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The Fundamentals 01 Group Dynamics

The dynam ic Grinder guides you through a

series of exercises to hone your non-verbal
behavior to effectively direct group dynamics.
Grinder provides step-by-step methods to deal
with difficult people, de liver bad news and deal
with or circumvent attacks-all while preserving your
relationship with the group You will enhance your
awareness of group dynamics and how and when to
shift your behavior effectively for the results you want.

NLP Comprehensive
5695 Yukon Street, Arvada, CO 80002
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(> &: (f) 1998 NLP Comprchcnsh'e. All rights reserved . (> 1998 Michael Gnndcr. All rights reserved .

by Michael Grinder
The Fundamentals of Group Dynamics
by Michael Grinder
Table of Contents
Th~OM ~~
Four Levels of Professional Growth. . ...... 2
Presenter vs. Consu Itant ....... 2
Three Variables of Group Dynamics: Size, Length
and Familiarity ...... .3
Credibility vs. Approachability. . . . . . . . .4
The Four Cornerstones of Communication .... 5
Fisher & Ury's Getting to Yes . . . . . . . . . . ... 5
How Not to Get Shot ...... 5
I. Go visual ......... .6
Tape Two
2. Getting It Off to the Side
Assigning Attributes & Four Ouadrants .6
3. Follow Eyes. ......... . .7
4. Use third Person. . . . . . . . . . . .7
5. Separating Problem from Solution ..... 7
6. Credible vs. Approachable Voices ..... .4
Proactive vs. Reactive
Acknowledging Resistance ...... 8
Tape Three
Four Phases of Decision-making Process .... 10
Voice & Breathing Patterns .11
Group Formation . . . . . . . . . .. . ..... 12
Attacks ............ ........ . .... 12
Three Stages a Group Goes Through When an
Individual is Seen as Inappropriate ..... 14

The Four Levels of Professional Growth

Permission: Receptivity
Perception & Timing: The When
Process: The How
Verbal: The What

Presenter/Consu Ita nt
As you read the delineation below, reflect on which
set of skills you use in which situations. Of course,
our professional responsibilities often call for a blend-
ing of the two sets: in real ity these are two ends of a
Two Sets of Ski lis
Presenters outline what will be covered and indicate the
benefits from the session. They give information.

Wnat I know is ...

Wnat do you
want to learn?
Consultants practice "empathy." They ask
the clients what they want to learn or with which
issues to grapple. They request information.
Both skills are used in specific situations

Amplifications of Minimal nonverbals
Nonverbals Identifies and facilitates
Knows answers problem and it's solution.
Outcomes planner Knows questions
Relies on own strength Have to be flexible and
lazzy, dramatic spontaneous
Relies on their strength
Often i nspi rationa I,
motivational More low key, background

Content oriented Increase their behavioral

In charge of..
Process oriented
In Service to ...
Dosen't have to Small ego
walk thei r talk
Must be perceived
Sometimes will be genuine, sincere
incongruent inside
Are much more congruent
Usually works more days
Usually works less days
for less S per day
for more S per day
Spends a goodly amount Spends much less time
of time on promoting; good word-
advertising/promoti ng of-mouth reputation
Gets applause at the end Little or no overt
Usually does public
programs Usually does "in-house"
Win some; wins most Win some; lose most

The Three Variables of Group Dynamics

Presenter Variable Consut'tant
Big Size Smaller
Short Length Longer
Don't know Familiarity Know each
each other other

Credible/Approachable - Voice PaMerns
Voice Panerns
Wh en Speaking
Our voice patterns can be placed on a continuum which has ~C redibi lity~
at one end and ~App roochab; l ity~ at the other. The educated world values
sophistica tion, confidence and competence. This is what a credible voice
conveys. If the speaker wants to come across as an amicable person, then
the approachable voice will be most welcome. How are each of these voice
patterns prod uced?
Credihle Approachahle
still head bobs
flat voice rh ythmic
curlsd ow n ~ Inlonallon curls up '"V"\.J
Physiole>ically spea king, the real key to producing these voice patterns is
the head. For most of us (the Swedes are an exception), ou r voice patterns
are a result of hON we hold our head. This is because the angle in which
we hold our head affects the air going through the voice box.

