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Improving Group Communication

Submitted by Clari Rose Salt Lake Community College Communication 1010 March 2 !201

Overview
"here are ups and do#ns to #orking in a group$ %ou have to get along and complete your #ork! yet! you also get the chance to build relationships$ Getting along! ho#ever! can be harder than it seems$ It is one o& those 'easier said than done( things$ )o# do you manage e&&ective communication* +hat do you do to success&ully #ork in a group as a team* In the &ollo#ing pages I have gone through my e,perience in detail and have come up #ith ans#ers to these -uestions$ .lthough my group did a good /ob #ith everything there #ere a &e# bumps #e ran into$ 0or e,ample! not sharing the #ork load #as a big one as #as not getting assignments completed correctly$ Communication #as obsolete! and #e &ailed to use it to the utmost advantage$ "he important thing #as that #e got our pro/ect done on time by helping each team member &inish their part$ My e,perience #as not per&ect! #hich gave me a chance to apply the important in&ormation and skills &or e&&ective communication$ It also helped prepare me &or my pro&essional and academic career$ "his group pro/ect #as a great #ay to organi1e our thoughts and &igure out #hat concepts #ork &or #hich situations$ +ith this kno#ledge group #ork &lo#ed smoothly$ "he things #e learned as a group trans&ormed our ideas and guided us through the process o& #orking together$ "his gave us a ne# &ound con&idence &or our group and #e no# kno# ho# to handle group assignments more e&&ectively$

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Project Description
0or the pro/ect our group analy1ed and dissected di&&erent possible solutions2 +ays students could a&&ord college te,t books$ College is e,pensive and students not receiving &inancial aid struggle to buy te,t books$ In an e&&ort to &i, this problem #e #ent through a step by step process$ +e came up #ith some creative solutions and narro#ed them do#n to one that #e believed most doable and achievable$ "he &irst step #e took to get this solution #as by creating a speci&ic -uestion regarding the problem$ '+hat reasonable solution could #e &ind to lo#er the price o& te,t books as ne# ne# editions come out that #ould bene&it the school and make the students more &inancially secure*( "he second step #as to study our problem! research it! and &ind other students even bookstore employees that &elt the same #ay$ +e #ere each assigned di&&erent &ocus points and together #e #ere able to gather plenty o& in&ormation$ "he third step! #hich asked us to come up #ith at least seven criteria! #as probably the most di&&icult &or us as a group$ It #as challenging to come up #ith criteria that matched a solution #hen #e had not even begun brainstorming &or one$ "he &ourth and &i&th steps #ere the solution brainstorming steps$ "he #ay #e approached them #as very e&&ective2 +e started out by presenting all our ideas! no matter ho# out o& the bo, they #ere! on paper$ "hen #e took the best si, out o& the ones #e had accumulated$ 3uring the si,th step #e put our criteria and solutions on a chart and rated each solution to ho# #ell it &it each criteria$ "his process helped us pick our best solution$ "he seventh and eight steps had us create a plan o& ho# #e #ould implement our solution! then #rite a bibliography &or our &inal report$ +e did this by assigning each member a part to #rite$ 4y the end our group had come up #ith a solid solution2 "he school #ould &und a program utili1ing a used te,t book market &or lo# income students! not receiving &inancial aid! #ould only allo# a 205 pro&it margin! via &ees$

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Group Assets
"here #ere multiple things #e #ere success&ul at as a group but I #ould say our top t#o #ere participation and communication outside and inside the classroom$ 6veryone participated by sharing their ideas and opinions and by &ollo#ing through on assignments$ "hrough the end o& the pro/ect! participation #as a constant &or most o& the individuals in our group$ It #as nice to have people complete their portion o& the #ork load! instead o& having group members picking up slack$ 4ecause o& our listening skills! #e #ere able to avoid having to deal #ith this problem$ 7eople are more interested in participating i& they are being listened to! seriously$ 0or e,ample2 +hen discussing possible solutions everyone #as spouted o&& ideas$ +e took the time to consider each one be&ore moving on to the ne,t solution$ 6ven i& it #as a bad solution #e still listened! as a group$ "his provided a #ay &or the shy members o& the group to &eel validated$ I noticed that there #ere di&&erent kinds o& listeners #hich bene&itted us #ell$ Ronald .dler! 8eanne 6lmhorst! and 9risten Lucas! the authors o& the Communication 1010 Salt Lake Community College te,t book! stated that! '7eople #ho are primarily &ocused on relational listening are most concerned #ith emotionally connecting #ith others $ "hey listen to understand ho# others &eel! are a#are o& their emotions! and are highly responsive to those individuals$(:.dler!6lmhorst! and Lucas! p$ ;<= >ne individual! #ho #as shy! #as de&initely this type o& listener$ "he book goes on to talk about ?.nalytical Listening?$ "his applied to t#o people in our group$ "o more o& us #ere task >riented Listeners$ I didn?t kno# about these di&&erent styles o& listening$ .&ter learning about them in class and &rom the te,t book I could pick out each group members listening style$ Sometimes it #as a challenge having to listen to &our di&&erent people$ "his #as due to the &act that some members #ere more hard headed than others$ +e kept it positive ho#ever! and got positive results$ Communicating outside and inside the classroom #as an important thing &or us$ 3uring class you can only discuss and do so much #ithin a <0 minute time period$ "here&ore! communication over the #eekends #as al#ays a must &or us$ +hich you?d think #ould be a negative e,perience$ 0or our group! though! #e #ere actually really good at this$ +e each had unspoken positions$ 0or e,ample! >ne other team mate and I #ere considered the leaders because #e submitted the progress charts each #eek$ +e #ere also in charge o& giving - 4

