Communication is about expressing and conveying your thoughts, feelings, opinions, and ideas to another person or a group of people. Good communication skills can help you keep your head up and confidently take charge of unfamiliar situations. People are more likely to listen to you if you can express yourself well, and this is particularly useful in influencing and negotiating important personal, social, or business matters.
Effective communication comes in handy while resolving conflicts and dealing with difficult people. Some people are born with effective communication skills, but others need to develop them. Developing effective communication skills requires repeated practice, which you can do by frequently putting yourself in situations where you have to interact with a variety of people. Consider joining social clubs or public speaking and debate clubs to polish your skills.
Communication in a Small Group
Small group communication is, of course, the communication that is carried out within a small group. A small group is generally defined as a group that consists of at least three members, or a maximum of around twelve to fifteen members. A group that has just two members or more than fifteen members would not come in the category of a small group. A small group may be a professional group, an educational group, or a social group. The members belonging to it will have a common bond, or interest, or goal that brings them together. Even though the number of members are less in a small group, effective communication between them is still important.
Consider team communication with regard to the workplace. Most companies and organizations have people working in small teams. This has been found to be more effective and productive than a single individual toiling away at a project. When you have three, four or more people working on an issue, you have the advantage of having access to more ideas and solutions for the project. Such groups will have more checking safeguards against any flaws in the plan and will be able to establish more network connections. When compared to a single person, a group is also more likely to take on and complete large-scale, complex projects, efficiently and quickly. However, for the team to operate smoothly, there must be open and efficient communication between its members. Team communication is important for the following reasons:
~ Project-related information needs to be shared.
~ Each member of the team needs to be acquainted with the team goal and his/her role in the team.
~ Each team member has specific skills and knowledge that must be utilized and imparted to other members in the course of the work.
~ Any question or issue about the project must be broached and shared in order to resolve them.
~ Any decision taken must be conveyed to all the members.
Effective and open communication creates a feeling of trust and a sense of belonging to the team. The more the members feel valued, the more dedicated they are likely to be, and this in turn makes it easier for the team as a whole to achieve its goals. On the other hand, poor group communication between team members can unnecessarily botch up an entire project.
~ Members may not understand what is needed, and may waste time and energy in doing what is not required.
~ Members may misunderstand one another and develop personal animosities. This can affect their desire to work together, and thereby affect the quality of the work.
~ Members may not be clear of the sequence of the things to be done and this can either hold up the project or play havoc with the deadlines.
~ Members may not know what to change or how to make themselves more efficient.
Effective team communication in a small group is a mix of good manners, good attention, and open-mindedness. You should think before you speak, and never raise your voice unnecessarily. Listen carefully to what others speak.
~ Ask if everyone understands what the team goals are. Ask for inputs and feedback from all members.
~ Listen carefully to what the other person is saying, and don’t interrupt until someone has finished talking.
~ Give feedback on what they’ve said. Speak slowly and clearly and make your points in a clear, logical manner.
~ Include facts and details, and make sure they are all accurate. Don’t ramble on. Be concise. Stick to the matter at hand.
~ Make sure every member of the group gets a chance to speak.
~ Be open minded. If you’ve come to the meeting with your mind already made up, there’s little point in having a discussion.
~ When responding to someone’s question or statement, repeat it to make sure you have heard and understood it correctly.
~ If you are taking a certain stand, take full responsibility for it.
~ Do not disparage anyone for their views and don’t refute any point by taking personal shots at the speaker. Address the issue.
~ Watch your body language. It is more effective than what you say. So if you are angry and look angry, that is going to convey itself to the other members in your small group.
~ Don’t make rash decisions or issue any statements when you are angry. Give yourself time to cool down. If there are any misunderstandings, clear them up in a calm manner.
~ If you don’t understand any point, speak up and ask questions. Get it clarified before you all move on.
~ When considering the pros and cons of any issue, study the exact pros and cons and not the opinion of the majority. If you have an opinion, express it as such, with the reasons behind it, not as an ironclad fact.
~ Be polite always.
This is only a brief overview about effective team communication in small groups. Indulging in group activities is an effective method to build a good rapport between team members. If you want to foster effective team communication in a small group, you can resort to some team building activities that can be conducted at the workplace. Occasional classes and seminars are also beneficial for this purpose.