Communication & Cooperation Strategies

As mentioned

Communication is only 7 percent verbal and 93 percent non-verbal
The non-verbal component was made up of body language (55 percent)
and tone of voice (38 percent).

What you should know:

The average person talks at about 225 words per minute,
but we can listen at up to 500 words per minute

So our minds are filling in those other 275 words. #Celeste Headlee

Dunbar's number

The limit of people whom you'd maintain stable social relationships is about  150.

Do you like almonds?

Well, whether you like them or not, we all have a little almond-shaped part in our brain that's responsible for whether or not we get bored (a.k.a. Area 47).

  • Curiosity equals an ''aha'' moment!
  • Area 47 contains prediction circuits that are scanning and monitoring the environment and trying to figure out what's going to happen next.

Keeping Area 47 happy is tricky

  • If everything in the environment is utterly predictable, you become bored.
  • If it's utterly unpredictable, you become frustrated.

... the 5% rule:

When you're speaking, in general, people are only going to remember five percent of what you say, and that five percent can be boiled down to one thing you said and a general impression of you.

[WHAT] 2 Avoid 2 Keep Your Audience Engaged

[WHO] - Knowing Your Audience

Hostile (Bullets & Categories)

  • They are thinking & they are putting everything into categories of either yes or no or A-B-C-D-E, etc.
    And if they can no longer put something into a category, they can't process that information.
  • When we speak to them, if we really want to get their commitment, if we want to get on their side, we need to put things into categories.

Indifferent (Help & Advice)

  • The indifferent person is the person that you just can't get any reaction, any actions out of.
  • All you have to do is make them feel important.
  • Approach them asking for their help, their advice, or their opinions.
  • Get them to complain to you.
  • You know what makes someone feel important? Being listened to.
  • Tell them a story about something and then get them to tell you a story back.

Uninformed (Empathy & POV)

  • This is the person that every time you ask them about something you sent them, the paper, the email they've never read it, but they say things like, "You know what, I remember looking at it, I just didn't get a chance to really go in depth I'll get back to you soon as I can." Usually, they're decision-maker, and they take forever to make the decision but you needed that decision yesterday.

  • The underlining thing that they need is to feel understood, not understanding what they're saying but understanding their situation.

  • So the way we communicate to them is a two-part process. Empathy, plus point of view.

Supportive (Everything and Everybody)

  • They want to be liked. -- They want to be liked by everybody. So, what is most important for them is how other people are going to react to their actions.

  • There are three elements that we need to include in our communication.
  1. Small talk
  2. Everybody and everything
  3. Hierarchies ~ getting specific as we go.

[HOW] 2 Motivate Them

There are three main underlining motivations for people

There is achievement, affiliation, and power, which we can also call influence.

[ Achievement ]  

  • "Everyone thinks this is going to take two weeks, I think we can do it in one"
  • "The goal is 5%, do you think you could do 7?"


[ Affiliation

  • Above all else, they want to maintain harmony.


[ Power

  • The person who is motivated by power is really just the person that always wants to be involved and have a decision or have a say in everything. 
  • If you cannot stop someone from being a micromanager, you know what you can do?Give them lots of things to micromanage, and use that to your advantage in the virtual age. 


Do people have only one underlining motivation?

  • NO!

  • Sometimes you want to be recognized for all the awesome stuff you do, but you know what?
    Sometimes you just want to make sure that everyone in your group is happy.
    So this is not one, two, or three. It is a spectrum.
    The secret is finding out what someone is at that moment or in that role.

[HOW] 2 Find Out -- QUESTIONS

[ Closed ]

There's four major reasons we use a close-ended question:

  1. Ice breaker - the easier, the better.
  2. Get specific information.
  3. Use a close-ended question to direct the conversation.
  4. Get a close. "Is that a deal?"

[ Open ]

Once the conversation is started these are designed to get someone talking.

  1. Get someone talking. --For trying to create a relationship with someone
  2. Get someone's point of view --because if we can find out somebody's point of view, we have a better sense of what their power motivation is, of what they want, of what their goals are.
  3. You ask open-ended questions to make somebody feel important.

