Change of Hearts; Small Group Project Paper
My group consisted of four other members-Chris, Dan, Brian, and Amy. When we were first introduced to the idea of a small group project we knew that our presentation had to entertain the audience, and at the same time inform them. At that point, we were functioning as individuals. Each of us tossed out a ton of ideas and some were shot down right away. That took about 5minutes. Then Dan mentioned that we can do a parody of the television show Change of Hearts, and it stuck to us like glue. Gradually we began to feed into his revelation, and started to add our personal touches. Each of us became elaborators. For about 15 minutes we took the idea and expanded it to see where it could lead the group. Before we got carried away a group member would a give us an objective opinion, and that kept us on track. We had used constructive criticism to guide us to the final presentation. So after we had reached a point where we felt confident and comfortable with the idea, we decided as a group that we had chosen our topic and it was time to start planning out meetings. To me the way we went about sorting though ideas and coming to conclusions was quick, concise, and simple. We didn’t have any miscellaneous things to cover or chat about. That day we walked out of class ready and motivated to have a good time and get our point across to the class.
Chris emerged as the leader in the group at the very beginning. At first I saw it as him being pushy, but then he explained that he was the only child in his family-yada yada yada- so I let him have the spotlight. In my opinion, he did a better job at organizing the details in the presentation than I probably would have. For example, he got the camera and recorded the shots, made the applause sign, brought in the radio and the music, and even checked up on me when I was sick. Then again, Chris volunteered to do all those things. Group members asked him if he wanted any help, and if he was sure that he didn’t need the extra hand. In other words, to me it seemed like he wanted to bear all the weight on his shoulders. Chris wasn’t appointed or elected. No one challenged him as he took on the position of leader in the group; therefore I assumed that no one had a problem with it. The leadership style that I thought the group conformed to was the democratic style. Chris, being the leader, approached us as a group about the views that were laid out on the table, and we chose which idea that was consistent with our presentation style. Each member was allowed to express his or her opinions freely, and I had enough trust in Chris to know which idea would or wouldn’t work. Another way of explaining the scale of leadership is this by comparing it to the rank of power in the American Government. Chris is president, Dan is Vice-President, Amy is the Secretary of State, and Brian is Secretary of Defense. I can’t judge where I fit in there because that wouldn’t be fair to me group members if I rank my self higher than what I really was.
When we got together for our work sessions, as individuals we took on our roles of listeners, talkers, advisers, comedians, daydreamers, and so on. Of course the majority of the time we spent was covering the material, but at one point or another we would end
up off track and talking about a completely different topic. We started off each meeting, when Chris would introduce how far along we are with visual aids, and information. Then he would ask each of us to recap on the information that we gathered and if we can cover our asses when it came to our part of the presentation. What’s good about that is he would get us focused on being prepared for our meeting, instead of showing up empty handed. Another good thing about Chris is that he is as good as his word. Everything he said he would do, he did and not a penny short. What was bad about Chris is he would be the first person to get us off track. I was eating a Powerbar during a meeting and Dan was in the middle of his conversation until Chris told us about the time that he overdosed on Powerbar by eating a whole box and he had to go to the hospital to get his stomach pumped. Hello? Where did that come from Chris? After that the group started talking about which flavor is the best and how oatmeal raisin is the group’s favorite. Chris’s job was to create transitions from guest to guest, video, and comments on the show.
Dan, Amy, and I had the same role. We commented on the each member’s ideas and tried to find ways to make the presentation more interesting and attention getting for the audience. Each of us proposed new methods of expressing a certain part of the show. For example, I would tell Amy that it would be better if she had picked a certain aspect of my character that she wanted to talk about. Therefore my job was to present that negative aspect as effectively as I could to the class so they could understand what Amy was talking about. Also Dan and I had to be consistent with the comments about each other’s characters in the speech, so we made up a list of what we couldn’t stand about our ex-girlfriends and ex-boyfriends. That ended up to be the basis of our characters’ problems.
The three of us listened to each other’s feedback, and worked on improving both the bad and good. We knew we would be on track if we followed the advice given. So in my eyes we were on the same level of cooperation.
Brian is another story in and of itself. He barely participated in the conversations we had, whether it concerned the project or not. Each group member tried to get some feedback from Brian, but we’d only get a sentence. On the day of the first meeting I had gotten sick and the group wanted me to go home and rest, so when I did that Brian picked up and left unexpectedly. Then, at one point or another during the meeting at the Union he fell asleep. Also, when we would ask Brian to update us on how much he has done, he said he’d have it ready and not to worry. He had it ready the night before the project. I’m not trying to bash him. Brian did a good job during the presentation and he typed the outline, but I felt like he kept the group in the dark about what he was going to say.
My group spent about 6 to 7 hours of work time on this presentation, and to me it felt like I was at summer camp. With Chris’s sense of humor, Dan’s sense of direction, Amy’s input, and a group effort of getting Brian involved, we had every component of a good group. We had the leader, the follower, the listener, the talker, and the slacker. Overall, I felt comfortable in this group. My opinions were always taken into consideration, and I wasn’t intimidated at all. My group knew that when we present our information, we wanted to look laid back and comfortable with each other. The only way to do that is to be laid back, and role with the punches so to speak. The majority of my part of the presentation was improvisation, which shows that I had let my guard down
and trusted my fellow members enough to lead me into the next topic. In my opinion, my group did a great job and that was reflected in our presentation.