Why is Communication So Important?
Communication is Transformative
Our ability to communicate well is essential in any good relationship, particularly to the relationships among the members of a group of people who work, play or worship together. No group communicates as well as a group of people who have evolved into community together.
What’s Your Goal for Your Group?
If your goal is to have a more cohesive, committed, collaborative team that enjoys camaraderie, support, and authentic relationships then your group needs to do community building exercises. Community building exercises are all about communication that brings the members into a deeper relationship with one another.
Community Building Exercises are Transformational Too
They gently create a safe space where we can see through the roles people play, and judgments of them and projections onto them, to the person beneath. So why do we need to go to that level, say, if we are working on a project with strangers?
Typically, when we look at people, we see their public face. We see their career, their social/economic status, their ethnic background, their sense of style, their level of confidence. We see what they want us to see. Before you criticize this for being false, realize that you, too, present your public face. You do it on Facebook and Instagram at the very least. Our online lives consist of painting the picture for the world of the person we hope to be/wish we were. We put our best face forward (I know, I got that wrong – I had to adjust it to make the point). And I’m not saying there is anything wrong with that.
It’s just that what we see is not all that’s there – not by a long shot. And all those things get in the way of our desire to have a group of people who work well together.
We Also Get to Be Who We Are
By engaging in authentic conversation with others in the group, we get to see who they really are but that’s not even the best part! We also get to be who we are. What a relief there is in that! How rare to be that comfortable within a group of people who know you and like you anyway. Once we get all of that stuff (the community building does this for us) out of the way, we can get down to business and be effective in tackling our task.
In Sounding the Drum are 21 templates of questions to start a community building conversation with your group and 6 templates that are specific to particular groups. The questions start the conversation slowly, gently respecting the layers of protection we have learned to hide behind. They guide the conversation into a deeper discussion about life issues that are the individual topics. These conversations are what begin to draw a group out of pseudocommunity. And into chaos. And, finally, into Emptiness and Community.
Take the Time
The time it takes to build community saves you time in the long run. It’s like cleaning the water in the pool before jumping in; things are so much clearer and peaceful and effective once a group has become a community.
Photo Credit: Katieslusarski