Example questions:

  • "Tell me the story of..."
  • "do you breakfast never? Never? Okay. You have to tell me the story about that. "
  • Ask for an opinion. What's the best for? Where should I go for? What should I do if? #Get their opinion.
  • "No, no, no. You've got to tell me more about that. "

[ Strategic ]

These are questions designed to move someone to a "close" or a conclusion.

Whatever action or commitment you want, has to be a nudge. The smaller the better.

When you bring up a strategic question, make it hypothetical, so the person doesn't feel like their answer is going to be written in stone which means they're way more likely to answer you; and they're way more likely to answer you honestly.

"Do you want to start working on now?" That could be a strategic question but it's closed;
so it could be a no. It puts the person on the spot like well, because whatever answer they were about to tell you is official.

More strategic question would be:
-    "Well, moving forward would you be willing to look at a proposal I draft up, and just let me know if it's going in the right direction." 

-    "Oh sure, that sounds great."

When you talk to them, start with a few yes or no questions, ask them open ended questions, you are building rapport, you're finding out what their communication style is, you're finding out what their power motivations are.
Then, you can use terms like this:

  • Would you be willing to?
  • Would you consider? 
  • If I did this, would you do? 

Those are strategic questions because they're moving in a direction.

Move someone to an action or a commitment.
The smaller that action is, the nudge, the easier it is for them to do it,
the less finality there is in their action,
the more likely they are going to say yes.

[ How to answer questions ]

  1. Repeat or rephrase it, and ask for an opinion.
  2. Respond using feel, felt, found.
  3. Relate to your key point, your key action.

[HOW] 2 increase the odds of getting to "yes" & do an impactful speech

[ Use ] GOP #Goal Opportunity Statement: 

[ Use ]  KNOW Phrase:

~ a slogan that anchors you to more information.

[ Remember ] the Belly Button Rule

We will naturally cover up our most vulnerable points.

The rule: 

You can't let your hands touch each other or any part of your body 

"As I'm speaking... because I can't keep my hands together, that nervous energy is going to come out like this: the more I talk, the more I'm going to find my own natural flow; every now and then I'm going to forget, I'm going to go like this, but wait, can't keep it that way anymore, gotta go back out. And it's going to create a diversity in your physical body language. It's going to make you look unafraid, even if you are. And that is the belly button rule."
Ivan Wanis Ruiz

Virtually this is done by Area47 + Silence

[ Remember ] the Lazy Rule

  • Our brain is much better at visual information than written information,
    reading takes up way more brain capacity and way more effort.

  • Make slides that beg the question, not answer it.

  • Write in reminders less than three words that invoke area 47.

[ Remember ] PSE #Picture Superiority Effect

"A picture is worth a thousand words"

  • It creates curiosity & activates area 47
  • Enhances the 5% retention
  • Creates that 'a-ha' moment

The best part about it, is that I don't need to see you for it to work,
which means I can use it in all my communication.

[ Feel / Felt / Found ]

Feel: You repeat the customer's concern, stating that you know how they feel.

Felt: You present a situation in which you felt similarly.

Found: You explain how your perspective has been changed and why.

[ Building Strong Teams ]

Project Aristotle is a reminder that when companies try to optimize everything, it's sometimes easy to forget that success is often built on experiences - like emotional interactions and complicated conversations and discussions of who we want to be and how our teammates make us feel - that can't really be optimized.

You simply can't think efficiency with people. You think effectiveness with people and efficiency with things.

I've tried to be "efficient" with a disagreeing or disagreeable person and it simply doesn't work. I've tried to give 10 minutes of "quality time" to a child or an employee to solve a problem, only to discover such "efficiency" creates new problems and seldom resolves the deepest concern. #The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

The key for creating the most effective teams & meetings is:
"The one rule" - of establishing 'the rules'.
This means that it doesn't matter what those rules really are;
what matters, is that they are being established and agreed upon by all the team members & that is what makes it work!

