First, let us get something out in the open. Personally being very much introverted, communication has always been my weak point. The thought of a course devoted to communicating in a small group is frightening.
In my attempt to shed the introversion cloak, I have put myself into situations that force me to overcome my communication faults. Working for Time Warner Cable and Comcast Cable customer service over 6 years, in these two jobs I learned a lot about communication.
First, I had to learn how to communicate technical computer instructions across to people who sometimes know little about the computer. Second, I saw how the several mini-groups interacted with the larger team.
Looking back on my experiences I found the five considerations proposed by Forsyth very interesting. Those five considerations are: Interaction, Structure, Group cohesion, Social Identity and Goals.
The interaction of the group members was typically tight and close-knit. Communicating within each group is very easy and informal. The structure of these groups was typically one moderator and all others were participators. We all shared this perception since it was bestowed upon us by the overarching team.
It’s easy to overlook that we have been incorporated into small groups from birth. We have learned and adapted to various complexities that every small group brings. Some groups we have no choice in joining, others are we join for various reasons. Throughout the years we have learned both the good and bad aspects of communication through these groups.
For those who are familiar with the TV comedy series Seinfeld you might remember its contribution to the discussion of small group communications. They have several episodes that talk about different types of talkers such as the low talker and high talker. But I am always reminded of the one that I find the most annoying, the close talker.