"The Listener" Lends An Ear

Everybody loves to talk, but does anyone really listen?

Peter Snyder does.

In fact, he calls himself "The Listener."

Every Sunday, he sits at his "listening post" in a New York City Park and listens to anyone who wants to talk.

And he does it for free.

Snyder dropped by The Saturday Early Show and not only listened — he talked!

"Honestly," he explained to weather anchor Lonnie Quinn, "I really believe listening is important, and we all listen to each other in the course of a day in our jobs, to your friends and family. We listen on the street so we can tell what's going on, but what if I listened for no defined reason at all? What if I listened to strangers, and I concentrate, and I try to give them the same attention that I would give to someone who is a close friend or family?"

It all started with an ad on Craigslist, and he makes appointments there for people to come be heard by him.

He says he averages two-to-four people each Sunday. "When I first began," he added, "on rainy days, sometimes no one would show up, but it's picked up. I think it takes a little time."

Snyder have five Rules of Listening for his sessions:

  • Thou shall talk as little or as much as you want.
  • Thou shall never share your name or age, address or personal information.
  • Thou shall know whatever you do share, I won't ever repeat.
  • Thou shall understand I will not use your personal information.
  • Thou shall have my services for free.

    Synder says listening can be an artL "I think it's a metaphor. You can raise certain everyday things to a level of art." He calls it "reflective listening."

    "I would say it's learning to not think about what we want to say next or advice," Synder points out, "and really trying to draw out of the person how they feel, and paying attention to emotionally what they're talking about, first of all, before we start — before you think about what you're going to say."

    To blog with Snyder, click here.