First

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.

 

 

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  3 comments for “First

  1. January 30, 2016 at 2:48 am

    Interesting post. I can definitely relate to being an introvert. I also get social anxiety sometimes. But like you, I feel like I have put myself into situations where I am forced to communicate, especially in unfamiliar settings that push me outside of my own box. I think that doing that as an introvert is a very powerful learning experience because you get to learn more about yourself in the process. I’m pretty sure this is from when I was young when my parents, especially my Dad, would kind of force me into situations that were socially uncomfortable for me at the time, but I see now have helped me develop a level of assertiveness and awareness that I never would have done on my own. I don’t think there is anything wrong at all with being an introvert, but eliminating fear of socialization from the equation is important to me.

  2. February 23, 2016 at 7:30 pm

    Hey Jason,

    I really enjoyed reading your post. Also, had I remembered this Seinfeld clip, I would have referenced it in my Proxemics post…i digress. Isn’t interesting that even though we have been in groups all our lives we still haven’t mastered the art of small group communication? I think many of us would agree that we pick up bits and pieces on how to communicate as we grow up and become assimilated into other open groups like work groups. Working as a tech guy for people who aren’t as technically savvy as you is one sure way of learning on a steep curve because you had to practice patience, focus, empathy and be versatile enough to know with whom you can give quick directions. I think you’ve applied your knowledge well over the years and that you continue to get better in communication.

  3. February 24, 2016 at 12:02 am

    I thought that your Seinfeld clip was hilarious, and it really illustrates how our communication styles vary based on how we learn to interact socially. I did recently have a run-in with a close-talker, actually. When I was at work one day, there was a particular customer who kept standing less than two feet from me when I was helping him with his shopping list. Anytime we stopped and he asked me questions about his options as far as products, he would move a couple inches closer. That was a little unnerving, but I understand that this was a cultural difference with personal space.

    I’m really glad to hear that you push yourself into new social settings, even though I know that can be intimidating. I remember my first year of public high school after being home-schooled for 10 years. That was a really challenging learning experience before I could actually fit-in socially.

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