How to Improve Communication During a Group Project

by Sara Vazquez Shaw

When you have a group project at hand, you want to be able to effectively communicate with everyone in the group. Here are a few tips for improving communication among members of a group during a project to ensure your project's success:

Have the right team

You need to choose the right people to work with on your project. Most of the time you can choose your own group project members, and it is important to do so with careful consideration. While it is sometimes hard to judge people, you should have a sense of who really enjoys being in the class and who is just taking the class because it is required. You want to choose classmates who are on the same page as you. If you end up choosing people who don't care about the project, then they will not contribute work and may bring the whole group down. Your first instinct may be to choose your friends to work with on the project, but while you and your friends probably see eye to eye on most things, tensions may erupt if you have different academic philosophies.

Clarify the project objectives and goals

Once you have assembled your group, the first thing you want to do is clarify the objectives and the goals of the project with everyone in the group. The reasons for this are that you want to ensure that everyone is on the same topic and not wasting precious time. This helps to improve group communication because everything is laid out upfront so everyone remains focused on the task at hand, and the whole group knows what to expect with the project long-term. Goals should be broken down into objectives so you can measure the overall success of the project.

Effectively manage conflict

When you have a group of individuals working on one project together, there is always the likelihood of conflic arising. It is important that you manage any conflicts that may come up before they become a huge problem. You want to effectively listen to where the conflicted person is coming from. It is crucial to let everyone have their say, and try to come up with a reasonable solution as a group.

Keep stress under control

In order for everyone in the group to communicate successfully, everyone needs to be aware and in control of their own emotions. If you are stressed, you have the tendency to misinterpret what others say or send confusing nonverbal signals to others in the group. You need to recognise the signs that you are getting stressed, such as shallow breathing, clenched fists, and tight stomach muscles. If you do sense you are getting stressed, take a short walk to get away for a minute. You can also take a couple of deep breaths to relax all of your body muscles.

By effectively following these tips, you may eliminate any potential issues that may come up during the project. You can also ensure everyone communicates well so that the project is a success.