5 Excellent tips for communication skills with groups
Starting an engaging group discussion is not necessarily easy. There are many factors to lighting up a group. However, making people feel Comfortable, Safe and Free with the others are big ones.
There is, invariably an awkwardness at the start of most interactions unless you're very familiar with the group or have fully integrated the five tips below.
Yes, there are indeed 5 powerful tips for communication skills with groups that work like gang busters. They're tried and tested tools that assist in sparking an energized discussion among a group of individuals:
1. Oneness - get all involved.
At the beginning of a discussion, most are going to feel affected by the new surroundings, strange people and general unfamiliarity.
This tends to immobilize individuals and prevents them from letting go of their defense mechanisms. Introducing individuals to each other may well be the way to disarm them. It injects an atmosphere of familiarity and sends a signal to the brain, it's ok now, or at least we're getting there.
Further, connect the group by applauding everyone for having made an effort to come. This helps people to feel good about themselves, triggering the right brain chemicals that further puts the individual at ease.
2. Introduce a Chill pill.
Another powerful method of quickly connecting and warming up a group is to start by introducing a humorous, generalized subject that breaks the icy chill of unfamiliarity. When People feel unthreatened, they slowly allow themselves to show up fully.
I like this chill pill, it works wonders as a tip for communication skills with groups.
3. No Firing Squads.
Refrain from directing everyone's attention on any one person. If this happens too early in the discussion, this could have a detrimental effect on the individual and the dynamics of the group. I've often heard that, when a person is called upon too early in a group situation, it feels like they're in front of a firing squad. By that simple act, you could have everyone else in the group wondering if they'll be next in line for execution.
4. Stories never fail
In group situations, usually, each member is just waiting for somebody to break the coldness of unfamiliarity. A powerful way to do this is by telling a story. Stories work because they are tools that bypass the logical mind and connect to the heart. A good story can disarm and encourage individuals to engage their feelings.
5. Open-ended QUESTIONS.
The 5th method in the tips for communication skills with groups is a teaser. These type of questions cleverly require more than 'yes' or 'no' answers. If executed well, these questions will tease and start a forrest fire of conversation that circulates through the group.
An example I've used in the past is "How do you like to spend your weekends?".
This allows members to celebrate their individuality. It sends a message out that says we're interested in you and what you do.
Another excellent group question type is “What If you could only...". Example, "What if you could only take three things with you to a deserted island?".
Groups love this exercise, as they are given room to get creative, imagine and share.
Experiment with the tips above, get creative and get the circulation flowing through the group. Always keep the atmosphere inclusive, invite and allow everyone to contribute. Keep it unthreatening and caring. Absolutely no firing squads or embarrassing, on-the-spot moments. It's always about building moment, a gradual increase of familiarity. Keeping the conversation positive and upbeat.
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