Why might you want to spark communication amongst a group?
- Business discussions and meetings
- When putting together a group of clients who feel vulnerable for groups therapy
These are just a few of many examples
Taking part in group conversations and running group conversations can pose many barriers.
- Anxiety lessening people’s ability to readily communicate
- People talking over each other. This means they are not listening to others, or everyone can not be heard.
- Key messages get lost
Again these are some of the main examples
Considerations to make group communication more effective
- Does the environment make group members feel comfortable enough to share?
- Are there any reasons you can anticipate, that might make people in the group feel threatened?
- How can you employ techniques to make people feel less worried about other people’s reactions and more willing to share? – Perhaps a conversation at the start of the discussion about being mindful and respectful of other people’s opinions.
- Humour is often a great way to set a certain tone and atmosphere
- How will you interject conversation in order to maintain it? The typical therapist ‘and how do you feel about that?’ is a great approach!
- A lot of effective group communication requires a leader on whom the group rely on to steer the conversation. How will you make it clear who that leader is if you have one?
- Do you have a list of talking points you can refer to as prompts to structure the conversation. If you are teaching a class these prompts will be more rigid and more structured than perhaps a brainstorm meeting would be.
- How will you allow everyone to take turns and contribute? What kind of space will you create for these contributions?
- Identify when a person is about to finish talking by the lowering of their tone, slowing of pace and by them looking around at others in the group. This allows you to take hold of and steer a conversation/start your speech, without interrupting others.
- How will you make sure everyone can see each other clearly? This will help people gage turn taking, body language and maintain their interest.
- Consider the room temperature a lighting and the effect this will have on people’s comfort. What steps do you need to take to ensure comfort? i.e. drawing blinds, opening windows, switching on air con or even switching rooms.
- Will you leave out Tea, Coffee and biscuits for additional comfort?
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