Talking Beyond Talk #8: Advise for Credibility

soundwave advise voice for credibility

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An Advisory on the Advise Voice 

As humans, we are characterised by our need to share and draw on the experiences of others. Our way of imparting this wisdom takes form in our interactions through our advise voice. It takes a gentle, almost modest approach, giving us the best gift in times of uncertainty: answers.

In everyday life, the sound of this voice is ubiquitous.  We see it present in the old wives’ tales and fables that we grew up with. It is the voice of the professional classes. It tells those around us that our training and experience are here to provide you with ready answers, often addressing technical problems you face that you simply don’t have the time to research. Examples of where we advise for credibility would be “In my opinion, you’ve got two options”. Or perhaps “Career choices for someone with your qualifications fall into two broad categories. From what I can see, this might work better for you.”

Whereas at one time only kings and queens would have advisors, today—as a result of economic growth and the complex division of labour that characterises capitalist economies—advise is a part of survival as well as growth.

Advise Voice: The Hidden Power

In SoundWave, we refer to the advise voice as the brilliance of gifting answers. It is the voice that helps people out, to move things along effectively on the basis of previously known experience or well-established answers. Sharing this expertise reduces the amount of time other people might spend struggling to find answers for themselves. Quite often, the motive is to help, to be of service. Its power goes way beyond the simple offering of options.


At one level, this ‘gifting of answers’ is all around us so it’s easy to miss the full impact of its brilliance. Just listen to the frequency with which we advise friends and family what they should do. Note also the sheer number of helpful expert sources there are available (medical, financial, legal) geared to helping us to find answers quickly.

Words of wisdom are better taken in when they come from people who we know are experienced in their craft. And that is why the impact of the advise voice results in credibility—the more experience you carry, the more trustworthy your advise can be!

Using the Advise Voice Too Much, And Too Little 

Conversations are about intentions, and with the advise voice, we generally mean well. However in our bid to be helpful, we may overstep boundaries and risk its overuse, especially when it is unsolicited. As a result, the people around us may experience it as patronising or covertly directing them, risking their displeasure and irritation.

However, this doesn’t mean that we should shy away from advising. A failure to use the advise voice where it is necessary results in a lost opportunity to establish credibility and be of service.

It’s also important to note that the advise voice—with its prescriptive nature—can create subtle forms of dependence between you and your team members. Advice is seductive for the receiver and makes the provider feel good; it’s satisfying for all parties. Beware of the risk of dependence!

How Can We Advise For Credibility Skilfully?

As we’ve mentioned earlier, the advise voice is the brilliance of gifting answers.

What makes a great gift? It’s the thought that goes behind it, especially when it addresses a need that you have. It shows people that you have been noticing them, taking effort to know about them, and making them feel seen and understood.

In this way, we can apply the principles of gift-giving towards advising for credibility with skill. Our advise voice should be used to exude thoughtfulness, relevance, necessity and a drive to action. This starts from self-awareness—of our own tendencies and way of communication—as well as a skilful combination of diplomacy, patience and tact.

To fully exploit the brilliance of the advise voice, it is important for us to:

  1. Check on the receptivity of the other party, and be alert for signs of indifference—what do they need, and when do they really need it?
  1. Be mindful of the areas and depths of your own expertise, taking particular care to ensure that you don’t impose this on others.
  1. Listen for the nature of the issue to know what is being called for, and ensure that your advise carries an informed point of view and can benefit others.

When the advise voice is used well, both parties stand a chance to benefit. Those who give, wield a soft influence, while adding to their repertoire of experience to draw from. Those who receive not only develop better solutions, they also have better nuance and texture to their thinking. In this way, it is clear that skilful use of the advise voice goes beyond imparting wisdom; it is an ongoing conversation and a form of creative collaboration. And isn’t that what conversation is all about?

Do you have the brilliance of gifting answers? Take our SoundWave Brilliance 3 Communication Assessment to find out your top preferred voices

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Maalikka is the latest addition to SoundWave's team of marketing and content extraordinaries. As an avid reader, writer and learner, she’s always on the lookout for new information online or interesting conversations to inspire her. Her other passions include gaming, Netflix, and cats.

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