Voice Panerns
A Summary of Voice Patterns

Credihle Approadtahle
Has an easier time DURING PAUSE Has a hard time
remaining silent. remain ing silent.
OccaSiona lly needs to Tends to have no
breathe deeper for pause becau se of fear
listener's perception of losing listene r's
that speaker is OK. atten tiveness.
Still Head Bobs
Fl at Voice Rhythmic
Curl s dowm Inlonalion c url s uP ~

Sits strai ght WHEN LISTENING Lea ns forwa rd

Still Slls Bobs
Is silent Head Makes sounds
Long and removed Silence/sounds Sa~ name and
from other person II talks As questio ns

Associated wi th males Gender Associated with females
H igher Pos itio n Posilion Lowe r Positio n
Sending/deciding Purpose Seeking/ga thering
Posit iona l Complaints Personal
Deciding Decision Making Gathering
Power Orlenled Influence
Iss ues Focus Relatio nships
Hi erarchy Poslllonal Equa litarian

The Four Cornerstones of Communication

What you do with What you do with

your eyes your voice

What you do with What you do with

you r gestu res your breathing

Three Levels of Communication

Fi sher & Ury: Getting To Yes
"Be liard on tne issues and soft on tne relationsnip."
- Fisher & Ury
I . Iss ues
2. Needs (m otivatio n, co nce rn s o r interests)
3. Re lat io nshi ps

How Not to Get Shot

Often times, as communicators, we are messengers of otli er~tliall
""sili.e information , Here is a s ummary of f,ow not to g=Z sf,ot.
I Co visual
2 Get it o ff to the side
3 Li steners will fo llow your eyes
4 Use th ird pe rson, e.g .. ~ t h e reJX)rt .. : Hthe situatio n... ,H
lavoid T and ' My")
'j Separate t he locatio n o f the pro blem from the solution
6 Use approachable voice (rhyt hmic voice pattern with final to natio n
curling up) ( '"\.r\J ) w hen looking at pe rson; it is o kay to use
cred ible voi ce (flat voice pattern with final tonatio n curling down)
1----.. ) when looki ng at pa pe r.

1. Go Visual
Exercise: Opening a Meeting Orally
One person is the presenter in a small group of
people. The presenter opens the meeting with,
"Thank you for coming, our topic is X."
One of the people in the group will cough and
exclaim, "aren't we going to do Y?"
The presenter handles the situation by responding
with deep empathy and saying, "No, I'm sorry, we're
not going to cover Y; we're going to cover X."

Exercise: Opening a Meeting Visually

Now open the meeting and add the third visual
point-a flip chart, note book, piece of paper, etc.-
to which you will point when you make your opening
statement, "Thank you for coming; our topic is X."
One of the people in the group will cough and
exclaim, "aren't we going to do Y?" The presenter
responds by pointing to the third point and saying,
"No. I'm sorry; we're only going to cover Y"
What differences do you notice between the oral
opening and the visual opening?
Take turns playing the different roles in this exercise.

2. Get It Off To The Side:

ASSigning an AHribute
The four quadrants you have to which you can
assign attributes. To each of these quadrants you
want to assign a positive or negative quality.



"-" outside inside "+"

the room the room


Exercise: Assigning Attributes
Get with a small group of people. One person will
stand and, to the rest of the group, mention three pos-
itive things and one negative thing. Assign one posi-
tive thing to yourself, one to the group, one to the
content and assign the negative thing outside the

3. Listeners Follow Your Eyes

Look where you want the group's attention to go. If
you point to the content, look at the content. If you
point to the content, and you look at the group, the
group will look at you. Always lead the group's atten-
tion with your eyes, and accompanied by a gesture.

4. Third Person
Refer to the third point in the third person: The
report or the situation.

5. Separate the Problem from the Solution

When you have bad or unpleasant information to
deliver, keep the locations for the problem and the
solution separate.

Exercise: Separating the

Problem from the Situation
I. Open your presentation
visually. You will start in
the middle of the stage
with the flip chart to
one side. As you make
your opening statement,
"Thank you for coming,"
gesture to the flipchart.

2. Step to the side of

the flipchart and while
pointing to it, continue
with "our topic is cus-
tomer service."

we have
3. As you walk to the
side of the stage look
outside the room and
say, "Sometimes we
have idiotic customers."
Hold your breath and
your frozen hand ges-

ture. Count inside 3, 2, I.

Qr.Y ~.
4. Break the frozen ges- And what are we going
ture, breathe and walk
back to your starting
position. Look at the
audience and calmly
say, "And what are we
going to do (turn
y- __
toward the outside of
the stage, increase your
-- -~ - - --
volume) ABOUT THEM!

Take turns practicing this pattern in your small groups.

