Communicating in Small Groups

Good small-group decisions depend on everyone in the group participating and sharing the best ideas and information they have.

Roles (If a role is not filled, fill it or encourage a colleague to fill it. Consider filling a role that you don’t normally.)

  1. expediter – keeps group on task
  2. gatekeeper – encourages participation, prevents domination
  3. supplier – offers ideas
  4. analyzer – assesses the value of ideas
  5. supporter – makes sure everyone feels OK emotionally
  6. recorder – writes down group decisions and directives

Sit in a Circle – A table with a head creates a power structure which might intimidate and discourage participation, and informal scattering around a room may make it harder to stay on task.

Set a Clear Goal

Consensus – Everyone may not agree wholeheartedly, but everyone agrees to support the decision.

Get Committed or Get Out

Be Prepared – Know what the meeting is about, and what information you’re expected to bring. Bring your calendar or appointment book.

What is consensus? How is it different from majority rule? Why is consensus important?

How will you apply this to work or school? Be specific. Give examples. (This is the oral report part—you will share this orally in class.)

You will be graded on three criteria:
_____/4 Clearly describe/define the concept from class that you will be applying.
_____/4 explain the problem in detail.
_____/4 explain how you will apply the concept you learned in class to help you improve the problem.

If there are no problems or things that could improve, or if the situation is beyond help, choose another small group.