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Module 3: How to MECC

Ask, Assess, Advise and Assist (The 4 A's)

In order to support people to make lifestyle changes, there's an easy structure to remember....Ask, Assess, Advise and Assist (The 4 A's).


If you have the opportunity to start a conversation or respond to a comment / situation (such as a smoker’s cough, difficulty moving around or negotiating stairs) during your daily contact with someone, then ask.

"You mentioned about wanting to..."

"How do you feel about..."

"Do you have time for a quick chat about..."


You need to assess if now is the right time to continue your conversation, if not, try to leave the door open for another time instead.

"It sounds like you may be interested in making some changes..."

"Perhaps now isn't the right time to talk about this, but let me know if you need any information in the future..."


You can advise people of the key benefits of making a healthy lifestyle change and some top tips to achieve them.  However, it's important to understand the different key messages before offering advice and these are covered within the following pages.

"If you try to adopt some healthy lifestyle changes, such as stopping smoking or drinking sensibly, it can really help improve your, and your family's, health and wellbeing.  How would you feel about giving this a go..."

"Can you think of any benefits you and your family might see if you..."


In order to assist someone, you'll need to identify if they'd like any additional support to help them make their behaviour change.  If they do, it's a good opportunity to signpost them to relevant local or national services, information and support.  You'll find a range of helpful information on the Talk Community Directory.

“When you have time, perhaps take a look at this website..."

"Have a think about calling this number, as they'll be able to help..."

You may need to consider an 'exit strategy', if you realise the person you're talking to doesn't want to continue the conversation (this is similar to the assess element) or perhaps wants more information than you're able to offer.

"Maybe now isn't a good time for you, but if you do want to talk about it, I'm happy to help..."

"I might not be the best person to help with that, but I can put you in touch with..."

Disclaimer: Talk Community Directory has only carried out limited checks on the information providers submit to the website, for example to confirm it's in the appropriate format and all required fields have been completed. Therefore it isn't in a position to know if providers are qualified, licensed or able to meet the needs of individuals, it is the responsibility of each individual to assess if a provider is suitable. Whilst we regularly review our content to try and ensure it is accurate and up to date, we can't guarantee that the information supplied by providers is always current. View full disclaimer