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Skills & Activities for Effective Group Communication

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  • 0:03 What is Effective…
  • 2:10 Important Group…
  • 4:05 The Benefits of Cooperation
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Rachel Shipley

Rachel has worked with several businesses developing policies on customer experience and administration.

Communication is essential to a productive and harmonious work environment. In this lesson, you'll learn about the different skills and activities that can foster effective group communication.

What is Effective Group Communication?

Before we talk about the different skills and activities that can be used to foster an environment where groups of all sizes communicate well, let's first talk about some terms we will use in this lesson. Group communication can be defined as more than three - but less than 20 - people having a conversation. It differs from a dyad conversation , which is when two people have a face-to-face conversation with one another. We won't spend any time discussing a dyad conversation in this lesson, but it's always good to cover the basics.

Ok, so, we've all been there. You're assigned to a group or team, and required to communicate and work together to reach a desired outcome. Working in groups can be a nightmare if effective communication isn't exercised. There always seems to be one or two people that take on the majority of the work, while the other team members contribute the bare minimum. A lot of companies recognize these issues and work with their Human Resources department to train employees to work more collaboratively.

Effective group communication can occur in many forms, but you will see the best results (especially in large groups) when there is a leader or facilitator running the conversation. It's not necessary, but it does make things a lot less chaotic. Group members will benefit and participate more if they feel included in the conversation and there is a general respect among the conversation participants.

Some crucial things to watch for when observing a group conversation are both verbal and nonverbal cues. Nonverbal cues are the most important to look for because they're silent representations of how people are feeling or perceiving a message.

Some examples of nonverbal cues include:

  • How someone sits
  • Gestures or facial expressions
  • Nuances in voice tone and style
  • Eye contact

Other cues to look for also include written and interpersonal skills, or the basic life skills you use every day to communicate with people. Effective group communication isn't always just about talking.

Another aspect to consider is how the group is organized during a discussion. Seating can play an important role in creating an environment where people feel safe to share their thoughts. Organizing a group in a circle formation is the optimum structure to get the best interactions.

Important Group Communication Skills

Effective communication only occurs when you clearly deliver a message and that message is received and understood. Taking the time to learn the skills necessary to communicate effectively can help people resolve their differences and build trust and respect. Everyone has areas they can work on to improve their communication skills. Some of the most important things a person can do to be an effective communicator are:

  • Be a good listener
  • Be aware of nonverbal cues in yourself and others
  • Keep your emotions and stress in check
  • Work to understand and empathize with others

The ideal group environment doesn't just happen overnight. To have a positive atmosphere where employees feel comfortable sharing their ideas and working together takes work, and only after trust is gained and cooperation is learned can an organization benefit from groups working together. Thus, trust is something that is necessary for people to work productively. Lack of trust can drive a wedge between employees and create an environment of hostility. Trust is often based on respect and being able to rely on a coworker.

One activity that's a great way to build trust between peers and allow them to evaluate their own as well as others' verbal and nonverbal communication struggles involves leading a blindfolded person to certain objects or around specific obstacles. Here's how it works:

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