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Technical Communication

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Technical Communication

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  • 1. WEEK NO.3Lesson 1WORKING ON A TEAM PROJECT[1]Special ChallengesGuideline 1 Defining ObjectivesGuideline 2 Involve the Whole TeamGuideline 3 Make a Project ScheduleGuideline 4 Share Leadership ResponsibilitiesGuideline 5 Make Meetings EfficientGuideline 6 Encourage Debate & Diversity of IdeasGuideline 7 Be Sensitive to Cultural & Gender DifferencesGuideline 8 Use Computer Support when Available[1] Summarized from the textbook Technical Communication A Reader-Centred Approach, 4th Edition by PaulV. Anderson, McGraw-Hill, Chapter 17Week 3, Lesson 1 Working in a Team 1

2. SPECIAL CHALLENGES OF TEAM PROJECTSCommunicating as a team (collaboratively)involves exactly the same process ascommunicating independently you need to :Define your objectives, Plan a strategy for meeting those objectives,Then draft, evaluate, and revise thecommunication in which you carry out thatstrategy.Week 3, Lesson 1 Working in a Team 2 3. However, when you join with others to forma team, you and your teammates have someadditional tasks to perform.You have to: Discuss and reach a unanimous conclusion Divide the tasks Prepare drafts of each section Work together and independently Coordinate the group efforts Etc.Week 3, Lesson 1 Working in a Team 3 4. The guidelines presented will helpyou and your teammates workproductively together on eitherwritten or oral communications.The guidelines form the basis of ourtodays subject:Week 3, Lesson 1 Working in a Team 4 5. Guideline 1Begin by:Creating a Consensus Concerning theCommunication's ObjectivesWeek 3, Lesson 1 Working in a Team 5 6. The first activity of the communicationprocess - ddeeffiinniinngg oobbjjeeccttiivveess - is evenmore important when you are participatingon a team than when you are preparing acommunication individually.Week 3, Lesson 1 Working in a Team 6 7. Defining Objectives as a Team1.Take time to explore the diverse views of all teammembers regarding your communication's objectives.2.Keep talking until consensus is reached.3.Discuss communication strategies the team might use toachieve its objectives. Such discussion may revealunexpected differences among team members that canthen be addressed openly.4.Remain open to new insights about your readers andpurposes as your work progresses. But remember thatindividual team members must share these insights soall can agree on the modified definition of objectives.Week 3, Lesson 1 Working in a Team 7 8. Guideline 2 Involve the Whole Team in PlanningWeek 3, Lesson 1 Working in a Team 8 9. One major advantage of planning as ateam is identical with a major advantageof defining objectives as a team:many minds working together willalmost always generate better resultsthan could one person working alone.Week 3, Lesson 1 Working in a Team 9 10. Another major advantage stems from theway teams often organize their work. On team projects, teams often divideresearch, drafting, and other tasks amongtheir members. When this is done, eachteam member must be clear about what theteam wants him or her to produce otherwise a lot of time can be wasted onwork NOT wanted by the team.Week 3, Lesson 1 Working in a Team 10 11. Here are four suggestions for avoidingproblems when working in a team:1. Discuss plans in detail.2. Write an outline.3. Create a storyboard.4. Use a style guide.Week 3, Lesson 1 Working in a Team 11 12. Guideline 3 Make a Project ScheduleWeek 3, Lesson 1 Working in a Team 12 13. Schedules are helpful for almost any teamproject that requires more than onemeeting, but especially for projects inwhich individual team members workingindependently will perform some of the tasks.Week 3, Lesson 1 Working in a Team 13 14. The schedule lets each person knowexactly when his or her work must becompleted, and it enables every teammember to see adverse consequencesof missing any deadline along the way.Week 3, Lesson 1 Working in a Team 14 15. When creating a schedule, include thefollowing three elements:1. Time to define the project'sobjectives, (BEST DONE AT THE1st MEETING)2. Frequent checkpoints3. Time to edit the drafts for consistencyand coherenceWeek 3, Lesson 1 Working in a Team 15 16. Guideline 4 Share Leadership ResponsibilitiesWeek 3, Lesson 1 Working in a Team 16 17. There are a wide range of roles that teammembers must play if they are going tomaximize their productivity.The roles fall into two groups:Task Roles: which keep the team moving towardits goal.Group Maintenance Roles: which assure goodworking relationships among the team members.Week 3, Lesson 1 Working in a Team 17 18. The roles fall into two groups:Task Roles1. Initiators2. Information seekers3. Information givers4. Opinion seekers5. Opinion givers6. Clarifiers7. Summarizers8. EnergizersGroup MaintenanceRoles1. Encouragers2. Harmonizers3. Feeling expressers4. Compromisers5. GatekeepersWeek 3, Lesson 1 Working in a Team 