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  LiveWire / My Forums / Viewing Peer Listener Handbook

Helping People with Decision Making
Republished with permission from the Whitman College Peer Listener Handbook
Note: The handbook is an excellent resource, especially when listening in person,
however it does not perfectly mesh with LiveWire's "Peer Answers" philosophy.
As a listener, your responsibility is to help the person find their own solution. You do not give advice or tell them what to do. Use the decision-making model with open questions.


  • What's the problem?
  • How do you want this situation to change?
  • So what's bothering you is...
  • What have you tried already?
  • What are you thinking about doing?
  • Have you ever been in this situation before? What did you do?
  • What else do you think you could do?
  • Could anyone else help you with this?
  • What have others you've talked with suggested?
  • What do you think would happen if you...
  • What might keep you from trying...
  • What would other people say/do if you did that?
  • What do you see that's good about that idea?
  • What do you see that's bad about that idea?
  • That sounds like you think it will work right now. What might happen in the long run if you did that?
  • On the other hand, ____________________ might also happen.
Decision-Making Factors
  • What do you think feels best?
  • What do you think you should do?
  • What are other people telling you to do?
  • What would you be comfortable trying?
  • How are you feeling about... ?

  • Do you want me to go with you to _________________?
  • Can I help you to do _________________?
  • When do you think you'll try this?
  • If it's okay with you, I'd like to check back with you to see how you're doing?
  • What worked?
  • What did not worked?
  • What can you do differently to make the plan go better?
Remember to used open questions and listening skills throughout the discussion.

Things to Avoid

  • You should...
  • If I were you, I'd...
  • Why don't you...
  • It's easy!
  • Just...
  • When this happened to me I...

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