Now, this is a chapter that makes me wish I had that photographic memory so I could have perfect recall of the Communication Processes. The promise of the chapter is not only fully realized, we are given lenses to view the different types of groups (our focus is on small groups) and to explore the behaviours that are dysfunctional and those that help promote the most successful collaborations. And as we are going through this process, we come to the realization that we are the conduits essential to the group’s success, and that there are behaviours we can abandon, choose and cultivate. [Tubbs, 2012, p. 2]
For me, it’s simply exciting to think there might actually be a way to improve a group, but even more so that we don’t have to accept them as is and endure. It was especially comforting to have qualified researchers cite studies that explained conduct that I have been subjected to on too many occasions thinking how was such a group possible. Didn’t someone in authority know? or worse, who are these people???
And then to have tables and examples and especially generous, practical tips, to help us speak up in meetings so that we are “contributing” and not interrupting, and many more throughout the chapter. And I especially liked the one on “how to listen.” It was very proactive and I think will be especially useful in our first group project as it hones in on paying attention to “thinking styles.” Now, who would have thought about that?
And speaking of listening, this little box of a quote is interesting to me because it almost says exactly what I was looking for in my attempt to add a little humor, and yet, the original play on words with this quote goes, “I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.” and that was from Robert McCloskey . And it certainly speaks to the art of listening. [Goodreads, 2016. Web]
The fun thing about intelligent people is that they are able to isolate and define even the most mundane and make it interesting. I mean, who would have thought of “emotional intelligence” but after reading the discussion, it clearly surpasses the old axiom of someone simply being referred to as “mature.” Plus, it provides genuine building blocks on which to assess, evaluate and grow. [Tubbs, 2012, p. 45]
But back to practical tips, and I think the 10 rules for communicating effectively were very interesting, e.g., using short sentences. I believe when you are speaking it is also most important, if you are speaking in a group, that you breathe! Take a break and let someone respond, now whether that means using short sentences, I don’t know, but letting people have a “say” or provide feedback is important
And I especially liked the “speak aspirationally” because I believe appealing to our “better angels” or “higher nature” is a great way to energize. I was also fascinated by the idea of redundancy, or repeating yourself. I know that when giving a speech we are to tell the audience what we are going to say, then say it, and then say what we said – whew! But I had never associated that procedure with a group communication, so that was thought provoking. [Tubbs, 2012, p. 69]
My favorite never-before-heard-of phrase was the “arc of distortion” explained as the “larger the gap, the less effective we are in our relations with others.” But it made such sense. Actually, everything in this chapter made sense. Well, almost. Then there was the discussion on how to interpret the verbal and nonverbal communication of liars, and I confess the sentence, “liars tend to show cognitive impairment with great nonfluencies in speech” left me in total confusion. I finally had to break it down into definitions, since I had never heard the word nonfluencies but I not only found a definition meaning that it is patterns of speech such as “uh, um” and I found an interesting thought to go along with it from the uncommonforum.com website and the contributor was Year of Consent, “Also, “uh”s and “um”s are the voice’s way to get involved in the thinking process — the voice has no business being in that process — it’s an intruder — exclude it — rudely, if you have to.” So I think that is an interesting focus if one needs to break the habit so common in speaking. [Tubbs, 2012, p. 50]
And the section on Visual Cues was utterly fascinating to me, and I can’t wait to see (no pun intended) whether I actually look through my right eye or my left when i am looking someone else in the “eye”. But there certainly is a lot of information on this very subject, but I especially liked this image from Boundless.com. [Boundless, 2016]
The site goes on to say, “Gaze includes looking while talking and listening. The length of a gaze, the frequency of glances, patterns of fixation, pupil dilation, and blink rate are all important cues in nonverbal communication. Unless looking at others is a cultural no-no, lookers gain more credibility than non-lookers.” Just a little more information than our textbook. [Boundless, 2016]
And the discussion on nominal teams and real teams was so interesting. I had never dissected the reasons that our project teams are so successful but when I read the discussion, it was clear. Allowing “consensus and dissent” and actively seeking that out … is strength, not weakness resulting in such a great outcome. And the choice of collaboration over all the other tactics to manage conflict as a true strength was a great definition. [Tubbs, 2012, p. 109]
And quite honestly, nothing could have prepared me for John McCain’s article, how do we ever thank our brave men and women who stand for our country. [Tubbs, 2012, p. 98]
- Boundless. Eye Contact and Facial Expression. Boundless Communications. Boundless, 26 May. 2016. Retrieved 29 Aug. 2016 from https://www.boundless.com/communications/textbooks/boundless-communications-textbook/delivering-the-speech-12/effective-visual-delivery-65/eye-contact-and-facial-expression-260-4169/
- Goodreads, 2016. Robert McCloskey. Goodreads, Inc., Web. Retrieved Aug 21, 2016, from Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14635.Robert_McCloskey.
- Tubbs, S.L. A Systems Approach to Small Group Interaction. McGraw-Hill. New York City. 2012.