Communication in Ministry – effective communication of groups

Chris Miller, President of Miller Management, is the host of this week’s episode. He is joined by his colleage, Dr. Glenn Miller, CEO of Miller Management.

Communication in Ministry – part three

The first episode in this series was part one of the discussion of one on one communication, last week was part two of that discussion. Today our focus is on group communications. The fourth week will discuss how meetings can effectively move your organization forward.

Keys to Effective Group Communication

Good group communication starts with good one on one communication. Which is what we discussed over the last two episodes in this series. When you improve communication, you can improve effectiveness of the group.

Some of the roadblocks to great communication include: lack of trust, general lack of understanding, unclear goals and objectives, lack of leadership. We will address the first three in this episode as the fourth one is much too broad to address completely here.

For more on Leadership Development, listen to this series.

First, trust. This is the foundation of communication. These include social times, ice breakers, etc. After you break the ice with something fun or silly, then you can open up to general discussion and watch the trust flourish. When there is lack of trust, go ahead and address it, you can take away some of that distrust with just the mentioning of distrust being present.

Keys to Managing the Stages of Groups

Secondly, a general lack of understanding of the stages the group needs to go through. Those stages are forming, storming, norming, and performing. Whatever stage you try to skip, your group will end up going back – it’s a process and the group has to go through each one.

In forming, address needs early. Manage with purpose. Get feedback to see when it’s time to move on. Again, each time there are no people or people leave, you will have to go back to this stage. But it’s the fun one, the bowling party and ice breakers.

During the storming stage, you will need a covenant of sorts so that people can abide by the rules. This is the place for healthy conflict. This stage is a learning process for all involved. If you avoid this stage, you will come back to hit it at the most inappropriate time.

With the norming stage, continue communicating where you are – what’s gone well and what still needs to happen to more forward. Analyize the group and coach them through to the performing stage.

Performing stage is the most fun. You’ve been climbing the mountain all this time, and now you’ve reached the top. The one warning with this stage is it is the most difficult to stay in. Continue to investigate time to make sure they successfully continue to go through the stages to continue to perform as a group well.

Now, we realize this is a ton of work, energy, and time. Once you communicate one on one and groups perform well, then you will see ministry unleashed. And that’s a great thing.

Creating Goals

Third, every group needs clear targets. Attainable goals that are clear and understandable (sometimes known as SMART goals). You may also want some stretch goals. Both kind of goals need to be measurable. Not grow more, but grow by 5%. With your specifics, remember to not put God in a box, that’s where those stretch goals come into play.

6 Tips to healthy communication between groups:

  1. Groups are a collection of individuals. Don’t stereotype the “other group.” Avoid the “our group is better” thinking.
  2. Seek to understand the facts on both sides.
  3. Group members often exaggerate the differences between the groups.
  4. Incorporate the other groups views to complete the project.
  5. Avoid assigning motives to the other group. Get to know them so you cn understand their motivations.
  6. Seek to understand the person’s/group’s interests, not just their position on the subject. (See the book Getting to Yes for more on this one.)

When there is miscommunication, follow these 5 tips:

  1. Go directly to the source when there is miscommunication.
  2. Truth and accuracy are always the best policy.
  3. Understand your responsibility in misunderstanding, and own up to it.
  4. Be factual and trustworthy in your communications.
  5. Kill gossip – go straight to the source every time.

Final Thoughts

This is a lot of information, we know. You may want to replay these episodes within your group and get everyone’s feedback. And revisit the episode or these show notes as often as you need to whenever your group dynamic changes, to help you go through the four stages well.

Next week we continue our communication disussion series with effectively running a meeting.

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Special thanks to our guest, Dr. Glenn Miller, and our masters of all things Podcasting, Chris and Lauren Miller, for this third episode in our Communication in Ministry series.