Re: Meeting strategies--check-out/Check in
From: BM.Vornbrock (
Date: Fri, 3 Jun 94 17:31 CDT
This has become a more general topic about group communication and I wanted to
pass along some info and the name of a book that I've found invaluable for
learning a bit about group dynamics:

        Bormann, E.G. & N.C.  _Effective Small Group Communication, Fifth 
Edition_.  Edina, MN: Burgess Publishing, 1992.

This book has helped me understand and 'troubleshoot' group dynamics in many
different ways.  Although there is nothing like experience in inter- and
intra- personal communication, I find it never hurts to tap the wisdom of those
who have dug into the subject a bit.  Also,

robsan [at] wrote...

> One of the interesting things I have observed in watching groups meet, 
> and also being involved in my own groups meeting is that when the 
> meeting focus shifts primarily to business at hand, and relationship 
> building is reduced or eliminated, often problems emerge in the 
> business meeting.
> I have been able to observe about 20 different communities doing 
> meetings and have seen that the most often cause of conflicts expressed 
> in meetings is that the person or persons initiating the conflict has 
> some other issue or thing to discuss which is not "business" and 
> therefore is not on the agenda and is being ignored.
> Although I recognize that the details and decisions in designing and 
> creating a housing development are an enormous task, I also would say 
> that if you ignore the interpersonal bonding needs of the group, it 
> will very likely come back and bite you when you least expect it.
        The group has a collective unconcious similar to the human unconcious.
        This means that topics that are shared by the group surface,
        sometimes in twisted ways, when they aren't addressed up front
        or at least acknowledged and conciously set aside.
        I hurry to point out that some unconcious activity is not only
        healthy but necessary.  But, by way of example, one time in a fairly
        new group we spent a lot of time discussing the poor state of 
        political leadership in our state and our country.  'Round and 'round
        we went and then when we were done, one brave soul asked... what
        was that all about.  As we pulled it apart, I and the person next
        to me discovered that we shared a disappointment in the way the
        group leadership was being done.  When we launched into the 'safer'
        discussion, we tapped a vein in others and ... the rest was a 30
        minute trip through social politics.  Besides learning more about
        what we thought was effective leadership, one of us also ended up 
        safe enough and was analytical enough to tie the discussion back
        to our group's dynamics.  Then we could focus on building better
        group leadership.
        And the dance continues....

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