How do you listen

How do you listen

I’ve had a wonderful day, delivering an Effective Listening Course, as part of my volunteering with One2One Listening Service in Preston. The course was written by Acorn, who I’ve trained with to deliver this training.

We had fun, we shared stories about being listened to well, and when we weren’t listened to. Everyone, even the two trainers who led the session, developed their listening skills during the day.

One of the most powerful sessions, today, was the session, called, “How do I listen?”. This section is starting to get people to think about themselves, and the effect they have on others. The trainer reads the following words, so as you read this, hear the words in your head, as if you were listening to them:

When I ask you to listen and you start giving me advice, you have not done what I asked. When I ask you to listen to me and you begin to tell me why I shouldn’t feel that way, you are trampling on my feelings. When I ask you to listen to me and you feel you have to do something to solve my problems, you have failed me – strange as that may seem.

Listen! All I ask of you is that you listen, not talk or do, just hear me. Advice is cheap.

When you do something for me that I can and need to do, for myself, you contributed to my fear and inadequacy; but when you accept as a simple fact that I do feel what I feel no matter how irrational, then I can stop trying to convince you and get down to the business of understanding what’s behind them. And when that’s clear, the answers are obvious and I don’t need advice. Perhaps that’s why prayer is so important for some people – God listens and stays with us but doesn’t give advice all the time or try to fix things. God listens and gives us the power to work things through for ourselves, but I need you to be with me too. So please, just listen. If you want to talk, wait a few minutes for your turn and I’ll listen to you.

Anonymous writer

What are you immediate reactions when you ‘hear’ this? Do you think you could listen better tomorrow?


Acorn runs training and events for the facilitation of personal and community well-being for individuals and organisations, at their retreat centre in Bordon, Hampshire, and across the country.

Effective Listening Practice, is module 1 in a Listening Pathway to train professional Listeners to support those who need to be heard in their communities.

Listening is a recognised talking therapy, recognised by healthcare professionals.

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