Updated date:

How to Make Small Group Communication Effective

Nyamweya is a Kenyan scholar who has done many years of research on a diversity of topics

A team communicating at a workplace

A team communicating at a workplace

Introduction

Small group communication/Team Communication refers to the interaction that takes place among three or more members, who share common interests and purpose, common goals or objectives or belong to same field (Harris, and Sherblom, 2018). Small groups and teams are formed with a purpose. The small teams and groups help in easing the task completion and achieving bigger objectives by dividing the tasks into various small tasks and assigning each small task to each small group. The small grouping helps people in making social relationships, make them aware of their self. Small teams play an important role in any organization and help in the attainment of large goals and objectives (Lacerenza et al, 2018). However, effective strategies are needed in managing small group communication.

Discussion

Butchibabu et al (2016) explored implicit communication strategies for team performance of tasks that carry different level of complexities. The strategies followed by the teams that succeeded in their tasks are compared to the strategies used by the teams that could not perform up to the mark in their tasks. The performances are evaluated according to the communication strategies followed and communication types used during the tasks. The top performing teams communicate by taking into account the needs of their team mates and the goal they want to achieve. The more complex tasks require more complex communication strategies to be followed and hence the teams should be selective in choosing the communication type and strategy in the task.

Communication channels are the major representatives of effectiveness of a team. The effectiveness of teams is measured by considering various factors like strategies used, team mates’ coordination, mutual understanding etc. The teams that work in performance setting are relevant for this study such as medical teams, construction teams, military etc. The objective of this paper is to investigate the interaction of these factors with team members and the effects of these factors to attain better understanding of effective communication. Gervits et al (2016) informs team leaders to be very careful in ensuring that they use the relevant and correct channel when passing information to their teams. The communication channel used determines whether the information will reach the relevant parties and if it will be clear to them. Furthermore, the authors note that the speaker’s way of communicating, the language use, the dialogue features, the effectiveness of team members and the time used in communication plays a crucial role in enhancing the efficacy of the communication.

Reflecting on past experience is an important aspect for a professional to understand his weaknesses and strength in particular field. These experiences help in improving the performance of an individual in future. Lacerenza et al. (2018) explores the relevant interventions necessary in enhancing the effectiveness of teamwork. The authors note that to realize the desired outcomes, team members need to demonstrate proven effective processes. In this regard, the authors advocate for team development interventions (TDIs) which include team debriefing, team building, leadership training, and team training. These interventions according to these authors have a positive impact on team dynamics including the success of communication processes. These authors also observe the necessity of training leaders on how to handle communication matters as well team members on matters pertaining to deducing meaning on communication, giving feedback, supporting one another, engaging the management, and their expectations.

Jahng (2012) undertook a systematic review of peer reviewed journals which are aimed at understanding research tends as well as research outcomes pertaining to small group communications within post secondary e-courses. The findings presented in this article indicate that factors such as gender differences, individual characteristics, and instructional design/communication approach, communication tools, social context, facilitation effect, social interaction and collaboration played an important role in enhancing communication. The authors not that groups that harbored a stronger personal and social interactions exhibited higher level of dialogue compared to those that had weak personal and social links. This again calls for leaders to work on team building initiative and ensure that they include members with the right characteristics or in other words those who fit with the group dynamics and objectives.

Conclusion

It can be concluded that to achieve effective communication, proper strategies are needed for any group to be successful in its objectives. Apart from this cooperation among team members and mutual understanding and trust are two other factors. This report presents an analysis of peer reviewed articles on strategies to effective manage group communications. This review is presented in form of annotated bibliography where key resources are explored. Accordingly, this report finds that in order to succeed in small group communications, the communicators have to take into account the needs of individual team members, and ensure that they have a common understanding at it regards their responsibilities and goals. In addition, team cohesion and interpersonal relationship is also found to be a crucial factor as it facilitates communication processes within teams. It is important to implement team development interventions (TDIs) which include team debriefing, team building, leadership training, and team training for a positive team dynamic including a streamlined communication system. The subsequent section is a reflection about the positive and negative group dynamics. In this section, the introduction of group dynamics is provided and positive and negative aspects of group dynamics are discussed. According to this, negative group dynamics results in non- effective communication and hence resulting in confusions and chaos while positive group dynamics leads to effective communication process and helps in attainment of the team objective.

Recommendations

I would recommend two necessary actions that can be undertaken in order to promote successful team processes. These are:

  • Due Appreciation

Behind every successful project, there are coordinated efforts of the group’s team members working on the project. So, in order to direct a team towards attainment of objective, there should be motivation factors to motivate the members towards common goal. The team members should be appreciated in some forms, like incentives, bonuses, promotions etc. whenever they achieve small goals. Motivating them while attaining smaller goals, leads them to work more efficiently and effectively, with more dedication to achieve bigger goals and objectives.

  • Proper Communication Strategy

In order to be successful in any project, every team should have application of effective communication within the group and among the group members to avoid confusions and chaos within the group. Team leader should be clear while communicating things to the group members, about the assignment of tasks, the benefits associated with the task as well as the form of appreciation they could receive by completing that particular task, everything should be clearly communicated to the group members. Proper communication will help in building social relationships among group members, promote mutual understanding and trust among them that are very important factors for team members to work together as a team.

References

Butchibabu, A., Sparano-Huiban, C., Sonenberg, L., & Shah, J. (2016). Implicit coordination

strategies for effective team communication. Journal of Human factors, 58(4), 595-610.

Forsyth, D. R. (2018). Group dynamics. Cengage Learning.

Gervits, F., Eberhard, K., & Scheutz, M. (2016). Team communication as a collaborative

process. Frontiers in Robotics and AI, 3, 62.

Jahng, N., S. (2012). A systematic review of small-group communication in post-secondary

online courses. Journal of Open, Flexible and Distance Learning,16l, 2, [26–40].

Lacerenza, C., Marlow, S., Tannenbaum, S., Salas, E. (2018). Team Development

Interventions: Evidence-Based Approaches for Improving Teamwork. Journal of American Psychologist, 73, (4), 517–531, Doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/amp0000295

Levi, D. (2015). Group dynamics for teams. Sage Publications.

Yang, H. (2019). A critical reflection on improving effective team communication. Frontiers of

Nursing, 6(1), 13-18.

Related Articles