- Remember listening is about listening, not talking. It sounds obvious but we so often want to join in! Sometimes all a person needs is to be heard.
- Whatever the person is saying try to empathise, have sympathy, even if you think it doesn’t matter.
- Keep an open mind to what they’re saying, try not to judge them.
- Listen to every word and paraphrase back parts of what that person has said.
- Think about what’s being said and what useful question would help them to process their thoughts to a higher level.
- Give them eye contact and if you have to check the classroom regularly to ensure everyone else is okay, make sure you do this quickly.
- Look attentive and interested, reassure them you’re listening by nodding, maybe saying ‘mmm’ sometimes.
- Try not to interrupt or impose solutions. People often try to help with comments such as: ‘I know how you feel’, which doesn’t help as you don’t actually know what it’s like to be anyone else. Or someone might say: ‘I wouldn’t worry’, even though the person speaking is clearly worried. Even suggesting solutions such as: ‘what I would do’ doesn’t really help, as the person talking needs to find their own solutions and sometimes this comes with simply talking out loud the problem and the listener just listening.
- Allow for silence, as the person might need time to process ideas and not everyone processes at the same rate.
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