Learn to Listen

The number 1 skill you need to help and connect with anyone

There is a big difference between listening to someone and really hearing what they are saying. When people first come to CENS they often feel as if no one has taken the time to understand them. Feeling unheard, misunderstood or ignored is so detrimental to anyone’s self-esteem. We at CENS feel the very least we can do is give everyone a non-judgemental space for them to talk.

The project workers have to build a rapport with the residents to ensure they get the right support. If residents don’t feel we are listening, their needs may go unmet which could lead to repeat in the cycle of homelessness.

And that’s why CENS are helping to promote the Samaritans campaign Talk to Us, which is about the importance of being a good listener. They suggest trying the following, how do you fare?:

Listen with attention

Become aware of your body language and your focus – things like making eye contact, putting your phone away and focusing completely on the other person. If you’re talking to someone on the phone, try doing it in a quiet place.

Let them do the talking

Don’t be afraid of silences. Pauses are fine, you don’t need to jump in and fill them all. They may need that time to reflect on how they’re feeling and gather their thoughts. Try not to put your own interpretation on what the other person is saying, and repeat back what they say so it shows you’re listening.

Check in on loved ones

You could make checking in with family and friends a priority. Bare in mind that it can take a while for people to open up.

For more information, visit the Samaritans or call 116 123