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In Mixed Company Chapter Four
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  1. In Mixed Company Chapter Four Developing the Group Climate Speech 140 Chapter 4 Developing the Group Climate

  2. The Group Climate • A group climate is the emotional atmosphere, the enveloping tone that is created by the way we communicate in groups. • A positive climate exists when individuals perceive that they are valued, supported, and treated will by the group. • A negative climate exists when group members do not feel valued, supported, and respected, when trust is minimal, and when members perceive that they are not treated well. Speech 140 Chapter 4 Developing the Group Climate

  3. Competition: Winner Takes All • Competition is a mutually exclusive goal attained (MEGA) process. • When transactions in groups are competitive, individual success is achieved at the expense of other group members. • Competition, by definition, necessitates the failure of the many of the success of the few. Speech 140 Chapter 4 Developing the Group Climate

  4. Cooperation: Winners All • Cooperation is a mutually inclusive attainment (MIGA) process. • Individual success is tied directly to the success of other group members. • Group members work together, not against each other, when attempting to achieve a common goal. Speech 140 Chapter 4 Developing the Group Climate

  5. Individual Achievement: Going It Alone • Individual achievement- the attainment of personal goal without having to defeat another person. • For conceptual clarity it is important that we understand the difference between competition and individual achievement. Speech 140 Chapter 4 Developing the Group Climate

  6. Hypercompetitiveness:Winning is Everything • Hypercompetitiveness- The excessive emphasis on defeating others to achieve one’s goals. • It is hypercompetitiveness, not competitiveness itself, that poses the greatest challenge to establishing a positive group climate of trust, openness, directness, supportiveness, and accomplishment. • Constructive competition occurs when competition produces a positive, enjoyable experience and generates increased efforts to achieve without jeopardizing positive interpersonal relationships and personal well-being. Speech 140 Chapter 4 Developing the Group Climate

  7. When Winning is Relatively Unimportant • The less group members emphasize wining as the primary goal of competition and instead focus more on having fun and developing skills while competing, the more positive will be the group climate. • When opponents are equally matched, allowing all participants a reasonable chance to win. • When there are clear, specific rules that ensure fairness. When there are clear rules enforced without bias, competition can be a constructive enterprise. When there are no rules, or rules are enforced selectively or haphazardly, competition induces strong dissatisfaction with remaining a member of a group. • All three of the above conditions must be satisfied for constructive competition to occur. Speech 140 Chapter 4 Developing the Group Climate

  8. Competition and Communication Competence: Can Me Be We? • First, communication competence is a matter of degree. • Second, although competent communication requires We-orientation, this does not exclude any consideration of individual needs. Orientation implies primary, not exclusive, focus. The emphasis matters, not the mere presence of occasional competitive, individualistic communication patterns. • Third, many activities combine both competition and cooperation. Intergroup (between groups) competition usually requires a great deal of intragroup (within a group) cooperation. Speech 140 Chapter 4 Developing the Group Climate

  9. Group Productivity: Achievement and Performance on Tasks • The cooperation advantage is especially significant when compared to the disadvantages of competition that is hypercompetitive, between unequal opponents, and conducted unfairly. • There are two primary reasons why cooperation promotes and competition dampens achievement and performance for most groups and individuals. • Attempting to achieve excellence and trying to beat others are different goals. • Resources are used more efficiently in a cooperative climate. A cooperative climate promotes the full utilization of information by a group, whereas a competitive climate typically promotes information hoarding. Speech 140 Chapter 4 Developing the Group Climate

  10. Evaluation versus Description • Negative evaluations include criticism, contempt, and blame. Positive evaluation includes praise, recognition, and flattery. • Description is a first-person report of how an individual feels, what the individual perceives to be true, and what behaviors have been observed in a specific context. • Use first-person singular language, they begin with an identification of the speaker’s feeling, followed by a description of behavior linked to the feeling. (A you-statement however, places the focus on someone who is an object of attack.) • Make your descriptions specific and not vague • Eliminate editorial comments from descriptive statements. • We must be willing and able to place the focus on our won feelings and spotlight the specific behaviors we find objectionable without sending mixed messages composed of verbal descriptions and nonverbal , negative evaluations. Speech 140 Chapter 4 Developing the Group Climate

