Ask For Personal Advice — Letter-Writing Tutorial


To ask someone for advice is a compliment, because you are expressing confidence in his or her opinion. That person should be worthy of your trust and be willing to keep your request confidential.


1. Explain immediately that you are requesting advice and express confidence that the reader is one who can help.


  • I am writing to ask your advice regarding my application to dental school. Jane Doe told me that your counsel to her was invaluable.
  • I need your advice regarding whether I should take a position in management or stay in sales. Since you can view me objectively, your insight would very valuable.
  • John, I am turning to you for your professional opinion regarding the purchase of a condominium in Springfield. You seem to be your company's expert on this.
  • I need some advice regarding a possible divorce. I know you received effective legal counsel last year, and I'd like to ask you a few questions.
  • Help! You're a dear friend who knows me better than anyone and I need your advice.
  • Since you have successfully changed your profession, I am hoping you can give me some advice on a career change.


  • am asking for your help because
  • am seriously considering
  • as to whether I should
  • ask for your advice
  • for your professional opinion
  • have a few questions
  • have a good view of
  • in view of your experience with
  • know better than anyone
  • may I impose on
  • need some advice about
  • regarding the purchase of a
  • regarding my application to
  • regarding a possible
  • turning to you for advice
  • would appreciate your counsel
  • would appreciate your advice
  • would be very valuable to
  • your insight would be
  • your ability to

2. Explain the problem in broad terms.


  • My problem is that my undergraduate degree has taken so long that most of the professors who know me and could advise me have left the university.
  • My major concern has to do with weighing the benefits of immediate financial gains against possible long-range opportunities.
  • My husband wants to place all of our property in my name, which makes me liable for the mortgages and debts.
  • I am wondering whether I should wait for interest rates to come down or whether I should make a move now.
  • I am concerned with how the courts determine custody of children.
  • I need to terminate a relationship with a friend who is becoming abusive.
  • My mother's health has deteriorated to the point where we are considering putting her in a rest home, but we don't know how to proceed.


  • am considering making some changes to
  • am looking into
  • am really worried about
  • am not sure how to approach
  • am having difficulties with
  • am seriously considering
  • am feeling pressured to
  • are planning to organize
  • concerned about the long-term implications of
  • have been struggling with
  • have recently received an offer of
  • have run into problems with
  • in serious financial trouble
  • my major concern is
  • need to make a final decision about
  • need to know
  • not sure what I should do
  • seems a wonderful opportunity
  • would like to explore my options

3. If necessary, suggest more detailed communication on the subject.


  • Rather than going into a lot of detail in a letter, I would like to meet with you for lunch to discuss my options.
  • Some of his comments lately make me think that we are in serious financial trouble.
  • One bank claims that interest rates will fall even lower so I should wait, while another is advising me to close the deal.
  • You know that my recent difficulty may make the courts less sympathetic to my case.
  • Several times during the past months his anger has escalated and he has threatened me with physical harm.
  • I need to know how to structure the estate so I can use funds to cover her care.


  • as soon as possible
  • at your convenience
  • at your earliest convenience
  • could I call you
  • could we meet at
  • discuss this with you
  • fill you in on the details
  • get together for
  • give you the full story when we meet
  • like to hear your experience with
  • like to meet with you
  • meet with you personally
  • please let me know when
  • take you to lunch
  • will call you
  • will tell you all about it
  • will be happy to
  • will set up an appointment
  • would appreciate the opportunity to
  • would like to discuss this
  • would you be available to
  • would be grateful if

4. Express anticipation for an answer.


  • I will be in Springfield on July 3, and would appreciate an opportunity to meet with you personally. I will call that morning to see if I can have an appointment.
  • Do you feel I should consult a lawyer, or should I wait and see if things work out?
  • I am anxious to know what you recommend, given my financial situation and the current economic trend.
  • I sincerely hope we can get together to talk about this. I need your input soon.
  • I look forward to hearing from you. I have to make some difficult decisions.
  • I'm not going to make any long-range decisions until I hear from you. Please call me soon.


  • am eager to know
  • can't wait to hear from you
  • could you meet me
  • give me a call
  • have to make a decision by
  • have lunch together
  • hope you will be able to
  • hope to hear from you soon
  • how do you suggest that I
  • if you would give me an appointment
  • leave a message
  • look forward to
  • sincerely hope that you can
  • to hear your opinion
  • to hear from you
  • until I hear from you
  • what you think I should
  • would appreciate your help
  • would be grateful for your
  • would like to know what you
  • would appreciate any insights

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