people assignments to complete! including ourselves$ "#o other group members #ere the organi1ers o& in&ormation and helped the leaders brainstorm #ith the group$ >ne thing I really appreciated about this group #as that #e #eren?t a&raid to be honest$ +hen thinking o& criteria &or our solution #e created a list consisting o& speci&ic criteria$ "here #ere t#o that I noticed #ere not criteria! but more solutions$ .t &irst I didn?t say anything but the ne,t day in class I told my group I had changed the t#o$ "o my surprise they #ere eager to kno# #hich ones I had changed and my reasons &or doing so$ I sho#ed them the ne# criteria I came up #ith! and they built o&& o& my idea and together #e created criteria that &it better #ith our goal$ In my past e,perience #ith group pro/ects being honest #as never really an asset$ "his #as because the students I #as paired #ith didn?t really care about #hat #e #ere supposed to do$ 4eing in a group that #as honest and tested my ideas #as really bene&icial to me$ '6ven though others might sometimes dislike #hat you have to say! your reputation &or candor can earn you the respect o& subordinates! co#orkers! and management$(:.dler! 6lmhorst! Lucas! p$ 11<=$ "hrough this e,perience I &eel that in the &uture #orking #ith co#orkers #ill be something I can success&ully handle$

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Group Limitations
.long #ith our strengths #e had a &e# limitations #hich set us back$ "hank&ully they #eren?t big enough to cause any ma/or problems$ "he &irst one #as not letting every one help out as much as they could$ "he progress charts! #e had to submit every #eek! one other group member and I took the role o& submitting them$ >ne progress meeting in particular a group member approached me and asked me i& she could submit the progress chart$ She &elt bad that other group member and I #ere the only ones doing it$ I told her no! even though it #ould have been bene&icial to our group i& #e had taken turns submitting$ because it #ould have helped them &or &uture e,periences$ "he reason I denied her kind gesture #as because I #as not #illing to share the #ork load$ "his #as due to the &act that I like things done a particular #ay and struggle #ith the idea that my grade depends on someone else$ I approached this con&lict by simply telling her that! 'I got it( and 'Ill /ust take care o& it because it #ould be too hard to send the charts back and &orth($ I used the Competing .pproach :.dler! 6lmhorst! Lucas! p$12@A12B= and probably shouldn?t have$ "he second thing our group struggled #ith :more to#ards the end= #as getting assignments together on time and actually completing them$ "his sounds #orse than it #as! but it #as still a challenge$ 7utting together our &inal report #as #here this problem occurred$ 6veryone #as getting a little an,ious because it #as our last submission and #e all #anted to do #ell on it$ Cn&ortunately! it took us longer to get it together$ "his #as because one member o& our group didn?t send his part in until later than e,pected and another group member didn?t completed nor do his part correctly$ 4ecause o& this the rest o& us had to &inish his part #hich #as time consuming$ .nother member did her part! but &ailed to proo&read any o& her #ork$ "his meant that #e had to make a /oint e&&ort to make sure her paper #as void o& any grammatical errors$ "he te,t book talks about &ocusing on the problem! and not controlling others :.dler! 6lmhorst! Lucus! p$11 =$ I &eel that applying this #ould have been more bene&icial to us as a group$ +e should have !instead! used problemDoriented messages also &ound in the book$ 4y doing this #e could have helped the struggling members! by developing solutions that #orked &or all o& us and helped complete the assignment earlier$