Research from the Gallup organization shows that working remotely about 60 to 80% of the time leads to the highest levels of engagement among employees and group members.

Presenteeism is the act of making oneself present in a space when one could be more productive elsewhere.

Groups today have to develop good norms and boundaries and expectations about technology use.

  • When should people be available?
  • How often should they check updates?
  • And how soon should people respond?

[ Virtual work as a framework ]

- Conference Calls (citrix-GoToMeeting; Zoom; Skype; Webex; GoogleHangout)

- GSSD Group (Decision Support Systems)

  • Allow for anonymity
  • Allow for candid feedback
  • Help groups overcome power barriers
  • Enable everyone to be heard

- Telepresence Robots

- Collaboration Technologies
(Trello, Taskworld, Wrike, Jira, Basecamp, ProWorkFlow or even SmartSheet) with DashBoard; or sharing platforms such as GoogleDrive; Dropbox; Git...
Collaboration technologies help groups to be more efficient and productive in their individual time, away from meetings.

- Wearable Technologies

- Gamification

- Virtual Reality Augmented Reality

[ Theoretical Models of Communication Technology ]

Communication technologies are not neutral.

Theory of communication

~ underline assumptions that guide our communication behavior.
~ is a way to understand or explain what communication is and what people are doing when they communicate

Our communication system shouldn't be described with a simple transmission model; but rather be taken as a "social construction".

The social construction model claims, that communication is all about creating our social worlds with other people, and how we make meaning together, how we build common understandings, and how we negotiate our future together. Social construction makes us understand how people with different backgrounds, believes, values and interests can navigate their way forward, collectively.

Social worlds are temporary configurations of continuous processes.

Pluralism is the idea that there are many social worlds.

Allan_Pease, Barbara Pease - DEFINITIVE BOOK OF BODY LANGUAGE -Pease International (2006) - Page 129/404
Allan_Pease, Barbara Pease - DEFINITIVE BOOK OF BODY LANGUAGE -Pease International (2006) - Page 129/404

A. Europe and North America: OK Mediterranean region, Russia, Brazil, Turkey: An orifice signal; sexual insult; gay man Tunisia, France, Belgium: Zero; worthless Japan: Money; coins

. Western countries: One; Excuse me!; As God is my witness; No! (to children)

. Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Malta: Up yours! USA: Two Germany: Victory France: Peace Ancient Rome: Julius Caesar ordering five beers 

. Europe: Three Catholic countries: A blessing

. Europe: Two Britain, Australia, New Zealand: One USA: Waiter! Japan: An insult

. Western countries: Four Japan: An insult 

G. Western countries: Number 5 Everywhere: Stop! Greece and Turkey: Go to hell!

. Mediterranean: Small penis Bali: Bad Japan: Woman South America: Thin France: You can't fool me!

I. Mediterranean: Your wife is being unfaithful Malta and Italy: Protection against the Evil Eye (when pointed) South America: Protection against bad luck (when rotated) USA: Texas University Logo, Texas Longhorn Football Team

J. Greece Go to Hell! The West: Two

K. Ancient Rome: Up yours! USA: Sit on this! Screw you!

. Europe: One Australia: Sit on this! (upward jerk) Widespread: Hitchhike; Good; OK 
Greece: Up yours! (thrust forward) Japan: Man; five

M.. Hawaii: 'Hang loose' Holland: Do you want a drink? N.. USA: I love you O. The West: Ten; I surrender Greece: Up Yours - twice! Widespread: I'm telling the truth

A keen understanding of context underwrites all effective communication.


As important as context is; we often don't acknowledge context explicitly.
Context is understood implicitly by members of the group.
Context is a hidden force of group communication.
Resulting in a set of unspoken norms, values, and expectations that influence our interactions.

The design of the interaction is the embedded biases that push us to communicate in certain ways.

Can you design an interaction in order to get the exact outcome that you desire?
-Nope. Interaction designs are not deterministic. People can act counter to the initial design.

