Chapter 25 focuses upon working in groups and giving speeches. The ability to work successfully in groups is essential to your success both in college and in your career. Similarly, oral communication skills are extremely important; you can learn how to compose and deliver effective speeches.
By the end of the chapter, you should understand the following:
1. Writing communities are important in academic, business, and professional settings, and you can learn to function effectively in such groups; in order for groups to function effectively as problem-solving teams, they must reach consensus, and their members must avoid engaging in either clone-think or ego-think.
2. Group work is facilitated when members learn to be empathic listeners and take turns playing the essential group roles of leader/coordinator and recorder/reporter.
3. Body language is an important indicator of group dynamics, and occasionally groups need to engage in formal or informal group maintenance activities; furthermore, personality type (e.g. extroverts vs. introverts, and judgers vs. perceivers) as well as ethnicity and nationality have a considerable impact on people's behavior and expectations in group settings.
4. There are specific guidelines for engaging in problem-solving procedures that lead to consensus, and definite strategies for resolving conflicts without prompting defensiveness among members.
5. Formal oral presentations differ from written ones because of the special needs of an audience of listeners; listeners need more sign posting, simpler syntax, and greater redundancy.
6. The process of composing a closed-form speech resembles that of producing an essay; the final product, however, often differs significantly.
7. The structure of a speech should be so apparent that your listeners can "see" the structure with their ears.
8. The rules for effective use of visual aids are built into the default settings of presentation software.
9. There are several keys to effective delivery, the most important of which is practice; speech anxiety is a universal phenomenon, but there are ways to minimize its impact upon your performance.