Fixing Thoughtless, Inconsiderate Mannerisms

Here's Mia playing on a tablet. After a little while, Susan comes over and says...

A few minutes later, Andrew notices Mia playing and says...

Andrew watches for a few minutes before asking...

Susan sees the whole thing and says...

What just happened here?

We might think that Mia simply likes Andrew more than Susan. That's possible. But did something else happen?

Let's look again at what each said:

Did you notice that Susan and Andrew asked for the exact same thing, but they asked in very different ways? In fact, Susan tends to be a bit rude when she talks to others:



Not really thinking before speaking

Andrew, on the other hand, always tries to be polite when he talks to others:



Thinks before he speaks

Some people walk all around this planet, not realizing that they are constantly ticking people off! "I don't get it!" they sometimes say, "People just don't like me for some reason! They're nice to everybody else but not to me!"

Everything we say can be said in a million different ways. For example, let's say you want ice cream. You could say that you want ice cream in a million different ways. Here are three ways:

"Ooh! Suddenly I really want ice cream!"

"I'm in the mood for ice cream. Are you?"

"I'm going to go INSANE if I don't have ice cream in the next five minutes!"

What ways can you think of?

Each of those three examples above used different words. But if you look carefully, you'll see that they use a different tone of voice, too. "I'm going to go INSANE if I don't have..." is a much different tone than "I'm in the mood for..." In fact, there are three parts to everything we say: words, tone of voice, and body language.

Below is a picture to show what this looks like. Everything we ever say starts out as an idea in our brains. Then we decide how we are going to express that idea by choosing our words, tone of voice, and body language.

(agsandrew/Dollar Photo Club)

Now you try it. Let's say you're standing in line at school and the person in front of you hasn't noticed that the line is moving. There are a million ways to let your classmate know that the line is moving. What are a few ways you could try? Practice them now.

(I'll just wait here until you're done...)

(Try a few yet?)

(All ready? Okay, let's keep going.)

Let's say you decide to use these words below. Practice saying them with different tones of voice.

"Tom, the line is moving."

Try saying it in a frustrated voice. Try it with a bored voice. Try it with a polite voice. Try it with a pirate voice!

Now practice changing your body language a little, like tapping the person on the shoulder, or waving your hands, or putting on a kind face...

It's important to understand the three parts of everything we say, but it's just as important to have self-awareness about these things. Self-awareness means to notice how we sound, how we look, and how people might view us. Do you know who has zero self-awareness? Three-year-olds! Here's a three-year-old right now, running out to play with a friend:

I'm sure you've got more self-awareness than this. I'm sure you remembered to put on your pants this morning. But are you also aware of how your tone of voice sounds to others? Are you careful about wording things the right way? Remember, some people walk all around this planet, not realizing that that, every day, they are ticking people off! Make sure that person isn't you!

Well, that's it, but, just for fun, here's a little bonus factoid for you. Did you know that it's because of these three parts of everything we say that emojis were created? When texting first came out, and all people could see was the person's choice of words (not their tone of voice or body language) some problems happened. Some people got offended.

Emojis show the tone of voice and the body language. Like this:

Interesting, huh?

I hope you liked this article. You can also find it in PowerPoint form on Teachers Pay Teachers, for use in classroom lessons and groups. Follow on Facebook or subscribe below to get new articles as they come out!