“If we just took one day, just one day where everyone had the chance to really listen to each other… Maybe we could shift a little towards understanding…Humans are built to take in each other’s experience and reflect it back in a deeper way. We are meant for listening, dialogue, processing the feelings of another.” – Greg Madison

Keep Oregon Well partnered with Sidewalk Talk  and Jenny Kepler to host a World Day of Listening event in Portland! A team of seven listeners set up chairs on the corner of SW 4th & Salmon from 11 am to 1 pm, welcoming anyone passing by to sit down and chat. Keep Oregon Well Street Team member, Holli shared this reflection.

“Listening to, and connecting with, random individuals in our community was an amazing experience. Each person that stopped for ‘free listening’ seemed delighted just to be heard. Not just heard, but truly listened to. The impact of brief 15 minute conversations was felt in every interaction that was had by both the listener and speaker.  It was an honor to hear personal stories while offering a supportive and a caring ear. Sidewalk Talk and Keep Oregon Well Volunteers genuinely invested in each person that sat down to speak. It was a great reminder to the community of how validating and wonderful it feels to be heard.”

We are looking forward to the next listening event! Where will the #KeepOregonWell Street Team be next? Click here to find out.

Watch Sidewalk Talk’s  Listener Training:

Here are a few Listening Tips from Sidewalk Talk:

  1. Listen without judgment or agenda
  2. Listen for understanding
  3. Empathize
  4. Let the talker know you’re following by nodding your head and simple verbal responses.
  5. Do not offer advice or share your story beyond what it takes for your talker to feel that you are a fellow human. This time is for them.
  6. Reflect what it’s like to listen to them and be with them.
  7. Feel free to let the person know if you need to wrap up with them. Aim for 10-15 minutes per person. If someone clearly needs to talk more, give them a referral or ask one of the therapists present for help.



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