The Unspoken Language

Type of tool: 
60-90 min
Topics addressed: 
Conflict management
Social inclusion

Still wondering why it never worked with your ex? Here’s the activity that will address your unanswered questions
The statements we hear in our daily life will be seen from a different perspective enabling us to recognize the feelings and needs delivered


Improving communication to foster interpersonal connections and social cohesion


cooperative learning

Step by step process: 

Participants will be divided into two groups (A & B), and each group will be standing in a row facing the wall.
On the wall there will be two charts for group A. On the first chart, 10 feelings are written while on the second chart a line in the middle divides the chart into 2 sections (one for group A and the other for group B).
Similarly two charts are on the wall for group B, but on the first one, 10 needs will be written, and the second chart will be identical to the second chart of group A.
The facilitator will be reading out loud 10 sentences that we usually hear in our daily life (e.g. you don’t listen to me, I don’t feel I belong to this place, I’m fed up with my work, you’re always late…) and each participant in group A will try to guess individually the feeling expressed in the sentence by choosing one feeling from the list of 10 feelings, meanwhile participants in group B will try to guess individually the needs expressed in the sentence by choosing one need from the list.
After finishing round 1, answers are covered and groups switch places to start round 2 with Group A trying to guess the needs from the same sentences and group B trying to guess the feelings.
After finishing round 2, each group will take the final charts (the first contains 10 feelings written by group A and 10 feelings written by group B, while the other contains the needs) and discuss whether they agree on the answers after giving them the list of 10 sentences already read by the facilitator.
Each group should come up with a common list of feelings and needs.
Debriefing follows to address the following questions:
- How did the activity make you feel?
- How easy was it to guess individually the feelings/needs? Why?
- What did you learn about yourself and the other members of the group?
- Were you able to reach a common list easily?
- Why do we perceive the same statements differently?
- What are the sources of our needs? And how do they reflect our fears?
- How do our different perceptions influence communication and relationships?
- How does a better understanding of the feelings and needs foster social cohesion?

Materials and resources: 

- U-shape-arranged chairs
- 6 white paper sheets (flipchart sheets’ size)
- 4 markers of different colors
- 2 printed copies of the list of statements
- Blue pad
- Post its for the evaluation and pens


- Differentiating feelings as emotional states or reactions from needs as essential requirements to be met for healthy relationships
- We ask for our needs implicitly in our conversations
- The family and environment influence the needs and fears we have
- Relationships improve when we meet each other’s needs


Participants will sit in a circle and the facilitator’s questions will tackle on a post it:
Was this activity helpful in increasing your awareness of yourself or others? (encourage them to share new discoveries)
Do you have any recommendations to improve this tool?
Would you transfer it to your own community? And how?

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