Resolutions for Better Listening in 2019
Are you still looking for a New Year’s resolution in 2019? Here’s one New Year’s resolution that everyone can benefit from: being a better listener. Listening is the foundation of healthy relationships of all types because it allows us to connect and to understand each other’s needs and desires. Listening helps us feel cared for and about, and to show our care for others more deeply.
So how can we be better listeners in 2019? Here are some resolutions that you can use to become a better listener in 2019:
- Resolve to listen more actively. Active listening is different from passive listening because it shows the speaker that you’re taking an interest in what they are saying. You can be a more active listener by repeating important parts of what the speaker is saying in your head while the speaker is speaking. For example, names and dates can be easy to forget, but if you repeat them in your mind when you hear them, then you’ll be more likely to remember them and you can use these names in your follow-up questions to the speaker to show that you were really listening and taking an active interest in their words. In addition, making eye contact and nodding while a person is speaking can help them feel heard. Put that phone away and peel your eyes away from the TV while others are talking to you to show that people come before electronics. It seems like a small gesture, but it can mean a lot in our hyper-connected world.
- Resolve to listen to body language. Sometimes, listening isn’t about hearing words. Listening can be about noticing a person’s unspoken communications. Try to notice if those you’re speaking with seem tired or sad. Noticing emotions and predicting the needs that accompany those emotions allow you to be one step ahead in responding.
- Resolve to listen more empathetically. When you listen, try to listen first without responding. Listen deeply and really allow the person you’re speaking with to share fully, instead of interrupting. It can be helpful to ask questions to show you are truly listening and that you care, but in many situations just listening can be enough. Remember that people are usually the experts of their own lives, so try to refrain from providing suggestions unless the person you’re speaking with asks for your advice. When you’re listening, try to really imagine what the person is feeling and try to be a warm presence for them.
We can all strive to be better listeners in 2019. Does your New Year’s resolution involve listening? How might listening more actively or intuitively or empathetically affect your life? Let’s make 2019 the year of listening!