Top Ten Listening Tips For Accidental Counsellors

An important part of the Accidental Counsellor Training is to listen well.

Here’s a list of ten top listening tips.

  • Pay attention: Focus on the speaker and what they are saying verbally and non verbally rather than letting your mind wander.
  • Avoid interrupting: Let the speaker finish their thoughts before jumping in with your own comments or questions.
  • Show interest: Use nonverbal cues, such as nodding or maintaining eye contact, to indicate that you are engaged in the conversation.
  • Avoid distractions: Turn off your phone or any other distractions that may take your focus away from the conversation.
  • Reflect back: Paraphrase in your own words rather than parrot back what the speaker has said to show that you are listening and understand their perspective.
  • Ask questions: Try to avoid asking questions as it can interrupt the speaker. However, in the Accidental Counsellor we do talk about asking strengths based solution focused questions when appropriate.
  • Empathise: When we empathise, hopefully we are still being quick to listen not quick to speak. Put simply, empathy is the ability to step into another person’s shoes and feel what they feel. It isn’t, however, the same as sympathy.
  • Sympathy is about having an emotional response to someone – but one that isn’t shared with them. Empathy’s that extra step of thinking ‘what is it really like to be the other person with their experiences and their view of the world? How would I feel if I was going through this?
  • Be patient: Allow the speaker the time they need to fully express themselves.
  • Practice active listening: This means fully engaging with the speaker by acknowledging, validating and normalising how they are feeling.

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