Project Management

Group Dynamics

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at and[email protected] Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

When leaders speak to a large group of people there is always the risk of misunderstanding and disengagement. Of course, there is also enormous potential for real inspiration and difference-making. Learning and leveraging a straightforward, natural approach will help immensely.

I spend a lot of time talking to groups of people, many of whom I have never interacted with before. They don’t know anything about my style and approach, the language I use, my accent, or anything else that provides an effective communication link between them and me. Similarly, I know nothing about them as individuals or collectively. To make matters more complex — for both sides of the communication link — the interaction is frequently in the form of a webinar so there is no opportunity to pick up on body language.

Many leaders are faced with similar challenges. They may not always be talking to complete strangers, and they may not be hosting webinars, but they will find themselves on conference calls where they can’t get a sense of the audience reaction, and they may be talking with groups of people they interact with only from a distance (physical or organizational). In these group situations, how do we ensure we get a consistent message across to everyone, trying to avoid any misinterpretation or confusion?

Vanilla is not the answer

When I first started presenting to larger groups of …


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"Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared."

- Buddha