Neuro-Linguistic Planning and Group Dynamics

Role of communication in group dynamics


Neuro-Linguistic Planning and Group Dynamics

Talking the Talk: Importance of Communication and Group Dynamics

Speaking the same language is more nuanced than we think. Knowing the same words isn’t always a foolproof way of communicating and sometimes we don’t even use words to achieve the desired effect. Not many are aware of the fact that only 7 per cent of our communication is verbal and 33 per cent is nonverbal (Dr Mehrabian 1971).[1] This said, unlike verbal communication, nonverbal communication continues to manifest as signals, given and received, that directs the course of our conversations and helps in forming opinions and responses. As we continue to communicate through our thinking and motivation patters, our struggle remains (a) to do it effectively and (b) minimize chances of miscommunication.

Owing to the positive effects of digitization, our world has become smaller where reaching out to a person of a different nationality is only a Facebook invite away. Even in the absence of a common language, there is what we call a universal language. While many linguists believe that the universal language pertains to a system of words, there is a coterie that is certain of its nonverbal quality. Emotions, eye contact, facial expression, space, touch, gestures, belong to the domain of nonverbal communication.

There is a reason why sayings, such as ‘a smile goes a long way’ and ‘words can be deceptive’ have gained a special place in our collective subconscious; there is a reason why we communicate even when there is silence, and there is little to contradict how nonverbal communication is difficult to fake, and hence is more reliable. In our modern, corporate life, communication is by far the most important component that not only sets us apart from competition, but also determines how capable we are as leaders. As groups are an inevitable part of corporate culture, the dynamics need to be understood and appropriately responded to.

Understanding Group Dynamics

Every organization has groups and often these have subgroups. A conventional definition of a group refers to two or more people who share common beliefs, practices, and goals. A group can be so well-knit that it can even share a common identity—one that lends meaning and purpose to the overarching concerns of the organization.

More specifically, group dynamics concern itself with the attitudes and behavioural patterns of a specific group. The way groups communicate and interact with its members is equally important as compared to how they behave with clients. It is important to remember that methodology and processes are an integral part of how groups function and how well these are carried out determine the success (or failure) of groups. Presentations, group discussions, brainstorming, all these constitute procedures of group dynamics and the ways in which these sessions are mediated contribute towards the overall impact.

Walking the Walk: How NLP Helps in Mediating Group Dynamics

TED Talks, an online, non-profit distribution of ideas, is perhaps the best, most assertive example of how impactful presentations are. Not only are the talks versatile in terms of the topics they cover, they are also persuasive and inclusive (the fact that these are multilingual bears witness to this). With these parameters in mind one can aspire to achieve a similar level of impact by using Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). NLP refers to three components, namely, neuro functions, linguistic patterns, and programming which is better understood as internal landscapes or preconceived ideas and filters through which we make meaning, filter, accentuate, and repress information. In other words things we hear, say, and believe are central in making us what we are, and, often, these beliefs tend to hold us back.

NLP and Group Dynamics: Why Are the Two Important?

Everyone wants to be a hit with the audience, especially if it’s a big one. With NLP it is possible to enhance communication which in turn sets in motion a series of positive outcomes. The rush of a sealing a major deal or the high of convincing a client, both produce a great deal of adrenaline which in turn creates more positivity and motivation. While most of us swear by the Wall Street dictum: ‘Money makes more money’, one positive thought backed by concrete action is all it takes to create, innovate, and motivate thus creating more positivity and energy. With NLP things such as tone, inflection (voice modulation), group size, and style become important. In a group, because it is depersonalized, it is necessary to strike the right note and then carry it forward. Typically, in offices during a meeting, it is desirable if not necessary to have a clear-cut agenda in place. This gives direction, regulates communication, and presents the opportunity for healthy debating.

For any group leader, the challenge lies in delivering bad news. How it is done; the context in which it is broached, and the manner in which it is executed, all are important factors that go into the making of creating a healthy work environment. Over the years NLP has proven to be a powerful instrument for creating effective, healthy communication within corporate workforces while improving relationships both internally and externally.

Perceive, Believe, Communicate, Repeat

Good communication is dependent on our conscious awareness of how each one of us perceives the world. All successful leaders work in group(s), never in isolation. Investing in employee training is perhaps one of the best investments a company can make.

The mind can be trained to perceive challenges and innovate in ways that may otherwise be difficult to achieve. In fact, sustaining this (i.e. the out-of-the box thinking and tempo) has proven to be the biggest challenge. Since NLP is all about the dynamics between the mind and language, and how through structured programming one influences the other, goals, challenges, and innovation can be methodologically achieved.

The ‘We’ Culture

Imagine a corporate scenario that is driven by ‘we’ instead ‘I’; with this in place, there is little that the organization will not be able to achieve. With the structured way in which NLP re-orients perceptions, organizations can aspire to:

  • Communicate effectively using verbal and nonverbal cues
  • Raise meaningful queries and benchmark desirable behaviour and leadership qualities
  • Engage employees in building teamwork and greater accountability
  • Have a culture of trust and open dialogue

An intrinsic part of corporate activity, group discussions and the ensuing dynamics can either solidify the foundations or make the situation brittle. NLP, a tried and tested, scientific study of human behaviour is geared towards tackling problems at their source while keeping in view a result-oriented outcome. The mind, as they say, is the key to all answers and with NLP the deepest levels can be unlocked to bring out the best.


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