During seminar, it is common for participants to join group activities. These activities are specifically designed to create a powerful and long-lasting impact on the knowledge that you are trying to instill in their minds. Thus, grouping your audience should make use of group dynamics so that you, as the seminar facilitator, will be able to increase your chances of achieving your overall purpose for the seminar.
This term would refer to the series of processes, interactions, and combined performances that occur within a group. Because people differ from each other in terms of personalities, beliefs, values, level of experience, and background, you cannot expect them to get along so easily. Issues may be felt and perceived differently by individual members although they are all presented with the same issues. This is where the importance of group dynamics lies. Similar to team building, group dynamics would refer to the relationship within the group that will bind them all together and help them achieve a common goal.
How is a group formed and how is group dynamics developed? These will be discussed further in this section.
Grouping your seminar participants can be done in several ways. But it is not really about how it is formed but more on how to make this group work. The facilitator will more or less determine how to group the audience based on the size of the crowd and also on what is best for the purpose of the task.
Here are some of the ways to form groups:
- Facilitator assigns the groups. In this type of grouping, it is the seminar facilitator who will decide on how to group the participants. The facilitator may decide to base it on age, nationality, gender, employment, or by counting off numbers. This kind of group selection may be advantageous and much quicker to do.
- The participants choose their own groups. In this type of grouping, it is the participants themselves who will find their own group members. It can be advantageous because they are easily able to build group dynamics since they already know their members.
- Skill set basis. This is done by grouping participants based on at least one set of skills that they possess. However, while this may be good for some activities it is not always appropriate for all activities.
Before you group your participants, you should take into consideration the amount of time you have for each activity as well as the total number of people who will be joining. The ideal number of people in a group should be between 4 and 8. Very small groups can be limiting while very large groups may also result to minimal impact on each individual member.
Creating Group Dynamics
Bruce Tuckman developed a theory in the 1960s about the “how” of group dynamics. According to him, there are 5 stages that are involved in group development and all these must be maximized in order to ensure that there will be solid group dynamics within a group. These stages are: forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning. The ability of the group to address issues that occur in each stage will determine the level of success they will attain in achieving their objectives.
- Forming: During this stage, group members are still confused and uncertain. They are not yet fully aware of their objectives and goals; they have not identified their roles as well as the leadership role. During this stage, group members begin to get to know each other so this phase should be given ample time, to develop trust and openness.
- Storming: In this stage, conflicts and issues arise. Individuals try to compete with each other in order to get the coveted leadership role. It is important that members are able to voice out their concerns and effectively resolve conflicts otherwise they will have difficulty advancing to the next stage.
- Norming: During this stage, group members will begin to understand each other’s differences and develop shared expectations. Responsibilities are divided among the group members and each of them will start to develop a bond among other members in the group.
- Performing: Now that the group has reached this stage, it could only mean that they have matured in their perception and feelings about the group and the members of the group. They already know their roles and what they need to do in order to achieve their objectives.
- Adjourning: This is the last phase of group development. During this phase, the group’s objectives have been accomplished and the task you have assigned for them has been completed. The groups are now ready to disband so that you can go on with the seminar presentation or activities.