Youth work is all about quality relationships.  A good youth worker needs to be a great listener.  So how do you do it?

Repeating back what someone is saying to you, or what’s known as “reflective listening,” is a great way to show that you’re really hearing what they say. Repeating their exact words like a parrot, however, is not always ideal.

People like good listeners, and knowing how to show you’re listening is a valuable skill. Dr. Travis Bradberry, the co-author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, explains the best way to do it:

When you practice reflective listening, don’t simply repeat the speaker’s words to her. Use your own words to show that you’ve absorbed the information.

Paraphrase and re-interpret what they’ve said so it’s clear their words are resonating with you and they aren’t just bouncing back to them. Parroting what they say can sometimes be worse than not saying anything at all.

You can find more listening tips at this great article from Entrepreneur – The 7 Things Great Listeners Do Differently