Play The Role



"All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players:

They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts" — As You Like It, William Shakespeare

You just cannot afford to have sloppy communication skills if you work in a high performance organization. And this is especially the case when it comes to running effective meetings.

Many organizations hemorrhage away the one resource they cannot get back—time. It’s an invisible loss, one that does not appear on the financials. The absence of effective meetings cause no end of frustration in the ranks. Poor meetings have been endemic in American business for decades—like a genetic defect passed down to each generation.

Fortunately, time lost in meetings could be reduced by simply upgrading facilitation skills—especially meeting communication skills. Great group facilitators have mastered the 26 communication skills they must know about to move a group forward.

These communication roles don’t last long—from a couple of seconds to a few minutes. Yet these twenty-six communication skills greatly impact group effectiveness by determining how well group members handle information or even understands what’s going on.

Topics include:

— Facilitative Leadership—Understanding how to play the role

— Playing the 10 task group communication roles that insure the job gets done.

— The 6 relationship communication roles the build bonds between individuals

— Recognizing and controlling the 10 self-oriented roles that disrupt group progress

— Identifying four personality types the produce dysfunctional behavior.


When managers and other responsible persons in business organizations are asked how much of the work day is spent in communicating, the replies range from 85 to 99 percent."— Harold Zelko and Frank Dance

Who is the target audience?
  • It’s for anyone who chairs meetings and wishes to get better productivity and lower the immense amount of wasted in meetings. It’s for the person who wants to function as a facilitator during project team meetings by upgrading their communication skills. And it’s for anyone who is overworked, yet has to always stay after 5 due to the immense time wasted each work day because a chair cannot run a meeting.

  • N/A
  • There are no prerequisites for the class. However, if you regularly attend different types of meetings, you would benefit a great deal since you can practice building facilitator skills in different groups. If you are chairing a meeting, the information in this course will help you make your meetings more productive.

What Will I Learn?
  • Learn the task communication roles leading toward getting consensus on what must be done.
  • Know the five microroles you can play that helps prevent distractive conflict.
  • Identify the nine dysfunctional microroles that destroy relationships and cause fruitless wheel spinning.
  • Practice the roles you play in meetings, determine which roles to change.
  • Be a better actor on the stage of business by playing communication roles: know the right word choice and discover how to evaluate your success.

Curriculum For This Course Expand All Collapse All 28 Lectures 01:40:08 + – Course Overview 4 Lectures 08:43

Course Material is under copyright and is to be used only by individual students.

Copyright © 2014 by Murray Johannsen.

Course Overview 01:43 The Role Playing Model 00:35 The Nature of Group Communication Preview 00:26

You will notice that as you watch the lecture, a slide might be up for thirty seconds or more depending on the length of the explanation and whether there is a story present. If you concentrate and memorize you will be able to watch this video once and learn the roles. This is the first step—understanding.

Free Course Preview: Signup and View Preview 05:59 + – The Two Major Leadership Roles Played During Meetings 3 Lectures 00:59

In a meeting, there are two major leadership roles. The classic role is the autocratic leader. This person in effects act like the king or queen. Their authority is unquestioned. Obedience is expected. However, there is there is also the facilitator style of leadership. This is more subtile and more participative and democratic.

Section Overview 00:25 The Facilitative Leader 00:16 The Authoritative Leader 00:17 + – Getting Things Done: Discovering The Ten Task Roles 3 Lectures 23:31 Section Overview 00:11 Task Roles 1 Preview 10:30 Taks Roles 2 12:50 + – Maintaining and Strengthening Connections: 6 Relationship Roles 3 Lectures 25:05

Relationship or maintenance roles in general are more difficult to play that the task orientated ones. Essentially, they exist to strengthen the bonds of trust and to prevent constructive conflict from escalating into destructive conflict.

Section Overview 00:17 Relationship 1 12:27 Relationship Roles 2 12:21 + – What Makes Meetings Difficult: 12 Selfish Roles 4 Lectures 31:43

The twelve roles here can be extremely difficult to deal with. Some of these are characteristics of personality and so are difficult habits to change.

Section Overview 00:11 Self-Oriented Roles 1 13:27 Selfish Roles 2 12:38 Selfish Role 3 05:27 + – Application and Practice 7 Lectures 01:27 Application Guidelines 01:18 Assignment #1: Defining the Roles 00:09

There are many positive communication roles one can play in a group. To learn how to play them well, however, first requires that one is able to associate the words with the role. This exercise is designed to have you develop word phrases one can use to play a particular role which were memorized in the video lecture. Some roles, especially the task ones) are relatively easy to play. Others, such as many of the relationship roles, are hard to play. Being a great mediator for example requires years of training and complex understanding.

Assignment #2: Putting Words to Roles 2 pages

Before one can intervene in group dynamics, one must first become a good observer. This assignment is designed to have you learn to be an observer and to think about the roles played in a group. It turns out that groups that have difficultly may not be playing the right mix of roles. It is not unusual to see some groups so focused on the task, that key relationship roles are not played enough.

Assignment 3: Assess a Groups Use of Task and Relationship Roles 1 page

A good facilitator understands what role is being played at any moment of time. This is primarily an exercise in learning to recognize both task and relationship roles. By doing this exercise, you are learning what roles are dominant, and what roles are not played. So for the top three you observe, ask yourself whether it was the right three for that meeting. For roles not played, ask which ones should have been played.

Assignment 4: Assess Your Ability to Play Task and Relationship Roles 1 page

Use the following worksheet to assess self-centered roles being played in a group. It's best to do the same group over several over several meetings and then aggregate your scores. Otherwise, one could be looking at a false picture. Remember that in groups, most communication roles are played rather unconsciously (including yours). A good observer understands what role is being played at any moment of time.

Observe and document as many self-oriented roles as possible (including any you might be playing). This is an important exercise since you need to know that people are creatures of habit. They tend to repeat patterns of behavior. For example, if someone complains in one meeting, they are likely to keep engaging in this type of behavior over many meetings.

Assignment 5: Perform a Self-Oriented Roles Assessment 1 page

Use this summary worksheet to document the interventions you make in a meeting. For each one, also make a judgement on whether the your intervention was effective. Simply use a plus and minus.

Assignment 6: Intervening In Group Dynamics 1 page + – Bonus Material 4 Lectures 01:16 Section Overview 00:18 Types of Verbal Communication Skills 00:18 Group Dynamics 00:14 References 00:25
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