Teamwork and Getting Organized

When you start any group assignment or project it is a good idea to agree on some basic organization and how the group will work and communicate together.

Think about:


  • When to meet - pick times that everyone can make

  • Where to meet - again, pick a place that is accessible to all group members. You may need to book rooms in advance

  • How best to keep in touch - share emails and phone numbers and agree the easiest way to communicate.

  • A realistic schedule to complete your task

  • The importance of being committed to the group, and turning up and participating


A key aspect of good group organization is starting and finishing with everyone knowing what they are expected to do.


  • Start by agreeing on the objectives for the group - what do you want to achieve in this session?

  • Keep focused by having a list of tasks or issues to cover

  • Perhaps select someone to take notes and keep track of what was agreed

  • End by summarizing what was agreed on in the meeting

  • Ensure all group members understand what they have to do for the next meeting

  • Agree on a time and place to meet again if necessary


Borrowed from the University of Reading: 

Speaking and Listening Skills

Try these effective listening strategies:

  • Concentrate on what the speaker is saying, not on what you want to say next

  • Wait until the speaker has finished their point - don't interrupt

  • Focus on the content of what they are saying and link it to other ideas - how might it be useful?

  • Consider the speaker's feelings


Speak in the group - not at them.


People who speak at a group leave no space for response and tend to dominate. People who speak in a group consider the other members. So:

  • Make contributions, but don't dominate

  • Ask questions, but not too many

  • Speak to the whole group - not just to your friends

  • Acknowledge your errors and apologise, "Oh I see, I'm sorry I misunderstood…"

  • Keep the discussion flowing

  • Encourage the group to keep to the subject by steering the discussion back to the topic, "We were talking about…"

  • Build on other people's ideas, "That's an important point you made because…"

  • Suggest ideas that the whole group can comment on, "Why don't we…" or "What do people think about…"

  • Summarise for the group, "We agreed that…"


Most communication is non-verbal: Pay attention to people's body language as this can reveal a lot about how they feel about the group. Are they looking distracted? Have they crossed their arms and are they looking defensive? Do they look upset or confused? Why might this be?


Borrowed from the University of Reading: 

Soft Skills for Business Students

Teamwork Videos

"Learn the qualities of effective teams and the role you, as a member, play in creating an effective team. In addition to the importance of knowing your own strengths and weaknesses, management trainer Chris Croft emphasizes the importance of delivering on expectations, listening to other team members, communicating clearly, playing more than one role, and being supportive."

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