Communication in a group or in mass of people depends on the means of communication or in short model of communication used. Group is smaller than mass of people and communicating will be easier than in mass. Hence there will be a great need of networking to relay the information faster and more effectively. Mostly interpersonal communication is most reliable for quality communication.
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Interpersonal communication is generally between two people achieved by creating a relationship that could either be long-term or short-term. At times it’s also referred to as dyad communication. This type of communication can be explained using schramm’s model of communication whereby communication is a two way process. There is an encoder through an interpreter to a decoder who relay message to a decoder through an interpreter’s help to an encoder. Both the sender and the receiver play the role of communicator and receiver.
Encoding is the process by which the sender puts an idea that is relevant and understandable, which is sent through a medium for instance a telephone. Interpreting involves understanding the message being conveyed and also being able to reply the relevant answer to the communicator.
For easier interpretation the sender must use a code that is standard and recognized by everyone, most especially, the receiver of the message. Decoding is the process of receiving, interpreting and understanding the message, in this case both the sender and receiver.
Group communication, on the other hand, involves a few people who share information, solve problems and create relationships. It involves group norms, non-formal groups and informal groups. This type of communication could also be said to be a two-way communication process using schramm’s model of communication.
Group norms are believes or cultural practices by a particular group who associate themselves with the facts that enable them to communicate and solve problems together. The other form of group is termed as a formal group. This kind of group maybe described as people who work together hence have a common problem they share and are able to associate with.
Lastly, there is an informal group of people who meet for the first time and may have a common problem or course that brings them together, thus they look forward to forming a relationship. This kind of group may grow to form grouping over a period of time.
The most important thing to consider when forming a group is to identify a problem. The group then moves to the next step to formulate means of solving the problem through consultation and finally making a common decision. The group must have a leader who will direct the discussion and avoid time wasting.
When choosing a leader in a group, there are certain factors to consider. This is either an authoritarian person or a democratic person. An authoritarian does not consult whatsoever. He believes he/she always right and no one can be smarter than him/her. On the other hand, a democrat participates in the group discussion and encourages everyone to contribute. He offers guidance to the group, throughout its sitting. Therefore, a good leader should be a democratic one. (Tuckman 44)
A good leader will take control from the storming, norming, and performing stages. These maybe termed as group dynamics including forming stage as well. The most effective stage of the group is the performing stage. It is at this stage that the group reaches maturity to perform its task.
Most importantly, consensus must be built which enables eradicate waste of time through arguing and settling for a weak idea to avoid conflict, among other reasons. However, differing in opinions in a group is very crucial as much as initial agreements are detrimental to the quality of the decisions made. Therefore, there should be an instance of voting, bargaining and more so revisiting the initial agreements.
There are two major problems to look out for in a group. These are group-minds and group-think. Group-think pressurizes the member to conformity, which in my own opinion is wrong. Other setbacks in group setup are absenteeism, lateness, non-contributing members, pessimism, domineering members who do not give others a chance to contribute, unwise individuals whose contribution is out of topic or weak academically, interrupting individuals who keep chatting when someone is talking, or members who are simply not interested.
Otherwise, these setbacks should not be allowed to drag the group’s work behind. Therefore, when forming a group, look for members who are academically equipped and individuals who are professional in developing consensus in the topic of discussion. Other than choosing the academicians and professionals, the individual member can make a decision to fit in the group.
This will help the group to achieve its success effectively. In additional, the issue of feeling guilt when a member goes against certain behavior or ideas of other people forcefully should be handled with a lot of caution. This is because I believe that feeling of guilt does not qualify a member’s point as wrong or irrelevant. However that does not mean that the member should agree to every idea put across. They should have a mind of their own and object when needed in wisely
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There are different ways in which a group can conduct. One is going out into the field gather information and coming back to the table and discuss every members finding.
The other avenue is watching a video, a presentation, journal which relates to the issue at hand. This should be followed by discussion and coming up with conclusions. Lastly, the group members can just come up with a topic and discuss it from their individual point of view as per their understanding. (McLuhan 23)
Group communication has been eased by the modern technologies like phones, video cameras, recorders and computers. The establishment of television and radios has also greatly contributed to effective group communication.
For example, when different members of a group are located at different locations, the members can choose a suitable means of media to involve each member at the current location without travelling. In my own experience, I have seen my group members discuss the conduct of a member through Skype video and each member contributed their views effectively.
Group communication has also been credited for good and bad political situation a given society. I therefore believe a well organized group communication using media is the most effective and the most reliable mode of communication. The speed of information transfer to the target group is supper good.
McLuhan Marshall. Understanding Media. Global Village Thesis, 1964
Tuckman Bruce. Group Communication, 1965.