Tell People How--not Just What--to Do

Yesterday I sat through a meeting that had a lot of advice like, “learn about X” and “enjoy everyday!” These soundbites sound nice, but they’re not particularly helpful. One of my favorite examples is someone saying, “don’t be dumb!” If I am acting dumb, I may not know how to act smart! Telling a homeless person to “get a job, Al” won’t help if Al doesn’t know how to get a job in the first place.

In general, I think the advice can be made better by including a simple how-to. So, our original examples would transform into something like, “learn about X by reading Y and talking to Z” and “enjoy everyday by doing something you love for a few minutes before work.”

It is far too easy to fall into the trap of giving broad advice that most people know; I challenge you to elevate your audience (and yourself) by giving tips on how to get started with that advice.