August 02, 2010
Learning Team Charter Analysis - Team A
There are several key elements involved with establishing and maintaining effective communications in a group environment. Understanding the dynamics of group communication is essential at the outset of any project or endeavor that requires input from multiple team members. A great deal of thought should also be put into the process and ground rules for dispute resolution. As with any solid plan, the effective application of fundamental communications strategies coupled with leveraging available technologies will go a long way toward ensuring project success. Group communication is the communication that takes place while an ensemble of people, working together towards a goal; focus on the informational, procedural, and interpersonal dimensions of achieving that goal. A group may communicate differently throughout the three individual stages; formation, coordination, and formalization, of their task. Effective group communication is the key to a group’s ability to optimally plan, organize, and conquer their goal or task. The dynamics of group communication differ considerably from that of the communication that takes place throughout individual communication. Group communication involves dialogue, verbal or written, that is coming from, and intended for, more than two people, while individual communication is the dialogue which takes place between two people. Communicating effectively involves understanding your audience. In a group, this can pose as more of a challenge than with individual communication as there are likely different levels of understandings, thoughts, and communication styles amongst a group. When communicating in a group there is more opportunity for persons’ thoughts to go unsaid or unheard, while most individual conversations are reciprocal. In a group, it may be more difficult for some individuals to share their feelings of thoughts out loud and in front of a large group. Therefore, more efforts must be made to encourage participation. A goal in communication with another individual is that the dialog be a reciprocal. To encourage reciprocal conversations individuals can remember three simple rules; stop, look and listen. When participation in a conversation with another individual it’s important, when the other person begins talking, to stop and actively listen to what they are saying. Nodding your head or an occasional “uh-huh” shows them you are listening and helps that person feel that they are being taken sincerely. The strategies that are used to promote effective group communication are similar to those used when communicating with one individual; however, additional efforts are made to encourage equal involvement amongst members. Trust, cooperation, and productivity are all enhanced when a group practices effective communication. The communication within a group is most effective when all members contribute. A few strategies to promote participation are round robin, small group discussion, and brainstorming. Round robin is a method during which each member of a group is asked their thoughts on one specific topic, or question. Each team member then writes their responses down and all ideas and suggestions are then discussed openly. Small group discussion is a tool large groups can use to discuss intricate topics. The large group breaks apart into smaller groups to discuss the same topic. Each smaller group records what is conversed, summarizes and report back for further discussion. (Leister, 1992) Avoiding group think and identifying and addressing issues within the group is vital to the group’s ability to further communicate. Some strategies to promote group communication are that each member of the group is given a chance to give their input and that all thoughts are received with respect and understanding. A group strategy to...