Small Group Communication Welcome to class! It is great to have you here! 2
Small Group Communication Agenda: Lecture Sample of group projects Test One Returned Work in groups 3
Group and Member Confidence • Members who lack confidence are less likely to share what they know or voice their opinion. • Confident members are more effective group members. • Confident groups are more likely to succeed.
Communication Apprehension • “An individual’s level of fear or anxiety associated with either real or anticipated communication with another person or persons.” • About 20 percent of the general population experiences very high levels of communication apprehension. Virginia P. Richmond and James C. McCroskey, Communication: Apprehension, Avoidance, and Effectiveness, 4th ed.
How Confident Are You? • Are you comfortable participating in group discussions? • Do you like to get involved in group discussions? • Are you afraid to express yourself at meetings? • Are you relaxed when answering questions at a meeting?
Sources of Communication Apprehension List additional sources: • Communication patterns in families • Negative past experiences • _______________________________ • _______________________________
High Apprehensives Avoid group participation Talk less often Simply agree with others Have difficulty focusing on a discussion Make poor impressions on others Low Apprehensives Initiate discussion Speak more often Assert themselves Provide quality input May dominate discussions Make good impression on others Communication Apprehension in Groups
A. Systematic desensitization B. Cognitive restructuring C. Visualization __ Substituting positive thoughts for worrisome and irrational thoughts about communicating in groups __ Imagining yourself succeeding as you participate in a successful group __ Learning to stay relaxed as you imagine yourself in a variety of group situations, beginning with those that are comfortable and going on to those that produce more anxiety Match the Relaxation Techniques
Provide Constructive Feedback Guidelines for providing constructive feedback that enhances member confidence: • Focus on the behavior (rather than on the person). • Describe the behavior (rather than judge it). • Provide observations (rather than assumptions). • Choose an appropriate time and place to contribute feedback (rather than ignoring the circumstances). • Give feedback to help others (rather than to meet your own needs.
If you are a low apprehensive . . . Be supportive of other group members by: • providing constructive feedback. • _______________________________ • _______________________________
Confidence in Virtual Groups You may be more confident when communicating via computer because . . . • you control how you present yourself online. • you may not have to reveal information about your appearance, gender, race, status, or voice. • other members may overestimate your qualities and abilities based on your online responses. • you have more the time to construct suitable replies.
PowerPoint Quiz Highly apprehensive group members . . . a. are less intelligent than other members. b. are less hard-working than other members. c. are more intelligent and creative than other members. d. are more likely to be seen as leaders. e. can successfully participate in group discussions.
Assertiveness Assertiveness Speaking up and acting in your own best interests without denying the rights and interests of others
Assertive Group Members • Appear confident, honest, open, and cooperative • Volunteer ideas and opinions • Ask and answer questions without fear or hostility • Stand up for their beliefs, even when others disagree • Express their feelings openly • Respect and defend the rights and opinions of other group members
Balancing Passivity and Aggression • Passivity may characterize group members who lack confidence. • Reluctant to express opinions and feelings, fear criticism, and usually do what they are told • Aggressive members act in their own self-interest at the expense of others. • Critical, insensitive, combative, and even abusive
Passive-Aggressive Members Passive-aggressive members mask aggression with the appearance of passivity or cooperation They. . . • rarely exhibit aggressive behavior • have little respect for the rights of others • often they get their way by: • undermining others behind their backs • deceiving others about their intentions
Assertiveness Skills in Groups • Devote significant time to prepare for meetings. • Enlist an assertive colleague who will make sure you’re given time to speak. • Express your opinions clearly. • Establish and maintain direct eye contact. • Assume an assertive body language. • Express your feelings as well as thoughts. • Speak expressively (volume, pitch, rate).
Culture and Assertiveness • Assertiveness, in the Western sense of direct self-expression, is generally not appropriate in other cultures that value less direct communication. • Many women are uncomfortable expressing themselves assertively. • Assertive language seems inconsiderate and harsh. • As a result, some female members may become a muted group.
