When I had started my Master’s degree in Professional and Business Communication, I was scared. In the first several encounters with classmates, my fellow communicators have never failed to impress me with their argumentative and persuasive skills, especially when working within groups. Everyone was so assertive and good at getting his or her point across. The only flaw of that arrangement was that group work yielded unsatisfactory results in terms of grades. The cohort had too many individuals and not enough of team players.
Human connection builds winning teams
As time went by, my seemingly strong and confident classmates have started to unearth and combat the same issues with which I had been struggling – anxiety, nervousness, procrastination, prioritization or inadequate time management. We got to know each other better and became aware of our weaknesses as well as our strengths. We connected on the emotional level. And then a miracle occurred. When divided in groups for class assignments, working together for the benefit of the group became the norm. It startled me to witness this change, but I was very happy. The cohort made of formerly adamant individuals transformed into a team of versatile building blocks that added value no matter with whom they worked.
Synergy reigns supreme
“In PR, you pick each other up. That’s what you do,” told me my PR Link mentor Brendan Donnellan. And that’s what we did. Knowing each other’s weaknesses did not lead to exploiting them and starting a game of thrones in real life. Being aware of each others’ soft spots helped everyone from our cohort to become more respectful towards each other. Understanding who does what best also became conducive to efficient problem solving of tasks at hand and helped the whole learning process. In the end, we all love to be empowered and feel good about our work. The happiness multiplies when there is someone to share it with!
Onwards and forwards
The 2013 cohort is now moving towards the more difficult part of the programme full of stressful assignments, tight deadlines, intellectual challenges and demanding teamwork. We are going to explore and plan successful PR campaigns, try to pull through crisis communication and learn about proper project management. On a positive note, our team is not entering the second half of the theoretical training unprepared. Equipped with an array of communication skills, intercultural sensitivity and ability to work efficiently in groups, we are ready for the second portion of our graduate programme.