Communication in a group environment differs from individual communication namely because when more people are involved in the decision making process more effort is required to process everyone’s input. It can be time consuming to reach a conclusion for a small set of people seeking to achieve goals while they work through the differences that exist (Baack, 2012). The same principles apply as when communicating to an individual; participate in active listening; show respect; provide feedback and be honest. When a team is formed for a specific goal, in order to achieve the objectives, effective communication skills are essential.
There are unique challenges to communicating within a group. First, proper planning can help prevent wasted time and energy. For example, when a group convenes for a specific task, the manager or team leader organizing the group must be specific about the reason for the group’s formation. In addition, providing an agenda and assigning key roles helps maintain order and assists the team in achieving their desired outcome sooner rather than later. A strong individual for instance, can dominate the group and steer them away from the intended agenda. In addition, a person in a gatekeeper role with their own motive can withhold information to keep certain individuals from participating.
In other instances, one or two motivated and enthusiastic members with more experience in a particular field may carry the work load inadvertently encouraging social loafing from the other participants. As a possible solution when this occurs, the leader or other active members can assign duties to those needing guidance and direction. Creating group cohesiveness is also an important element for the success of achieving team objectives.