Whether you are trying to understand social networks or you are engaging with a new group of people try and understand the overall group dynamics. The process also works within business meetings and work groups. Each group has their own influencers, motivations, culture and personalities.
When you begin to understand a group better you also begin to see better ways to influence the group and create more productive outcomes. People change within groups and their public opinions may not be the same as their private ones.
For example, if you are hosting a work group you will want to understand these dynamics in order to set rules, interact, and influence. You may also use the same concept when social marketing and trying to influence opinion.
1.) Watch Who Leads and Who Follows in Groups: In any group there are those who are more vocal, give more direction, and make more decisions. Determine who the influencers are and how they signal the rest of the members.
2.) Understand Motivations: Each person has a motivation to engage, make decisions, and interact with members. Understanding these motivations improves the ability to relate to members based on their needs.
3.) Understand the Group Culture: Each group creates norms. They may be as simple as the type of music someone likes to listen to as well as the choices over food. When you understand the culture you will also understand the actions that fit within the norms.
4.) Connect Individually and with the Group: Connect with people on a group and on an individual level. They are two different types of people. The opinions someone holds or how they act can be strikingly different than what they are willing to express in a group.