Do you really care about group dynamics?

January 04, 2018/3 min min read
Group discussion listening to one person
Image of Johanna Aronsson
Johanna AronssonCOO

Have you ever been in a situation where you facilitate a group discussion and one person takes over the room?

Have you ever been in a situation where you facilitate a group discussion and one person takes over the room? Quite often, facilitators come across the type of person who tries to respond to all the questions, with seemingly no acknowledgement to the fact that there are other people in the room. When there is such a dominant personality in the room, it may cause all other voices in the room remain silent.

Research has shown that people who have more dominant personality types are often perceived by others to be more competent during group discussions, regardless of whether or not they actually are more competent than the other participants.

This can have devastating effects on group performance, as people tend to want to conform to strong opinions and group “leaders” in uncertain and unfamiliar situations – such as group discussions. This can cause discussions to be one-sided and different perspectives, solutions and ideas from more introverted individuals can often remain unshared.

Defusing the influence of the dominant group member

Finding ways in which you can defuse the influence that these types of personalities have on a group can help to improve group dynamics and give others in the group confidence to express their opinion freely.

As part of the Creator Project we have performed a series of interviews with some of our most active users. To our delight, active users of Mentimeter experience much less negative group dynamics caused by dominant personality traits.

When group participants get the opportunity to get involved through a screen, anonymously, they feel less pressure from the possibility of feeling judged by others in the group which might otherwise hold them back from engaging in discussion.

The confidence of group participants also seems to grow faster as they are able to see that other group members express the same kind of responses they do. With higher participation, the single voice of a dominant personality has less effect on the outcome of a discussion.

One teacher in Thailand found that he can breakthrough to the students who were previously shy; the type of student who wouldn’t engage in classroom discussions because they weren’t sure if their responses were right.

Through the anonymous features that Mentimeter offers, the students have less difficulties building confidence and contributing on their own terms.

The importance of the active “Menti-facilitator”

As we get to know more about how Mentimeter is used by facilitators and teachers trying to solve challenging group dynamics, we understand that there are things outside the spectrum of creating “engaging and fun” presentations which we can solve together.

In one of the interviews, a facilitator in the US said: “I believe that Mentimeter is an instrument of care, and group participants felt like I was really caring about them, their needs and ideas.”

You can also use Mentimeter to show you care as a teacher. Mentimeter aims to show that we care by listening to your needs and continuously build a platform that supports your efforts to improve the world.

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