Professional Group vs Civic group


Groups in professional settings work in a context that tends to emphasize teamwork and task accomplishment, where involvement is usually required, and lines of authority are relatively clear. And hopefully you can recognize right away how these contextual factors would influence group communication.
There are pressures to conform, to support the team, and to get things done. There are consequences for your lack of involvement or participation. And there are protocols for who gets to make decisions and who's responsible for various outcomes.  


In contrast to professional groups, civic groups emphasize stakeholder representation and public deliberation. Involvement is voluntary, and authority is complicated. If you are involved in some sort of community improvement initiative, it is important that your groups represent the people who have a stake in that issue. And enables the broader public to participate in the deliberation process in a meaningful way.

Plus, since people are involved voluntarily, you have to interact with them in certain ways or they'll just leave. And it can be difficult to know exactly who's in charge of such groups, because not everybody is necessarily on the same team. They have different interests, they answer to different constituents, and they have no bureaucratic or legal authority over each other. So who gets to make the final decision? And who has the authority to hold people accountable to ensure that various group members actually follow through on those commitments?

These are some of the key contextual factors of civic groups.

Groups almost always function within broader systemic and institutional frameworks that influence our communication with each other.

[ Institution ]

It is a system that has taken on a life of its own.
It has become institutionalized, such that it is a key aspect of our culture,
especially in certain areas.

Your group is a living system in a continual state of evolution based on how you interact with each other.

High performing groups and teams seem to develop a distinct personality.
Collective sense of Identity that transcends the individual members.

Low performing groups or teams never really seem to come together.
Despite, what might be listed formally on paper or an organizational chart.
They never are more than just the sum of their parts.

[ Norms ]

We will inevitably develop various standards, customs, and expectations that are unique to our group, and how we operate. These are called norms, things that become normal for our group.

Norms are sort of like rules, but a little more informal, though sometimes more powerful.

Norms are things that are generally understood by everyone in the group. Even if not recorded in a formal policy or even talked about very often. Some norms are pretty simple and harmless like normally starting a meeting with personal updates from your weekend activities or going out for lunch to celebrate a group member's birthday. But other norms are much more significant and greatly effect group performance, both positively or negatively. Like a norm that we always seek an outside opinion before making a final decision. Or that no one challenges the boss and his or her ideas. A norm that people generally don't respond to work emails on evenings or weekends. Or that people are expected to be available anytime during the week. These sorts of norms can help our groups be more successful, or they can be the source of much dysfunctionality.

Groups develop through a series of unitary phases or stages. That shape the groups structure, relationship, patterns and task behavior.

[ Key Activity Tracks ]

Set of interlocking tracks of activities oriented towards task or goal accomplishment.

Task-process activity track involves group members analyzing the job at hand and utilizing various problem-solving and decision-making procedures.

The relational activity track occurs when group members engage in various behaviors that promote member relationships.

And the topical focus activity track happens when group members concern themselves with major issues or themes that arise at any given point in the group's work that become a subsequent agenda item for later work.

Decision making is arguably the most significant thing that groups do.

The quality of our decision practices and decision outcomes are directly related to the quality of our communication.

We'll never be able to anticipate or predict all the situations our groups will face, and devise perfect strategies for every situation. But we certainly can put ideas into practice that will increase the probability of more favorable outcomes more often.

6 Hidden Traps in Decision making:

  1. The Anchoring Trap
  2. The Status Quo Trap
  3. The Sunk-Cost Trap
        Turkish proverb that says no matter how far you've gone down the wrong road, turn       around.
  4. The Confirming Evidence Trap
        Deciding that you already know what the answer or solution should be, so you only      seek evidence that confirms your preconceptions. Rather than gathering evidence        to inform your understanding of the issues.
  5. The Framing Trap
  6. Estimating / Forecasting Trap

5 Ways to Practice the Process of Inquiry

  1. Multiple Alternatives
  2. Assumption Testing
  3. Well-Defined Criteria
  4. Dissent & Debate
  5. Perception of Fairness

Some decisions require a degree of novelty and originality to get beyond the status quo and come up with new ideas.