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Recommendations
I have learned a lot &rom this group e,perience and there are a &e# things I #ould change i& I #ere to reDe,perience it$ "he &irst #ould be to contact each member over the phone$ .s one o& the leaders I te,ted everyone in&orming them o& certain announcements I had posted on Canvas$ Maybe members #ould have struggled less had I called them and helped them over the phone$ 3ue to the lack o& &ace to &ace communication! te,t conversations are void o& nonDverbal signals there&ore adding another challenging &actor :.dler! 6lmhorst! Lucas! p$B1=$ I think having con&erence calls or maybe even skype sessions #ould have greatly improved communication among the group$ .nother thing I #ould change #ould be more directed to#ards me$ Like I said earlier I like things done a particular #ay and as a leader am usually the one taking charge$ 4ut it #ould be good &or me to let others help! especially i& it is someone #ho really #ants to$ I& I could go back to the team member that asked i& she could submit the progress chart I #ould have changed my ans#er to '%es! o& course! I am glad that you are #illing to help me out$( '"he manager #ho seems genuinely concerned #ith your opinionsDeven i& she doesn?t agree #ith themD is easier to #ork #ith than the one #ho brushes your concerns aside$(:.dler!6lmhorst! Lucas! p$ 11<=$ I really liked this because in order to be a good team player you have to care about others concerns /ust like that one group member cared about me$ Cn&ortunately! I do not &eel that #ay about people #ho do not do their #ork$ +ith the group member that /ust le&t his part &or the rest o& us during the &inal pro/ect I #ould have been more direct #ith him$ "his member couldn?t attend a lot o& the meetings #hich took a toll on our group$ "his #as because he #asn?t able to keep up #ith our discussions and progress #ith us on our pro/ect$0or that reason! #e should have given him a much smaller part$ )e had no idea ho# to complete it and #e ended up doing it &or him any#ay$ )e did try to complete it once but it #as poorly set up #ith most o& it not even done$ +hat really bothered our group #as that even #hen he kne# he did it #rong the &irst time he didn?t try to &i, it$ >ur group should have helped him by #alking him through step by step and e,plaining! in detail! #hat it #as he needed to do$ I have learned that some people need more help than others and I have to be #illing to o&&er my help more o&ten$ .t least that #ay no one #ill &eel bad and the #ork #ill get done$ I& I could have changed that I #ould have created and used

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7roblemD>riented Messages and 'I( statements #ith my #hole group$ I #ould have said something like! 'I noticed a &e# things #ith the #ork that you have done$ I think the instructor is looking &or something a little bit more in depth$ )ere! let me sho# you #hat I had in mind and you tell me #hat you think$ "ogether #e can complete it$( 0rom this e,perience I have a better understanding o& ho# to communicate #ith di&&erent kinds o& people$ +hen! in the &uture I get to #ork in a group on a pro/ect I #ill remember the skills I learned$ "o match #ith the &irst recommendation I #rote about! I #ill contact my group members as much as possible$ I& I have a /ob to do #ith a co#orker and there are some days that the co#orker isn?t at #ork I #ill be calling!emailing! and up dating him or her on #hat happened that day concerning the pro/ect$ Csing the channels o& communication #ill greatly bene&it me #hen approaching co#orkers &or many di&&erent situations$ I #ill also remember to not be so controlling$ In #ork environments it is more pro&essional to share the #ork load and let people help$ "his #ay you #on?t create enemies or grudges$ . potential co#orker could assume that because I do everything that it makes them look bad to the boss or manager$ "his is because he or she sees that they aren?t carrying their portion o& the #ork! even though this #ould not be my intention$ "his leads back to EonDFerbal Communicating$ It?s important to be considerate o& others and their &eelings$ "he biggest recommendation is to#ards the people #ho #aste time and don?t do #hat has been asked o& them$ I kno# it to be common in most places o& employment$ )o#ever! because o& this group e,perience I kno# that I #ill pick a certain channel o& communication mentioned earlier and #ill talk #ith the person that isn?t doing their /ob$ In class #e learned all about barriers and ho# to eliminate them$ "his #ould &it per&ectly in this situation$ I #ould take them into an o&&ice or have them step outside #ith me so that #e could talk #ithout interruptions$ I even remember in class doing a class activity that consisted o& the instructor giving each group a similar situation and having us come up #ith channels and barrier eliminations &or that situation$ "his one #ill be applicable in all kinds o& settings because you #ill al#ays have that one co#orker that doesn?t #ant to do their #ork and only o&&ers subpar pro&essionalism so using e&&ective communicating skills #ill help #ith this problem and hope&ully get the individual to do his or #ork #ork and #ill provide you an opportunity to help them do their #ork$ - 8

Conclusion
"he #hole pro/ect #as a process that lasted &or several #eeks and our group did #ell #ith participation by2 Listening and communication outside and inside the classroom! assigning people certain parts to research! and e,change in&ormation among individuals in our group$ +e had a challenge #ith members getting their parts completed along #ith not letting everyone help out as much as they could have$ +e still bene&ited &rom this and no# #e kno# ho# to handle similar problems on a more pro&essional level by2 .pplying di&&erent approaches to con&lict and channels o& communication! being a#are o& verbal and nonDverbal messages! being considerate o& others &eelings and concerns! and coming up #ith problemDoriented messages$ +e #ill most likely never #ork together as a group or even see each other again a&ter our class ends$ Interestingly enough! ho#ever! the things #e have learned as group #ill be things that stay #ith us because they are things that #ill al#ays be applicable throughout li&e$ 4eing able to a&&ect someone?s perspective #ith the skills o& communication is remarkable$ It is something you learned together as a group! something you can only learn through e,perience$

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Work Cited
Ronald 4$ .lder! 8eanne Mar-uardt 6lmhorst! 9risten Lucas$ Communicating at #ork$ Strategies 0or success In 4usiness .nd "he 7ro&essions$

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