Don't let the team negate the outcome of the exercise with excuses
Some teams, particularly where the communication analysis feedback may not look too positive, focus on the exercise (in this case, Egg Rescue) as being unrealistic and therefore as not capturing a 'typical' piece of team-working. The members may say things like, 'We wouldn't normally do that in our meetings. In this task, we all took on different roles which will have influenced our behaviour.' Teams that have 'succeeded' in the Egg Rescue task may be more inclined to react like this (if the communication analysis is quite 'negative'). As facilitator, you obviously can't tell the team that it is typical of its members. You can only say it is a snapshot, and help the team to explore whether there are any links with its day-to-day performance. It might be a good idea to focus the team initially on 'contribution rates', as it is quite likely that this will be typical of the team's everyday performance and the team will be more likely to recognise this.
Don't let individual team members be singled out
It is quite difficult to observe and record communication in this way, and some mistakes (incorrect classifications) will be made. Because it is a difficult task, we suggest that individuals focus on observing only one person. This does, however, carry the risk that if the 'observer' does a bad job, this could paint a poor picture of the observed person. As the facilitator, be mindful of this and try to steer the conversation away from singling people out for negative feedback. The temptation for the team might be to single each person out in turn. Individuals who have been very quiet, and who may have said very little, may feel on the spot. When you are watching the video, keep alert to situations like this. Try to jot down some quotes yourself from the quieter members, so you can feed these in at the appropriate time. During the playback of the video, you could complete a communication analysis record sheet for the whole team, so that if a team member is wildly out in his or her recording, you can offer your observation.
Don't let the team get hung up on what the 'real' statistics should be
The most valuable benefit of using communication analysis is that teams consider the trends and patterns of their communication styles. Sometimes teams get preoccupied with what the 'ideal' statistics should be. For example, exactly how much agreeing versus disagreeing should there be? This is a red herring and stops the team considering how it needs to improve. The facilitator should focus the team on looking at the general trends – for example, is there more disagreeing than agreeing?