Types of Assertions • Basic Assertion • Empathetic Assertion • Escalating Assertion • Three-Part Assertion
Basic Assertion • Begin with an “I want” or “I feel” statement. Example: “I feel uncomfortable about asking Abe to take sides in this discussion.” • Example: ___________________________ __________________________________ __________________________________
Empathic Assertion • Use a two-part statement: (1) acknowledge the other person’s situation or feelings and (2) stand up for your rights. Example: “I know you’ve really been busy, but I need you to make more time for our group project.” • Example: ___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________
Escalating Assertion • Gradually escalate the force of your assertion, become increasingly firm, and even mention some type of resulting action. Example: “If we don’t finish this project by tomorrow, I’ll be forced to schedule a Saturday meeting.” • Example: _________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Three-Part Assertion • Three-part statement: (1) When you do _____ (describe the behavior), (2) The effects are _____ (describe how the behavior affects you), (3) I’d prefer _____ (describe what you want). Example: “When you failed to get us the report we needed, we couldn’t complete the project on time. I’m both hurt and angry. Next time, I’d like you to do what you say you’ll do.” • Example:_________________________________________________________________________________________________________
PowerPoint Quiz What kind of assertive statement is made in the following example: “I appreciate your desire for a unanimous vote. At the same time, I strongly believe that this decision could backfire and cause serious problems in the future.” • Basic assertion • Empathic assertion • Escalating assertion • Three-part assertion
Climate Climates are everywhere we turn. People place a lot of stock in knowing the weather, why? To know what to expect, of course. 28
What is group climate? Group climate refers to the social tone of the group relationship. 29
What is group climate? A climate does not involve specific activities as much as the way people feel about each other as they carry out those activities. 30
How do communication climates develop? As soon as people start to communicate, a climate begins to develop. 31
How do communication climates develop? Verbal messages certainly contribute to the tone of a relationship, however, many of the “climate-shaping” messages are non –verbal (smiles, frowns, eye contact, tone of voice, use of personal space, facial expressions, etc.). 32
Why do some messages create a positive climate and others a negative one? Climate is determined by the degree to which people see themselves as valued. When people feel valued, it’s usually because they are receiving confirming messages. 33
What’s a confirming message? A confirming message is one in which the group members acknowledges important parts of each others presenting self. Confirming messages are validating the other people in the group – you’re saying they exist. 34
Confirming messages occur on three increasingly positive levels. 1. Recognition – The most fundamental act of confirmation is to recognize the other person. This gives a person validation. 35
Confirming messages occur on three increasingly positive levels. 2. Acknowledgement – Acknowledging the ideas and feelings of others is a stronger form of confirmation than recognition. 36
Confirming messages occur on three increasingly positive levels. 3. Endorsement – Where as acknowledgement means you are interested in the other, endorsement means that you agree with them. 37
We cannot always agree with everything someone has said therefore, we may send a disagreeing message. 38
Disagreeing Message and a Disconfirming Message A disagreeing message says, “I acknowledge you but do not agree with you. A disconfirming message says, “You don’t exist” and/or we don’t react. 39
There are three types of disagreement: 1. Argumentativeness – has been defined by scholars as presenting and defending positions on issues while attacking positions taken by others. Note: Attack the issues, not the people; this maintains a positive climate. 40
There are three types of disagreement: 2. Complaining – When people aren’t prepared to argue, but still want to register dissatisfaction, they tend to complain. Studies have shown there are positive and negative complaints. 41
There are three types of disagreement: 3. Aggressiveness – The most destructive way to disagree with another person is through aggressiveness. Verbal aggressiveness is the tendency to attack the self-concepts of other people in order to inflict psychological pain. Aggressiveness demeans the worth of others like name calling, put downs, sarcasm, taunting and yelling. 42
Disconfirming Messages: Remember a disconfirming message says, “You don’t exist!” Group members send disconfirming messages in seven (7) different ways: 43
Disconfirming Messages: 1. Impervious Response – Ever have someone call you and you didn’t return the call? 44
Disconfirming Messages: 2. Interrupting Response – occurs when one person begins speaking before the other person is through making a point. 45
Disconfirming Messages: 3. Irrelevant Response – is making a comment totally unrelated to what the other person was just saying. 46
Disconfirming Messages: 4. Tangential Response – shifts or steers the conversation in a new direction. 47
Disconfirming Messages: 5. Impersonal response – Pseudo responses. Conversation filled with impersonal, intellectualized, and generalized statements. 48
Disconfirming Messages: 6. Incongruous Response – contains two messages that tend to deny or contradict each other. One verbal (denotative) and the other non-verbal (connotative). He: “Darling, I love you!” She: “I love you too.” (giggles) 49
Disconfirming Messages: 7. Ambiguous Response – contains a message with more than one meaning. Highly abstract. Person A: I’d like to get together with you soon. How about Tuesday? Person B: Uh, maybe so, anyhow, see you later. 50