My Friends Can Tell What I’m Thinking

“My friends know me so well. They can tell what I’m thinking just by looking in my eyes.” -Jennifer Aniston

Jennifer Aniston’s friends must have good social awareness! They are able to tell what she’s thinking by looking at her eyes. I suspect… is what they’re REALLY¬†doing is looking not only at her eyes, but checking in with her entire face and body to figure out what she’s thinking. They are observing and paying attention to her non-verbal language.

Non-verbal language is how we communicate nearly half of our verbal message! Many students struggle to pick up on this social skill. Think about how much meaning they are missing or how much they misunderstand if they struggle to understand the importance that non-verbal language has on communicating meaning.

What IS non-verbal language? Well, in the most basic sense non-verbal language includes:

  • Facial expressions-¬†Movement of eyebrows, eyes, forehead, cheeks, lips, etc.
  • Body Language-¬†Posture, hand gestures, proximity or change in closeness during social interaction, ¬†etc.
  • Tone of Voice-¬†Differences in the way the voice¬†sounds, different stress or emphasis placed on ¬†words or phrases

If Jennifer Aniston wasn’t trying to sell eye care products, she would’ve said,

“My friends know me so well.¬†They can tell what I’m thinking by paying attention to my entire body and to the way my voice sounds.”

Use this commercial to get a conversation going with your children or students about the importance of non-verbal language and the meaning it conveys or how it can change the meaning of what people communicate.

I’ve created some lessons specifically teaching non-verbal language and the importance of paying attention to it during social interaction on my Teachers Pay Teachers page. You can find them by clicking the links below:

Non-Verbal Language                

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    How Do You Communicate Without Talking?

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Click below for a helpful article written by Michelle Garcia Winner about the importance of attending to non-verbal language:

4 Steps to Communication

Enjoy (non-verbal head nod given)!

Cat Tintle, M. Ed. CCC-SLP

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What You Say Isn’t Always What You Mean

I love using witty commercials to get a conversation going with my clients about the importance of social skills and these two Citibank commercials are perfect!

I love Citibank’s tagline: Wouldn’t it be great if everyone said what they meant?¬†

For people who struggle with social skills, life would be easier if everyone said what they meant.

This is especially true when dating. People want to avoid awkward moments, so they mask their true intentions with niceties. Most people want to avoid hurting others’ feelings so they tell “white¬†lies”.

Some cultures use more direct language but here in America, our language is filled with indirect and implied language in order to reduce awkward situations and appear more polite and agreeable. ¬†So, it’s important to think about others’ thinking¬†to figure out people’s true intentions.

After you show these commercials, use examples like this to keep the conversation going about the need to think about others’ thinking:

This is a¬†conversation that happens on a regular basis in my home. My husband gets a lot of practice thinking about my thinking just to figure out what’s for dinner! The implied language is in parentheses.

Husband: What should we eat for dinner?  

Me: I doesn’t matter. (It does matter)

Husband: We could make hamburgers.

Me: We could… or we could make tacos. (I don’t want hamburgers)

Husband: What about steak?

Me: We already have the ‘fixins for tacos. (I don’t want steak either)

Husband: Ok… Tacos it is.

Me: Perfect! That was easy.

Husband: It SURE¬†was. (It was NOT easy. Why didn’t you just say you wanted tacos in¬†the first place?)

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Use this visual to help your students or clients think about the thinking of others. Help them learn to pick up on clues from context, tone of voice, and body language to help them figure out what people REALLY mean. Then, ask them¬†to come up with their own examples of how people don’t always say what they mean.

Get creative and have fun!

Michelle Garcia Winner ¬†has a great book that contains many useful worksheets related to indirect and implied language. I couldn’t do my job without this book!

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You can purchase it here:   Social Thinking Thinksheets for Tweens and Teens

Check out my Teachers Pay Teachers site for more social skills activities. You can find it here: The Creative SLP

This CAN’T be happening!

 

After finally creating my blog this past weekend, I spent a few days pondering about what to post. There are so many topics to cover. But then, as I came home today for a quick lunch break, it came to me. Well, it came on my TV. The topic that I’m most passionate about is social skills. And, after watching this hilarious commercial, I knew exactly what to post. ¬†For students who struggle socially, trying to figure out what people are REALLY saying can leave you feeling just as “jacked up” as the guy in this commercial!

If you have children or work with students who struggle socially, this video will be a fun and easy way to get a few very important ideas across. Try this and let me know how it goes!

Before showing the commercial, have the child practice saying the following sentences a few times. *Encourage them to add more stress or emotion to the words that are in bold. 

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Is this MY CAR? What?! THIS is RIDICULOUS!¬†This can’t be HAPPENING!

Then ask them what they think is happening based on the sentences. ¬†Discuss with them how they think a different tone of voice, or the way you change your voice as you speak, impacts the meaning of what you say. Also, ask them if they think context, or where you are/who you’re with, has anything to do with the meaning of what you say.

THEN, show them this commercial:

After watching the commercial, revisit your discussion and ask the questions again and discuss.

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Ask them what they thought the girl was thinking and feeling as she realized she just got a new car.

Ask them what they think the man was thinking and feeling after he realized his tires were stolen.

Next, have them practice saying the same sentences, but take turns speaking as the girl and then as the man. *You may have to help them practice changing the tone in their voice. 

Is this MY CAR? What?! THIS is RIDICULOUS! This can’t be HAPPENING!

&

Is THIS my car? What?! This is ridiculous! This CAN’T be happening.

Have them answer how the context of the situation gave them clues about the meaning of what they were saying. Help them discuss how that applies to their lives and how it matters where you are and who you’re with when you say things.

Finally, have them summarize what they learned. Help them come up with¬†a “take away” lesson about TONE OF VOICE and CONTEXT. AND…if you really want what they’ve learned to “sink in”, have them teach what they’ve learned to their family or other friends. Encourage them to use the State Farm commercial to help them explain what they learned.

I can’t wait to try this with my social skills clients!

Check out this website for more useful info about how to support and build social skills:

https://www.socialthinking.com/