Here are my notes from a number of youth activities we did to help the kids practice social skills:
Socially Savvy Soiree
Set up chairs in scalloped semi-circle. Count girls off 1-4 and make sure they go to their group. Get rolling board from library- chalk.
Why is Social Savviness important? Savvy: to have practical knowledge about, to know or understand
· Example from HS:nicest girl, acknowledged everyone by name, asked questions, very interested, smiled, sincere, also the most popular girl in school (because popularity wasn’t her goal). I was amazed at her social skills. And she had amazing skills, but what made them so powerful was that she genuinely cared about others (no matter what social group they were in).
· Example from HS: Always enjoyed observing people. Noticed some people were popular but not nice. They didn’t really seem to care about anyone outside of their group: came across as snobbish. They seemed overly pleased with themselves. When they acted nice, it seemed fake, because they were only nice to help themselves be more popular/get answers to homework/
· That’s when I realized that it wasn’t important to be popular. Popularity was not the goal. Kindness was! If your goal is to be kind, you will be in control! You won’t be disappointed or regret your decision. Popularity is fickle (it depends on others)! Kindness is true and you will feel SO much better about yourself.
o As long as you have respect and care for a person, most of these skills will come naturally. This is Christ’s love in you; if that is shining, then good manners will come much more naturally and genuinely.
o How do we act when we really feel love for someone?
§ We look them in the eyes, we take time for them, we help them, we treat them with respect and honor, etc.
o Good manners/social skills + genuine love and concern = graciousness, kindness & charity
· Read intro from Emily Post: Respect, Consideration, Honesty and Graciousness and Kindness
o Emily Post’s Etiquette (Chapter 1: Guidelines for Living)
· Let’s talk about Common Courtesies/Good Manners/ Social Etiquette (brainstorm on board?)
o Common courtesy starts with acknowledging those around you pleasantly.
§ Please & Thank you
§ Excuse me
§ I’m sorry
§ Greeting/acknowledging others
§ Be on time
§ Cell phone manners
§ Holding door open
§ Introducing people to each other
§ Remembering name
o Are these skills important?
o Difference between fake/forced and genuine good manners? (love)
· Seeing VALUE in EVERYONE is the key!!
o Who do we sometimes fail to value (person pumping our gas, the store clerk, the person who just cut in front of us, our younger brother, the person who is socially awkward or who doesn’t dress like us)
o How do we learn to value others?
§ “See” them!
· GAME 1: Did you notice?
o Have the girls put down their heads and close their eyes.
o Leader in each group asks different questions: Example: Do you know what color eyes the girl on your right has? What is she wearing? How is she wearing her hair today? Do you know if she's had a good day or a bad day so far?
o If girl knows the answer, have her raise her hand (eyes still shut)
· Ask the girls who were ‘noticed’ how it made them feel to be ‘noticed’.
o Do you like to be noticed by others?
o Do people generally like the people who notice them?
· Interested and non-interested body language
o Smile, nod, listen, lean forward, ask clarifying questions
§ Example have one girl tell about her week to a girl who is sending “I’m not interested in what you have to say “body language”
§ Have that same girl tell the same thing to someone who shows interest.
· Inclusive and exclusive body language—show that you value or don’t value a person
o Sitting in class when someone else makes comment (roll eyes? Listen and comment? Laugh? )
o Group of girls talking—excluding or including those outside group (open up the group, repeat what you’re talking about in order to invite the girl in: “Hey, Jen, Ashley was just telling us about her date last night. You need to hear this funny story.,”
o Classroom or party—understanding between friends (you don’t have to be joined at the hip in public…it excludes people), you don’t need to always sit by friend or talk to friend. If you are comfortable in your friendship, make a goal to NOT sit by each other all the time.
You have to WANT to get to know people. Sometimes, we feel complacent and lazy and don’t want to interact with others or even get to know them. BUT WHY should I want to get to know people? Because that’s how we let Christ’s love shine through us…
o Openers- (act out with leader or youth) How TO get a STARTED when you don't really know a person.
§ Work towards a relationship by always nodding, smiling, saying “hey” or “hi” in passing
· Make eye contact every time you pass the person and acknowledge them
§ 1. Initiate the hello…and smile
· Hi, I’m Sally.
§ 2. Comment on the here and now.
· It is such a beautiful day. I wish we could have class outside.
· How do you know Mary?
· Wow, the team played so well. That was a fun game to watch.
· Did she really say the report was due tomorrow?
§ 3. Notice and admire
· That’s a beautiful scarf.
· You really have a very pretty smile.
· I love how you did your hair.
§ 4. Ask people about themselves
· Do you like living in town/out in the country/so close to the school?
· How long have you played soccer?
· What was your last school like? Do you miss it?
§ 5. Know a little about what’s going on (but don’t get into anything controversial/political)
· Wow, did you hear about the big earthquake in South America?
· Did you hear that Mr. Smith won’t be teaching next year?
o Keep the Volley going
§ If someone asks you a question, don’t just give them a one word answer
· Explain yourself
· Ask a question in return
§ Listen with your whole body (not just your ears)
· Make eye contact (don’t be glancing over their shoulder at something else)
· REALLY listen and remember (focus on the conversation)
· Lean forward and show your interest
§ Don’t rush, make them feel valued by giving them your time.
· If you really need to go, listen politely and then let them know that you’re sorry you can’t talk longer, but that you need to go. (always explain yourself, don’t just cut them short and leave)
§ Find common ground.
· You can share your own experiences, but focus on the person you’re talking to and their experiences. Only share those things that will make the other person feel comfortable, valued and understood. (If they’re struggling with something, don’t start talking about how easy that is for you)
o GAME 2 – Speed Conversations (10 min)
§ (Combine 2 groups if needed or split one group in half) Have inner circle facing out and outer circle facing in
§ Give girls list of conversation starters and have them practice 1 minute conversations with each other
§ When the time is up have the outer group move one seat to the right
§ Go over basics
· Introduce yourself whenever you don’t know someone (show)
· Maybe talk about formal introductions (4 parts)
o Stand up (face to face)
o SMILE and make eye contact
o Say your greeting (use the person’s name when possible)
§ Hi, it’s so nice to meet you, Julie!
o Shake hands (very important in more formal settings)
o GAME 3—Introductions
§ Divide girls into groups of 4-5 (with girls that they just talked to)
§ Assign each girl a role and a responsibility
· Girl who knows both groups (to introduce, to make person feel special, to help everyone in the group feel comfortable by pointing out common interests or special talents)
· New girl to group (to show interest in others and to learn things about each of them)
· Girls in group (to make new girl feel welcome and comfortable, to express interest and warmth, to find common interests)
How can it help you get to know more people (even the cute boy you really want to talk to)
How can it help me be a better missionary—now and later? (In other words, how can it help me to spread Christ’s love)
How can it help at school and in my future career?
- Smile at and make eye contact with someone you don’t usually talk to
- Choose to sit next to someone you don’t usually sit by and who you don’t know very well.
- When in a group, invite those on the outskirts into your conversation through your tone, your smiles and your body language
- Introduce someone to your friends. Make that person feel special and important.
- Compliment others behind their backs.
- Observe the people around you, look for something positive and compliment them on it. Be sincere.
- Make an effort to thank people for everything they do for you. Smile.
- “See” and “value” someone you haven’t really noticed before. Find something you admire about them and tell them
- Introduce yourself to someone you don’t know.
- Start a conversation with someone you don’t usually talk to
- Find out something that is happening in his/her life
- Ask them about it the next time you him/her.