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Using Unique Message Testing Technique to Find the Best Piece of Advice

Message testing advice"Become the known." My parents have given me plenty of great advice over the years, but this is my dad's favorite. If a new restaurant opens in town, he's on a first name basis with the owner within a week; at a large social gathering, he'll make a new friend in no time. While in these situations I usually prefer to remain just a face in the crowd, he encourages me to step forward and make myself known.

Recently, someone sent me a list of 50 pieces of advice being shared on social media (although "become the known" didn't make the cut!). This got me thinking – what are the best pieces of advice out there?

I set out to answer this question using TRC's online panel and our message testing Bracket™ technique. Through this tournament-style approach, we asked 500 respondents ages 25+ to choose the best (and worst) pieces of advice from this list of 50 items. Click here to see the full list. Our results were calculated at the respondent level, then aggregated and normalized on a 100-point scale.

So, what advice did our participants like best overall? The top 10 pieces of advice, in order of relative performance, were:

1. Show respect for everyone who works for a living, regardless of how trivial their job.
2. Remember, no one makes it alone. Have a grateful heart and be quick to acknowledge those who helped you.
3. Never waste an opportunity to tell someone you love them.
4. Never deprive someone of hope; it might be all they have.
5. Take charge of your attitude. Don't let someone else choose it for you.
6. Don't burn bridges. You'll be surprised how many times you have to cross the same river.
7. Count your blessings.
8. Choose your life's mate carefully. From this one decision will come 90 percent of all your happiness or misery.
9. Never give up on anybody. Miracles happen every day.
10. Loosen up. Relax. Except for rare life-and-death matters, nothing is as important as it first seems.

While I think #1 is a great piece of advice, it's not necessarily one I expected to rise to the top for the general population (though two of my favorites did - #3 and #10). Fortunately, Bracket™ allows us to dig deeper to understand preferences by key subgroups.

As it turns out, #1 resonates most for respondents ages 55 and up (particularly so for ages 65+). It's also the highest ranked among females and those with a household income under $50,000.

Our respondents ages 25 to 54 identify most with #3: "Never waste an opportunity to tell someone you love them." And for male respondents, #6 stands out: "Don't burn bridges. You'll be surprised how many times you have to cross the same river."

Of course, no one piece of advice fits all. But while the order varies across demographic groups, these 10 items rise to the top for nearly everyone.

What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?

A complete list of 50 pieces of advice

- Have a firm handshake.
- Look people in the eye.
- Sing in the shower.
- Own a great stereo system.
- If in a fight, hit first and hit hard.
- Keep secrets.
- Never give up on anybody. Miracles happen every day.
- Always accept an outstretched hand.
- Be brave. Even if you're not, pretend to be. No one can tell the difference.
- Whistle.
- Avoid sarcastic remarks.
- Choose your life's mate carefully. From this one decision will come 90 percent of all your happiness or misery.
- Make it a habit to do nice things for people who will never find out.
- Lend only those books you never care to see again.
- Never deprive someone of hope; it might be all they have.
- When playing games with children, let them win.
- Give people a second chance, but not a third.
- Be romantic.
- Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know.
- Loosen up. Relax. Except for rare life-and-death matters, nothing is as important as it first seems.
- Don't allow the phone to interrupt important moments. It's there for our convenience, not the caller's.
- Be a good loser.
- Be a good winner.
- Think twice before burdening a friend with a secret.
- When someone hugs you, let them be the first to let go.
- Be modest. A lot was accomplished before you were born.
- Keep it simple.
- Beware of the person who has nothing to lose.
- Don't burn bridges. You'll be surprised how many times you have to cross the same river.
- Live your life so that your epitaph could read, "No Regrets."
- Be bold and courageous. When you look back on life, you'll regret the things you didn't do more than the ones you did.
- Never waste an opportunity to tell someone you love them.
- Remember, no one makes it alone. Have a grateful heart and be quick to acknowledge those who helped you.
- Take charge of your attitude. Don't let someone else choose it for you.
- Visit friends and relatives when they are in the hospital; you need only stay a few minutes.
- Begin each day with some of your favorite music.
- Once in a while, take the scenic route.
- Send a lot of Valentine cards. Sign them, "Someone who thinks you're terrific."
- Answer the phone with enthusiasm and energy in your voice.
- Keep a note pad and pencil on your bedside table. Million-dollar ideas sometimes strike at 3 a.m.
- Show respect for everyone who works for a living, regardless of how trivial their job.
- Send your loved ones flowers. Think of a reason later.
- Make someone's day by paying the toll for the person in the car behind you.
- Become someone's hero.
- Marry only for love.
- Count your blessings.
- Compliment the meal when you're a guest in someone's home.
- Wave at the children on a school bus.
- Remember that 80 percent of the success in any job is based on your ability to deal with people.
- Don't expect life to be fair.

Comments

  • Guest
    michele Friday, 19 December 2014

    When I was in sixth grade, my school offered a typing course. My mother is a registered nurse, and at that time didn't need (or have) any typing skills. She told me I should learn to type because it will help me later on in life. She even bought my sister and me manual typewriters, which were later replaced by fancy electric ones. Looking back, boy was she right. My sister and I have jobs in which we spend most of our day hunched over a computer keyboard. Being a fast typist means I can spend my time thinking about the work I'm doing, and not struggling to get the words on the page.

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Guest Thursday, 21 November 2019

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