18 19. Task Roles:1. Initiators: offer new ideas, propose newsolutions and restate old issues in a novelway. They provide creativity and direction asthe team ponders its subject matter and thestrategies for communicating about it.2. Information seekers: request clarificationand additional information. They ensure thatthe team members understand all relevantfactors - including their subject matter,readers and communication alternatives.Week 3, Lesson 1 Working in a Team 19 20. Task Roles:3. Information givers furnish the factsneeded by the team, sometimes ontheir own initiative, sometimes inresponse to information seekers.4. Opinion seekers: ask others toexpress their judgments, values andopinions.Week 3, Lesson 1 Working in a Team 20 21. Task Roles:5. Opinion givers:share their viewsabout what the team's decisionsshould be.6. Clarifiers: clear up misunderstandingor confusion by explaining points orproviding additional information.Week 3, Lesson 1 Working in a Team 21 22. Task Roles:7. Summarizers: consolidate the team'sdeliberations by stating concisely whathas been said or decided. They helpteam members see what has beenaccomplished so the team can proceedto the next task8. Energizers: motivate the team to takeaction, often by communicating a senseof enthusiasm or by emphasizing itscommitment to its goals.Week 3, Lesson 1 Working in a Team 22 23. Group Maintenance Roles:1. Encouragers: offer warmth, praise andrecognition during team discussions. Theysupport quieter team members, whom theygently encourage to join in.2. Harmonizers: help team members exploredifferences of opinion without hurting oneanother's feelings. They detect and reducefriction by helping the team to focus on ideasrather than on personalities.Week 3, Lesson 1 Working in a Team 23 24. Group Maintenance Roles:3. Feeling expressers: share their own feelingsor vocalize those of the team, thereby enablingmembers to deal with emotions that mightinterfere with the team's ability to worktogether productively.4. Compromisers: volunteer concessions oftheir own positions on controversial issues andsuggest a middle ground when other teammembers seem stuck in opposing positions.They help all team members realize that they arecontributing even when their ideas are altered.Week 3, Lesson 1 Working in a Team 24 25. Group Maintenance Roles:5. Gatekeepers: encourage all teammembers to participate, and theycreate opportunities for silentmembers to speak.Week 3, Lesson 1 Working in a Team 25 26. Guideline 5 Make Meetings EfficientWeek 3, Lesson 1 Working in a Team 26 27. Nothing is more precious to a communicationteam than TIME. Because it's usually so hardto find moments when ALL members are free,every one of these moments should be used well.Here are four strategies for makingmeetings productive:1. Prepare an agenda2. Bring the discussion to a close3. Sum up4. Set goals for next meetingWeek 3, Lesson 1 Working in a Team 27 28. Guideline 6 Encourage Debate and Diversity of IdeasWeek 3, Lesson 1 Working in a Team 28 29. To promote healthy debate and the considerationof a rich diversity of ideas, you and yourteammates can use these four strategies:1. Invite everyone to speak2. Listen with interest and respect3. Be considerate when discussing drafts4. Treat drafts as a team property, not individualproperty.Week 3, Lesson 1 Working in a Team 29 30. Guideline 7 Be Sensitive to Possible Cultural and GenderDifferences in Team InteractionsWeek 3, Lesson 1 Working in a Team 30 31. Different people approach team projects indifferent ways. The team's goal should be tointeract in ways that allow each member tomake his or her maximum contribution.To succeed in encouraging maximumparticipation by all team members, eachteammate must be sensitive and responsive tothe individual styles of everyone else.Week 3, Lesson 1 Working in a Team 31 32. Gender and CollaborationResearch shows that many men state their ideasand opinions as assertions of fact. When exploringideas, they may argue over them in a competitivemanner.In contrast, many women offer their ideastentatively, introducing them with statements suchas "I think" or "I'm not sure about this, but ..".If there is disagreement, they may support part orall of the other person's ideas and seek to reachconsensus .Week 3, Lesson 1 Working in a Team 32 33. Culture and CollaborationPeople from non-Western cultures may behavedifferently than people from Western cultureswhen working on writing teams:1. May not say 'no' even when 'no' is really whatthey mean.In some cultures, people do not say 'no' even inresponse to direct questions. Instead, they indicateno' only indirectly in order to save face for himselfor herself and for the other person.Week 3, Lesson 1 Working in a Team 33 34. Culture and Collaboration2. May avoid making alternativesuggestions.To avoid embarrassing others, people insome cultures avoid saying anything thatmight be interpreted as disagreement.Week 3, Lesson 1 Working in a Team 34 35. Culture and Collaboration3. May b

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