SHUSH listening tips

SHUSH listening tips

Samaritans wants to encourage people to listen to the really
important things their friends, family and colleagues need to tell
them, and to actually devote some time and attention to being
better listeners.

When people feel listened to, it can save a life.

Become a better listener with our SHUSH listening tips.

Show you care

Focus on the other person, make eye contact, put away your phone.

Have patience

It may take time and several attempts before a person is ready to open up.

Use open questions

Use open questions that need more than a yes/no answer, and follow up with questions like "Tell me more".

Say it back

Check you’ve understood, but don’t interrupt or offer a solution.

Have courage

Don’t be put off by a negative response and, most importantly, don’t feel you have to fill a silence.

Samaritans’ Listening Tips – or SHUSH - have been devised using the 60 years of expertise in listening Samaritans has built up through its workforce of more than 20,000 volunteers.

SHUSH is Samaritans’ starting point for you to be a better listener. When I speak to people as a volunteer, I use these tips to create the necessary space for people to talk. As another benefit, my personal relationships have been transformed by my ability to be a better listener. You have to practise and you have to make them a habit but print them out and use them. I can guarantee you will learn new things about those around you.

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Download our SHUSH listening tips

If you think our SHUSH listening tips are useful, you can download them for your mobile here or download our full PDF versions here.