  11. Control versus Problem Orientation • Issuing orders and demanding obedience, especially when no input was sought from group members that were told what to do, is controlling communication. • Psychological reactance means the more someone tries to control us by telling us what to do. • We help prevent a defensive climate from emerging when we collaborate on a problem and seek solutions cooperatively. The orientation is on the problem and how to best solve it, not on how best to control those who have less power. • The competent communicator must know how to problem-solve, have the requisite skills, and be committed to finding solutions. Speech 140 Chapter 4 Developing the Group Climate

  12. Manipulation versus Assertiveness • Hidden Agendas- personal goals of group members that are not revealed openly and that can interfere with group accomplishment- can create a defensive atmosphere. • When you suspect that a team member is complimenting your performance merely to gain an ally against other members in a dispute, this hidden agenda will likely ignite defensiveness. Speech 140 Chapter 4 Developing the Group Climate

  13. Indifference versus Empathy • Failure to acknowledge another person’s communication effort either verbally or nonverbally is called an impervious response. • Empathy requires that we try to see from the perspective of the other person, perceiving the needs, desires, and feelings of a group member because that is what we would want others to do for us. Speech 140 Chapter 4 Developing the Group Climate

  14. Superiority versus Equality • Communicating superiority sends the message that one is me-deep in self-importance. It can be a tremendous turnoff for most people. • Equality does not mean we all have the same abilities. Equality from the standpoint of group climate means that we give everyone an equal opportunity to succeed. • We accord all group members respect unless they earn our disrespect. Speech 140 Chapter 4 Developing the Group Climate

  15. Certainty versus Provisionalism • There are a few things in life that are certain, death, taxes, etc. • Provisionalism means you qualify statements, avoiding absolutes. Provisionalism is reflected in the use of qualifying terms such as possibly, probably, perhaps, occasionally, maybe, might, and sometimes. Speech 140 Chapter 4 Developing the Group Climate

  16. Reciprocal Patterns: Like Begets Like • One famous tit-for-tat exchange occurred between Lady Astor, the first female member of the British Parliament, and Winston Churchill. Exasperated by Churchill’s opposition to several of the causes she espoused, Lady Astor acerbically remarked, “Winston, if I were married to you, I’d put poison in your coffee.” • Churchill replied, “And if you were my wife, I’d drink it.” Speech 140 Chapter 4 Developing the Group Climate

  17. Competitive and Noncompetitive Listening: Shifting and Supporting • Active listening is focused listening. We make a conscious effort to focus our attention of the speaker and his or message. • Too often when sitting in groups we do not make the effort to listen actively. Speech 140 Chapter 4 Developing the Group Climate

  18. Shift Response versus Support Response • When we vie for attention during a group discussion our listening becomes competitive. An attention-getting initiative by a listener, called the shift response, is a key competitive listening strategy. • The support response, in contrast, is an attention-giving cooperative effort by the listener to focus attention on the other person, not on oneself. • Supportive assertion and a supportive question are the types of supportive responses that encourage cooperative discussion, not competitive struggles for attention. Speech 140 Chapter 4 Developing the Group Climate

  19. Competitive Interrupting: Seizing the Floor • Listeners who use the shift response usually observe the “one speaker at a time” rule of conversation. Competitive interrupters do not. • Competitive interruption is the focus on individual needs, not group needs. • Completive interrupting creates antagonism, rivalry, hostility, and in some cases withdrawal from group discussion by frustrate members. Speech 140 Chapter 4 Developing the Group Climate

  20. Ambushing: Preparing Rebuttals • When we are ready to pounce on a point made by a speaker, we are listening with a bias. • The biases to attack the speaker verbally, not try to understand the speaker’s point of view is called ambushing. • Preparing a rebuttal while a speaker is still explaining his or her point show little interest in comprehending a message. Speech 140 Chapter 4 Developing the Group Climate

  21. Ambushing: Preparing Rebuttals • Probing and paraphrasing can short-circuit ambushing. Probing means seeking additional information from a speaker by asking questions. • Paraphrasing “is a concise response to the speaker which states the essence of the other’s content in the listeners world.” Speech 140 Chapter 4 Developing the Group Climate