment on their effort to share and communicate.
Some people give advice in a sarcastic manner, making them sound rude or impatient. You might be tempted to snap back in the same manner, but consider being kind or at least neutral in return. The way they give advice can give you clues about their experiences behind it.
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Tip 4: Consider Whether You’ll Take the Advice or Not
This is the time to do a quick analysis of the advice you just received. Do this privately, if you can. Take a notebook or use a notepad app on your phone to jot down your thoughts. If you heard detailed advice from more than one person, you’ll want to keep track of several ideas.
Here are some questions to answer when analyzing the advice:
- Do you need advice right now at all?
- Are you OK for now? Will this advice help you later?
- What stood out about their advice, helpful or not?
- Does this advice line up with your values and needs?
- Do you need to seek other viewpoints or focus on your own thoughts?
- Does this advice give you more or less clarity about your situation?
- Do you see yourself doing the things the person recommended?
Examples of ‘Thank You For The Advice’ Messages
When someone opens up and shares their thoughts, you may feel pressured to decide whether you’ll take the advice immediately. Sometimes you can tell it’s the wrong answer for you even if the person intends to be helpful. In the end, make sure you leave the other person feeling appreciated, whether you take their advice or not.
If you plan on taking the advice:
- “Thanks so much, you’ve given me some really helpful ideas that I want to try.”
- “Thank you, I feel a lot better after talking with you.”
- “I was so stressed, I wasn’t sure what to do. Now I have a better idea, thanks so much.”
- “This was just the encouragement I needed. I’m definitely doing what you said.”
- “I had never thought about it that way, and I’m so glad we talked. I really appreciate your help.”
- “What you said about [Idea X], that really struck me. That might be the thing I really need to do. Thank you.”
If you don't plan on taking the advice or aren’t sure yet:
- “Thanks for your input. I appreciate it.”
- “Wow, you’ve given me a lot to think about, thank you.”
- “Thank you, and it sounds like that worked for you, but I’m not sure if it does for me.”
- “Thank you for sharing your experience and advice with me. Unfortunately because of [X, Y, and Z], that’s not an option for me.”
Tip 5: Follow up: Share What Happened After You Took Their Advice
Once you take someone’s advice and use it, a follow-up message offers the chance to bring more meaning to your situation. And it can deepen how you show your appreciation for the other person’s expertise. Be as specific as you can about the advice you received from this person.
Unless you talked very recently, the details may have faded in their memory. Set up your conversation by sharing how and why you approached them and how you interpreted their advice at that time.
You should also give a specific example or two about how their input made a difference for you. Tell a story or show the results you got, making the connection between their statements and your action. The more specific you can get, the bigger impact you can make on the person you got advice from.
If your outcome wasn’t what you or the other person expected, the act of discussing it can help both of you understand what happened. If you consider how often this person gives guidance to others, you’ll help them give even better advice in the future. Your example could be a pivotal story for the right person to hear as they continue sharing their expertise.
Tip 6: Consider Whether You Are Open to Future Advice
As you close your time with this person, consider whether you’re open to future advice from them. If you get the sense that you don’t agree with their viewpoint or want a second opinion, simply thank them for their time and conversation. You can be polite without signaling what you think of their recommendations just yet.
When you find someone’s advice valuable and you want to stay connected, make your intentions clear. End your conversation with a comment about how you hope to talk with them again in the future. When people feel that their input is valuable, they are more likely to accept a request for advice in the future. Take a bolder step and ask directly if it’s OK to contact them again later. Most people will take the polite route and say, “Sure, anytime,” or, “Yes, call or email me again if you have questions.”
If you get advice from someone who is asked frequently, they might offer other suggestions besides themselves. They may give you the name of a colleague or recommend another resource for good information. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing and doesn’t mean they’re brushing you off in the future. It’s likely part of their expertise and could be considered an extension of their advice.
Thanking Someone for Sharing Ideas and Advice
People often give advice because it makes them feel useful. True wisdom is hard-earned through experience, so sharing it can give meaning to their struggle.
But you don’t have to take someone's advice just because they share it. Some advice will be meaningful and truly helpful, and some won’t fit you at all. Either way, showing gratitude is a gracious way to honor someone’s gift of advice.
- Anderson, Natalie. “Are You Listening?” Roberts Wesleyan College, go.roberts.edu/leadingedge/are-you-listening