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When working in groups, there are several things that you need to consider in order to work as effectively as possible. First, you need to set your group up for success by deciding how you expect group members to behave. This process has three components.
According to the King County Dispute Resolution Center, setting the proper atmosphere is the first step. Groups should create a list that describes the way members should behave. Some of these qualities often include: respectful, honest, tolerant, and welcoming of different perspectives (King County Dispute Resolution Center, 2011).
Several things can get in the way of productive group work, and your group should make a list of these in order to avoid them. Some examples include: name-calling, side conversations, interrupting, and people dominating the conversation (King County Dispute Resolution Center, 2011).
Now that you've identified good and bad qualities of group behavior, your group should create a set of rules to live by - and then follow them. These ground rules should affirm the items from list one, and counteract the items from list two (King County Dispute Resolution Center, 2011).Now that your group is ready to proceed, here are some handy tips for successful interaction.
Finally, be sure that any final product of your group is effectively synthesized, so that it speaks with the voice of the group, rather than sounding like a combination of pieces created by different people.
King County Dispute Resolution Center. Working Collaboratively in Groups: Creating Ground Rules. http://www.kcdrc.org/documents/Creating%20Ground%20Rules.pdf. Accessed 20 May 2011.
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