Why Acknowledge
In the decade plus that we have been offering our course
on Group Dynamics, the number-one benefit that
participants report appreciating is the section on
attacks. We mention this fact here because the easi-
est way to handle an attack is to handle it early-
we do this by acknowledging the resistance before it
surfaces. The reason it is more effective to acknow-
ledge instead of waiting for the attack to be initiated
by the group members is multifaceted.
There is a huge difference between responding to
an attack(s) and acknowledging resistance. If you are
reacting to an attack, your choices are very limited.
However, if one knows there is a potential for an
attack, the concern(s) can be proactively broached.
The impact of being proactive vs. reactive can be
demonstrated by this example.
The seasonal storm of corporate deadlines has
passed and the boss is privately telling people how
he/she appreciated the staff's tolerance of any im-
patience the boss may have exhibited. For example,
"Sorry if I have been impatient and demanding
these last few weeks. I know the pressure was on
all of us and I am sure I was very demanding at
times." This maneuver may work the first time but
over time the staff questions the boss's sincerity. If,
however, the boss either privately with each member
or in a meeting acknowledges that the corporation's
seasonal crisis and deadlines are approaching and
he/she appreciates the extra effort, the longer hours,
etc., it is much more likely that the staff will believe
and appreciate the boss's sincerity. "Well, as we all
know, the next two weeks will be hectic; the demands
will be more than usual and I want to personally
thank you all ahead of time for your understanding
and cooperation-I really appreciate your com-
mitment." In the first instance the boss was reactive
and in the latter circumstance the head person was
Certain professions have regular "crunch times;"
the food industry is famous for having the rush of the
meal hours or the drag of few customers inbetween.

How to Acknowledge
We want to use a different location to acknowledge
the listeners' possible resistance than we use for
greeting and presenting. One of the many reasons
we want to have a separate location to acknowledge
the audience's possible resistance is that. as a speaker,
we are saying some negative things and we want to
keep the presentation location decontaminated
from anything negative.
If you know something is going to happen, tell peo-
ple ahead of time. When it happens, then you and
the group own it together.
If the group finds out about something they didn't
know was going to happen, they tend to breathe higher.
When they are told ahead of time, they tend to
breathe lower.

Exercise: Proactive/Reactive
In a small group, do a corporate meeting.
Part I: Reactive-Do a meeting as if a major event
has already happened.
Part 2: Proactive-Do a meeting as if a major event
is going to happen.
Switch so you each have the opportunity to experi-
ence running the meeting and being addressed in
the meeting. What differences did you notice
between the reactive and proactive meetings? What
did you notice being the meeting facilitator and the
meeting attendee?

Four Phases of the Decision Makin'g Process

Gathering Evaluating I. Deciding Implementing

approachable crefible approachable


In the gathering phase of the decision process the

approachable person is the most important person
in the room.
When the decision process progresses to evaluating
and deciding phases, the attention shifts to the credible
person in the group. The approachable person now
has no place in the decision process.
The most important person in the system is the
person who can shift from approachable to credible
and knows when to do so.

In groups where there are both approachable I ~) and credible

I~) voices actively present, the former are highly sought during
the Gathering phase and disregarded during the Evaluating and
especially the Deciding phase. This is particularly evidenced in the
following exercise.

Two chairs are facing a solo chair The two chairs are equal in status
and are supervisors of the solo chair. One of the two chairs will role-
playa credible voice I ~ I person and the other an approachable voice
I ~ I person. The solo chair is proposing ideas for the company's
July 4 picnic; e.g .. where, which games and activities, food, and

proposer h rl credible person

rl approachable person

approachable (~) person. rl
Statistically, the solo person will increasingly look at the

credible person

rl approachable person

And yet, when the solo person says the sentence, "So what do you
think?" the solo person switches his/her glance away from the
approachable person and looks directly at the credible person.

h-------, rl
Voice Patterns and Breathing
Credible + t Breathing = Anger
Credible + '" Breathing = Definitiveness
Approachable + Breathing = Pleading
Approachable + '" Breathing = Seeking Info


chemicals that produce the "fight or flight" syndrome.

This is an animalistic survival mode ..LiterallY, our
bodies are temporarily stronger. When we breathe
You are leaming skills and your very presence in this program is evidence
of your commitment to improvement. Breathing is the key that unlocks
your ability to utilize all the new skills. Why?
When we breathe high and shallow, we release -

low and deep, we release chemicals of calmness.
This results in our ability to be rational and human,
thus allowing us to utilize our techniques.
Do this activity to experience the location of your breathing when you
think of certain situations and people: place one hand on the opposite
shoulder and the other just below your rib cage. Think of an occasion
that you find frightening or unpleasant. Which hand moves? If it is the
one touching the shoulder, then you are breathing high and shallow.

