Being a Good Listener

When someone is in emotional distress, being a good listener can make a huge difference to the person in crisis. You may need to listen and respond in a way which is different to how you would usually interact with that person.

Verbal Listening Skills

Pay attention and do not interrupt. Ask questions to clarify points and summarise what they have said to show you have understood. Check out a person’s feelings which they are expressing: try asking “How does that make you feel?” and listen to the response without minimising or dismissing their feelings.  Express your genuine concern for their wellbeing.

Body Language

Be attentive, but keep your eye contact comfortable. Sitting side by side, for example in a car, on a bench, or out on a walk can make it feel less intimidating. Be careful not to invade the person’s personal space. Keep an open body position and sit down if possible.

Non Judgemental Listening

Accept the person as they are and put aside your own feelings. Make no moral judgement about their situation and resist the urge to analyse or fix the problem.


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