SHUSH listening tip 3: Use open questions

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

Use open questions

An open-ended question means not jumping in with your own ideas about how the other person may be feeling.

These questions are objective and require a person to pause, think and reflect and then hopefully expand. Avoid asking questions or saying something that closes down the conversation. Open-ended questions encourage them to talk, the conversation is a safe space that you are holding for them and nothing they say is right or wrong. Try asking, how are you feeling today?


I try to remember asking one open-ended question a day. Asking an open question like this demonstrates that you want to listen to the person and that you care.

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Use open questions - number 3 of Samaritans' listening tips