Getting a second opinion is the act of testing out the advice that one expert gives you with a similarly qualified opinion of another. Second opinions can be sought in any aspect of life where you depend on information someone else possess.
You may be renovating your bathroom and determining whether your plans could realistically be brought to fruition. Other times you may feel as though your physician didn’t fully listen to your recital of the symptoms you felt, and may have misdiagnosed your illness.
The principal goal in getting a second opinion about a certain specialized topic is to ensure that the information you act on is accurate and of a high standard. In keeping with that goal, your interactions with the person who provides a second opinion are important to think about.
The information you disclose to that individual can go on to unnaturally alter their opinion. The way you interact with those who give you a second opinion can thereby either influence them to improve your understanding of the situation at hand, or serve to muddy it even more.
This article hopes to maximize the accuracy and truthfulness of the second opinions you receive.
Study Everything About the First Opinion
Prior to going in for a second opinion on your topic of choice. Ensure that you’ve studied everything about the first opinion you were provided with. A good goal to strive for in this regard would be to be able to express that first opinion as if it were your own.
If the first expert at hand made certain judgments and assumptions, know which ones were made. Understand what evidence backs up the opinions of the first expert you spoke with, and how they came to the conclusions that they did. On your own, be able to accurately restate the educated opinion that first expert provided.
Rather than challenging the person giving you a first opinion if you disagree with it, simply yearn to understand every facet of their position. Have a keen eye on what they understood about the your situation themselves. Study the suggestions they made in depth and be able to draw the connections from evidence to the suggested courses of action on your own.
Don’t Unveil to the Second That You Got a First
Once you’ve completely, and unbiasedly, understood the opinions of the first expert you spoke with, it’ll be time to seek a second opinion. Having armed yourself with the best version of the first opinion as you can recite, you’d now be able to effectively compare, contrast, and choose between the two opinions at play.
In an effort to have the second opinion be as uninterrupted as it can be, refrain from explaining that you’ve come in to get a second opinion on the subject matter at hand. If at all possible, make the people giving you second opinions feel as though they are the first ones you went to.
The purpose of making these people feel as though they are first in their presentation of their expert opinion, is to not encourage them to feel a sense of competition in any way. By unveiling that they are the second person you went to for an opinion, they’d understand you to not be happy with the first. They would thereby feel a sense of pressure to impress you with their opinion as it compares to the first opinion you received.
You could be doing more damage than good once you unveil your act of getting a second opinion on the matter. It is in your best interest to even the playing field between both opinions in terms of the uninterrupted source they come from. The differences between the second and first opinion will be more meaningful if the second does not know about the first. A potential similarity between the two opinions will leave you confident that the proposed advice is the right course of action.
Compare the Differences Between the First and the Second Live
As the second opinion is presented without the knowledge of the first existing, you’d now be able to compare and contrast what you learned from the first with the second. Once you feel that you’ve received the second opinion in its entirety, you’d now be able to ask questions about things you’ve heard from the first.
At this juncture, you’ll be able to unveil the fact that you received a first opinion prior to this second one. As you do, inquire into the differences between the two opinions you heard. Start asking this second expert on areas on which they differed from the first opinion. If their opinion largely differs from the first opinion you heard, ask the second expert what may explain those differences in opinion.
Venture into the details of comparing and contrasting the differences between the two opinions that you heard with the second expert. Ensure that you don’t implicitly assume a disagreeable tone when dealing with the person giving you a second opinion. Simply explain that you seek to better understand the differences for your own good and that you’re in no way attempting to discredit the individual you speak with.
You’d be more able to inquire into these differences since you would have studied the first opinion thoroughly. Utilize the explanations that the second expert gives you about why the two opinions you heard are different to make an informed decision.
In the News
You can read our analyses of current events by becoming a Patron.