Now think of an occasion that you really look forward to and find
pleasant. Did the hand touching the abdominal area move as that part
of your body expanded?
Our bodies are prehistoric in that we often react as if the situation is
life or death. We are programmed to respond to many situations as if
the dinosaurs are present-the fight-or

We.,""",,,'","~]~'o"~om d)~
-flight chemicals are released and we
become instinctive. This programming
causes us to drain ourselves of energy
and to impede our ability to think.
. ,
brain under pressure-this updating '", ",
of the body-mind connection will be a lifelong benefit.
In addition to the high and shallow versus the low and deep breath-
ing, the inhale and exhale sections of the breathing cycle affect which
chemicals are released. When we inhale, we activate the fight/flight
chemicals. In contrast, during the exhale we increase our calmness

Linguistic Neuro (or A Menu of Choices)
In a new group, you may need to know the answer to
questions that will provide important information about
the level of resistance there may be to certain ideas.
But if you ask the questions and the group is not formed
yet, you cou Id split the group. So you need to use an
approach by which you can measure the group's re-
action to certain ideas without asking the questions.
Make a series of statements
A is a possibility B is a possibility
C is a possibility
After each statement, pause and watch how the breath-
ing collectively increases or decreases in the room.

Breathing & Permission

When the person(s) is breathing low, the permission is high.

When the person(s) is breathing high, the permission is low.

Evolution of Group Formation

New Group (Unfamiliar)
Eyes stay on the presenter
Group wants you to be highly credible
Group comes back immediately from a break
The presenter is the safest person in the room
Familiar Group
Eyes turn toward each other
Group wants you to be approachable
Group comes back from break more slowly
There is safety between people
It's the group's group
Unisons of reaction

Attacks are opportunities to see what heights our
development has reached. This is because attacks
are, on the surface, occasions where it appears that
our permission level is low or nil. The epitome of
presenting is when we are able to turn the repartee
into a win-win situation.
Try to preserve the presentation location
When we see the attack coming, move away from
the presentation location.
During the welcome and introductory portion of
the presentation, consider creating a spot for
questions. This makes it easier to control when
the attacks come.
You may choose to teach the group to raise their
hands when they want to ask a question or make
a statement. This allows you to see the query
coming and move away from the presentation
Emergency: If the attack occurs when you are in the
presentation location and you cannot get out of the
area then stay there, and when the interchange is
over, consider moving to a new, clean location for
the continuation of the content.
Taking care of the presenter
There is a tendency for the presenter who is under
attack to be aware of him/herself in less than a
resourceful mental-emotional state. Taking care of
ourselves: Someone once said if the presenter can
take care of him/herself then the presenter has a
chance to help the group and the individual.

Dissociate to decrease the intensity of the internal
feelings. This will require practicing the skill of
dissociating ahead of time.
When the participant is talking, be still, look
intelligent, and breathe deeply. If the group senses
that the presenter is OK, they are more likely to be
OK themselves.
One of the most important conditions that a pre-
senter wants to have in a group is SAFETY. How one
creates or influences the SAFETY factor depends on
the variables of whether the gathering is public or
in-house, how long the program has been going when
the attack comes and the purpose of the program, etc.
However, one variable that must be considered
when formulating a response is "group dynamics."
One of the critical ways of thinking about a group is
understanding the relationship between the presen-
ter, the group and the individual. This perspective
will provide the presenter with a sense of his or her
range of PERMISSION.

Consider the axiom, "It usually isn't the content of
the attack that is troublesome but the delivery of
the attack and the group's reaction to the delivery."
Does the group perceive the attacker as inappropri-
ate and different from them? If so, then to which of
the three stages of reactions has the group pro-
gressed? (Your possible response is in parentheses.)

Three Stages of Group Reaction

to Inappropriate Individuals
If group perceives the individual as inappropriate
Individual Group's Reaction Presenter's
First Attad/

"Where did you Faces showing, (answer politely)

get your shoes?" held breath. pulled
Shocked/ back. eyes wide

Second Attack

"Where do you buy Same as shocked Say, "See me

your clothes?" plus wrinkled later."
Confused foreheads, sl ightly
turned toward
people next to them

Third Attack

"Tell me about Faces showing Manage

your ancestors." big Sigh and all of non-verbally
Annoyed above. Looks at
Keep the
person next to them. Groul' SAFE

Shocked/surprised (answer politely)
Confused by the participant's persistence to be
inappropriate (say, "See me later.")
Annoyed (You have a lot of group permission to
stop the time spent with the individual. In fact. the
group's SAFETY may depend on how effectively you
squelch the participant's desire to hog the micro-
phone. Try to avoid being verbal with the attacker
because oral response tends to escalate the situa-
tion. Sometimes a silent stare is powerful and
effective. When the interaction is over, step away
from the spot where you were and return to your
presentation location, breathe again and continue
as if the attack never took place. Amnesia has
sorne great by-products.)