I used to help on a telephone line, ringing people who, for one reason or another, were isolated and welcomed someone ringing regularly for a chat.
We did not need to be anonymous and so could talk a little about home, family and interests. This made it a more enjoyable experience for both parties.
Here are a few pointers I saw recently and thought would help someone in a similar situation:
Face to face
- Face person squarely
- Have open posture
- Lean towards the person
- Eye contact
- Be relaxed
2 Keep in touch with own feelings and non-verbal behaviour.
3 Be genuine, be aware of own attitudes and values and how they influence others.
4 Show the following skills:
- Non-coercive invitation to talk.
- Brief indicators that you are with them, eg nods and verbal reinforcers.
- Not too many questions
- If you do pose a question - make them open: who, what, where, why, how.
- Reflecting feelings - the speakers, not your own
- talk at the same speed
- mirror their words
- lower your voice tone in order to make a point
On the Telephone
Clarify the problem
- treat the caller as responsible
- be aware of limitations: time, privacy, mine.
- Be warm, genuine, non-judgemental.
- Remember confidentiality
- Assess value of the talking.
- Ask lots of direct questions.
- Cut them off if they stray from the point
- Tell them they are talking too much
- Deal with the anxiety or fear behind the 'overtalking'.
If little or no talking:
- Talk less
- Ask open-ended questions
- Talk about things of interest to them.
- Reward the things he/she says.
- Deal with his/her anxiety.
- Be comfortable with silence.
- Give person permission to withhold.
- Give person space to vent his/her anger.
- Clarify what you will not do.
- Acknowledge their demand.
- Refer to appropriate person or group.
- Facial expressions
- Gestures, bodily movements
- Body posture
- Bodily contact
- Spatial behaviour
- Physical proximity
- Clothes and appearance
- Non-verbal aspects of speech
- Eye contact
- Head movements
- Timing and synchronisation
- Communicates attitudes and emotions
- Ritual, eg greetings, separation
- Supports verbal communication
- confirm or repeat
- deny or confuse
- strengthen or emphasise
- control or regulate