[ Creativity ]

  1. Connectivity
  2. Constraints (structure enables creativity and innovation)
  3. How or When NOT to Communicate
     x Brainstorming x "Don't criticize!" (one rule of brainstorming, don't criticize); BUT         - brainstorming actually isn't effective: instead do "Dissent & debate"

[ Conflict ]

Lack of conflict
isn't harmony...
it's apathy

Conflict can be good for groups:

  • Surfacing differences
  • Challenging decisions
  • Exposing patterns
  • Refining ideas

Don't eliminate conflict - manage conflict & respond to conflict appropriately.

Successful teams keep conflict constructive & focused on the issues:

  • more information & debate on the basis of facts
  • commonly agreed-upon goals
  • inject humor into their deliberations
    (Humor helps defuse the conflict. Creating a space for everyone to calm down and reset.)
  • maintain a balanced power structure
  • resolve issues without forcing consensus
  • multiple alternatives

We can do our best to prevent conflict and we can even try to avoid it when it comes up, but eventually, most conflicts need to be addressed and confronted. You have to engage. Otherwise, the alternatives are simply to keep your distance from the group or let the conflict fester, leading to a downward spiral of group dysfunctionality.

[ Choosing the right words ]


  1. What do I want to say, vs.
    What do I want to accomplish?

  2. What are we making together,
    and How could I frame things differently?

  3. Does this need to be said...
    by me(?)
    right now?

  4. What is this conflict really about?

  5. What question can I ask, instead of
    what statement can I make?
    ...asking questions is different than questioning, which is just making statements under the guise of a question mark.

  6. The common denominator in your dysfunctional relationships...
    ... is YOU!

How can I be reflexive in this conflict situation?


If we don't recognize the need or the opportunity to negotiate we'll likely default to positional bargaining, where it just becomes a contest of wills, where everyone is more concerned about saving face and protecting their reputation rather than creating value for all parties involved.

Address the underlying why!

Focus more on underlying interests so we can discover more positions that will enable those interests to be satisfied.

4 Key Concepts in a negotiation:

  1. Problems - Separate the problem from the people
  2. Interests - Focus on interests, not positions
  3. Options - Create multiple options for mutual gains
  4. Standards - Insist that the results of a negotiation be based on an objective standard

Strive for mutual gain for all parties involved


  • B: Best
  • A: Alternative
  • T: To a
  • N: Negotiated
  • A: Agreement

[ Difference & Diversity ]

Most of us feel comfortable being around people who are similar to, not different from us. We tend to gravitate towards like-minded people, who also tend to look like us.

Difference Matters

Difference is important; the issues or categories of difference that are significant.

  • Factual: Diversity is a basic demographic fact of modern society.
    Regardless of what you think about diversity, it's simply a demographic reality of our modern society that will have a direct and unavoidable impact on your group work.
  • Strategic: Difference brings strategic advantages to our groups
  • Moral : Growing moral imperative to include those who have been historically marginalized

Diversity is critical for successful groups.
This is especially important for our emphasis on group communication because all the key group dynamics we're covering in this class. Group development, decision-making, creativity and innovation, conflict management, negotiation, technology, all involve the specific people in our groups. How they interact with each other and how their backgrounds, perspectives and experiences influence those interactions.

A collective that is more than the sum of just its parts.


We communicate with other group members based on how we see ourselves,
how we see other people, how we think others see us, and even how the group itself develops its own sense of collective identity.

Identity is a social construct - created, maintained, & altered through our interactions.
It is a relational property; something that is produced, sustained, and changed in and through our communication with other people. 

"I can't be a professor without students.
 I can't be a husband without a spouse. And I can't be a father without children.
 All these characteristics exist relationally. And if my interactions with those people change dramatically or cease altogether, those aspects of my identity change too."

"My identity as a professor, or anything else, is wrapped up in a complex web of relationships and interactions with different people and institutions, and the feeling of permanence or stability in my identity comes from the continuity of those relationships and interactions.
As those change, my identity changes. I literally become a different person."
 - Matthew A. Koschmann, PhD

Communication helps construct a robust, complex identity.

