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 Small Group Communication in Rich Subject Matter



Small Group Communication in Rich Subject Matter

Main Take Away Lessons

  • A group can be defined as a small collection of individuals whose members interact with each other, normally face-to-face, over time so as to attain certain goals. While teams share similar qualities as groups, the work involved is at a higher level than in groups (Adler, Rodman and du Pre, 2016, p. 246). Key characteristics of teams that Adler, Rodman and du Pre (2017, p. 247-248) give include: result-driven, unified commitment, external espouse and recognition, vivid and inspiring shared objectives, competent team members, collaborative climate, standards of excellence and principled leadership.
  • Members of a group have different goals in the form of group goals, individual goals and hidden agendas. Group goals are outcomes members seek to accomplish together, individual goals are the personal motives for each member upon joining the group and hidden agendas are personal goals that group members are not willing to reveal which end up causing problems (Adler, Rodman and du Pre, 2016, p. 249).
  • Due to the tendency of certain individuals to do less work in groups compared to other members, that is, social loafing, groups and teams tend to have rules, norms and roles to ensure every individual accords sufficient effort in the group. However, certain roles can be dysfunctional whereby members play roles that inhibit the group’s effective operation (Adler, Rodman and du Pre, 2016, p. 254). Small Group Communication in Rich Subject Matter
  • Teamwork involves the dual objectives of attaining goals and maintaining relationships. A leadership grid is crucial to explaining how leaders manage this balance as Adler, Rodman and du Pre (2016, p. 254) report.
  • A transformation leader is devoted to help his or her team fulfill a vital mission while an emergent leader gains influence or assumes leadership roles devoid of appointment from higher-ups.
  • There are different types of followers when it comes to communication. Isolates are indifferent to the goals of the group and communicate scarcely, bystanders note what is going on but take a step back and refrain from playing an active role, participants attempt to have an impact, activists are more passionately and energetically engaged and diehards tend to sacrifice themselves to see the group succeed (Adler, Rodman and du Pre, 2016, p. 263-264).
  • A working outline is a rough form that a person uses to map out the structure of his or her speech while a formal outline entails a consistent set of symbols and a standard form.
  • While giving a speech it is important to have speaking notes that jog one’s memory so as not to forget key points. Small Group Communication in Rich Subject Matter
  • Principles of outlining are not only important but are also based on the utilization of a standard format and standard symbols. Based on this understanding, the rule of division involves the division of points and sub points while the rule of parallel wording requires that at each level of division, points should be worded in a similar manner.
  • Patterns are important in helping the audience discern and recall what the speaker has to say. Thus, one should employ a pattern such as space, problem-solution, Monroe’s motivated sequence, time, topic and cause-effect in his or her speech (Adler, Rodman and du Pre, 2016, p. 329).
  • An introduction and conclusion are extremely vital when making a speech or communicating with a large audience. This is because the main ideas are captured in these two sections and they also act as attention grabbers and message-reinforcing assertions when speaking (Adler, Rodman and du Pre, 2016, p. 332-334).
  • Effective communication can only occur through the use of transitions and supporting material such as examples, statistics and anecdotes that make one’s points intriguing, vivid, convincing and memorable (Adler, Rodman and du Pre, 2016, p. 335-339).

How they affect my communication Small Group Communication in Rich Subject Matter

I believe when it comes to communication in a group or a team, the level of one’s participation depends on his or her competence as a speaker, relation with the other members and passion or dedication to the goals of the group. I must admit that when I joined groups or teams initially, I tended to focus only the group goals. However, after some experience working in groups and teams, I have realized that it is vital for a person to also have individual goals when joining these groups or teams. At the end of the day, I should feel fulfilled on a personal level as much as the group is also fulfilled.

In terms of my contribution to conversations and groups or teams, my level of communication has changed over time. For instance, when I joined college, I was more of a bystander in groups and teams, as well as, in conversations involving a lot of people. I only communicated effectively with my family and close friends. However, as I got to know more people, interacted with multitudes of individuals and allocated more leadership roles in teams and organizations, I learned to become an active participant and even sometimes a diehard. I can confidently assert that I am now more passionate than I ever was and my leadership evinces this passion in how I encourage and invest in those I lead. I believe that leadership is not just a supervisory and directing role, but an opportunity to transform the mindset of others and give them a chance to also prosper. This notion is what I imbue in my communication, as well as, democratic and transformational leadership styles. Small Group Communication in Rich Subject Matter

Relation of videos and readings to my professional life in education

The part of this week’s readings that resonates most with my professional life is the importance of introduction, conclusion, transitions and supporting material in communication. After listening to Martin Luther Junior speeches, watching TED talks and movies such as the anchor, I realized that the presence of introduction, conclusion, transitions and supporting material was extremely vital in capturing my attention as a viewer and getting me to appreciate the message being communicated and connect with the speaker. As such, I ensure that my presentations have a good introduction and conclusion that state my main ideas, as well as, formidable transitions and supporting material in form of examples, facts and narrations. This has proved to be extremely vital in improving the effectiveness of my presentation to teams and groups, as well as, my communication with other parties.

The importance of focusing on group goals instead of individual goals and hidden agendas is emphasized in the “Nelson Mandela on Oprah” video. Mandela believed that if a member of a group strayed away from the group then the remaining members should strive to get him or her back to the group and fix issues rather than let the person go easily. Growing as a group is more important and productive than as an individual. This is because there are goals that a person easily when he or she is in a group rather than as an individual. This is the message presented in the “Build a Tower, Build a Team” video. Working outline, formal outline and speaking notes are crucial to creating valuable content in a speech or in conversations with people. “The Importance of Content” video narrates how a person can create content in speeches and dialogues using discordant techniques. Public speaking can be daunting task for many individuals despite adequate preparation. However, mastering public speaking comes from putting oneself in public speaking situations so as to gain sufficient experience and confidence necessary to make exemplary speeches and presentations. This is the point that “How Giving a TED Talk Improved Public Speaking” video reiterates. Small Group Communication in Rich Subject Matter












Adler, R., Rodman, G., & du Pre, A. (2016). Understanding Human Communication (13th ed.). Oxford University Press.