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USF Counseling Center - Effective Listening and Helping Skills

Stashed in: Be yourself., Listen!, Empathy, Awesome, Remind Me, Body Language, Keep calm., Life Hacks, Psychology

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This mostly fits very well with my research & experience except for the "silence is golden" part.

Silence is golden is bad?

No, it's definitely not bad.  But I don't think that it's helpful to allow long pauses to happen in the conversation.  I can't remember a time when I found that helpful, and often, the silence came across as cold, uncaring, even as if I were being looked down upon.  I'm glad that you liked the main gist of the post!

I did.

If it's done right, being silent gets the other person to talk more.

If I break the silence, I ask a question rather than make a statement, and then I listen to the answer.

Yes, that is what I strongly prefer, without the long silences. 

I do like these Effective Listening/Helping Skills


Use a relaxed but attentive posture.

Convey a sense of welcome, acceptance, and respect by maintaining comfortable eye contact, speaking softly and reassuringly, and maintaining an “open” body posture (e.g., try not to cross your arms or legs).

Respect personal space and do not move toward an agitated person.

Be yourself (genuine and real); however, suspend judgment and attempt to be accepting of another’s rights to his/her point of view.

Try to convey a calm demeanor; remember that help is always a phone call away.


Try to put your own thoughts and feelings aside to better understand the other person’s frame of reference.

Listen for underlying feelings and meanings in the content of the message.

Listen for non-verbal components of communication (tone of voice, posture, eyes) than can also give information about how the person may be feeling.

Remember that silence can be golden so try to resist the temptation to initiate dialogue if there are brief lapses in the conversation.

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