Presenting a monolithic identity makes it easier for others to discard or marginalize your ideas. Too often in groups people present a monolithic identity that makes it easier for others to discard or marginalize their ideas, preventing the sort of breakthroughs, innovations, compromises, and 'aha moments' that are so crucial for effective group communication.

But our group communication is more effective if you tell people what 'hatyou're wearing in your discussions so people can have a richer understanding of where your comments are coming from.

Collective Identity

  • Distinct personality that transcends any individual group member
  • 'WE-ness' of the group

[ Gender Differences ]

Linguistic style involves all kinds of stuff like directness or indirectness. Pacing and pausing, word choice, humor, figures of speech, stories, questions, apologies, turn taking.
    All the subtle negotiation of signals we use when we interact with each other.

There are many more similarities than differences in the communication behavior of men and women.

Communication is fundamentally ritual

  • Girls tend to learn conversational rituals that focus on the rapport dimension of relationships.
        Conversational rituals that have rapport, are marked by a linguistic style of cooperation, getting along and making sure no one gets too far ahead or falls behind. #agreeableness

  • Boys tend to learn conversational rituals that focus on the status dimension of relationships.
        Conversational rituals of status involve ways of talking that distinguish oneself from the group that showcase knowledge and expertise and that minimize challenges from others. #competitiveness

Linguistic style is more a result of socialization than genetics.

[ Essentialism ]

... is a belief that social characteristics are inherent or essential to one's identity.
It is also dangerous because it usually equates behavior with character.

Essentialism constrains the possibilities of our communication.
    Instead, consider the situational factors that influence people's actions.

[ Fundamental Attribution Error ]

    Mistake of attributing behavior to personal character rather than broader situational factors.
We have to take mental shortcuts because there is just too much information to process.

[ Practical Considerations ]

  • Compatibility (make sure that everyone and everything can be connected)
  • Optimization
  • Anonymity & Confidentiality (would anonymous input be beneficial for what the group is trying to accomplish?)
        Anonymity can help overcome social barriers of status, ego, and power that can hinder productive group discussion.
        Anonymity also enables people to be less accountable for their contributions and unrestrained in their criticism.
        Security and privacy are big concerns
  • Measuring Productivity
  • Technology Temperament

[ Conceptual Issues ]

  • Social Presence (Social presence changes the nature of interaction for both good and bad)
  • Embodiment (Facial expressions, Tone of Voice, Posture, --but NOT spoken words)

  • Technological Determinism (causes us to limit our communication to what technology allows us to do)
  • Technological Optimism
        Recognizing that technology can do wonderful things and greatly enhance our group communication and our overall group work.
        Realize that technology has limitations that constrain our possibilities and sometimes restrict what we can reasonably accomplish in a given situation.
  • Agency (describes the capacity that people have to act on their own, to function independently and make their own free choices.)

[ Sociomateriality ]

This involves cutting edge thinking about the entanglement of social and material factors that constitute our experiences with technology and group communication.

Technology is not natural. It is designed and configured with specific assumptions and values, affordances and constraints.

Technology doesn't just matter in special cases, technology is integral to all aspects of our modern lives.

Technology uses us as much as we use it.
Technology is infused into our everyday lives in more ways than we might imagine.


Google uses an algorithm called Page Rank which scans the web and computes a ranking for every website based on how many other people have visited that site, the number of other web sites that that site is linked to, and the rankings of those other websites.
As well as, other factors that privilege certain kinds of websites over others like official company or institutional websites over personal websites.
It also, takes into account the physical location of our IP address and our previous searches and clicks. That's why, different people throughout the country will get different results even if they search on the exact same terms. 

Google doesn't just search reality.
Google actively creates that reality

There is no social that is not also material, and no material that is not social.
All group work is "always and everywhere sociomaterial."

If you want to understand where you are and where you're going, you need to know where you've been.

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