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Teamwork Final Review

How well did you adhere to these team agreements as an individual team member? What did you stick to? What did you find difficult?

Abigail: In terms of team agreements, I think I definitely adhered to them although looking back they are perhaps a little vague. I made an effort to come to every class and meeting, in order to be confident in my understanding of the tasks and where we were ‘at’ in the process. I found it difficult to come on time to meetings (I was normally maybe 5 minutes late) and also was unsure as to what exact role I should play in the development of the PR pitch, as I had primarily focussed on and taken responsibility for the journalism pitch.

Kasia: I think I adhered to the guidelines, as they were quite clear on what the group expected of me and what I wanted from the other members of the team. For me, the most important aspects were supporting each other, seeking clarification and communicating and something I did well with and attending all meetings/workshops.

Chiara: I believe that I adhered to the team agreements on the most part; I completed assignments tasks to a high standard and contributed to the group, however I believe I could improve my communication skills by being present at more team meetings. I think that I completed all tasks and made an effort to do this to a high standard and I also made an effort to complete these tasks within a reasonable timeframe, while still giving plenty of detail and background research. I found it difficult to attend all group meetings at university given that I was not able to be present to all of these meetings due to personal circumstances.

Anna: Looking through the agreement I did my best to adhere to all the guidelines, despite missing the first class I think I was able to pick up an even workload and I hope the rest of the group agrees!

What aspect of your individual teamwork skills would you improve the most?

Abigail: I could definitely work on relaxing and being more calm in my communication with others in the group. I would like to be more clear in the future with my expectations of myself and others. In the future I would focus more from the beginning on setting really clear expectations: i.e. 3 meetings a week, checking in online every other day. This way it would be easier to evaluate our progress as a team.

Kasia: I think taking a chance to step back and hear what other people were trying to say rather than rushing my ideas could be a good idea for next time. Sometimes, I can be a bit distracting and go off on tangents which doesn’t mesh well with people just trying to get work done fast.

Chiara: I think that I could definitely improve my listening skills, i felt that at times I did not always listen closely to other team member’s ideas or contributions. I would really like to improve this in future by having a more calm approach to group discussions and being less stubborn. I also think that my communication skills could be improved in other areas: being present at more meetings/giving advanced notice of my availability.

Anna: I think I need to have more confidence in my work in a group situation and share my thoughts and ideas more.

What aspect of the whole group’s teamwork are you happy with?

Abigail: I’m happy that we pulled together to present our assessment in a unified and concise manner, with everyone present for the meeting before our presentation. I was also happy with the constructive criticism we gave each other during that meeting, and with our commitment to finish the various tasks within the time limit.

Kasia: Overall we were really supportive of each other and group meetings were a handy idea since face-to-face communication is best for organising, and messages can’t be misconstrued or meaning changed, like other methods of communication can be,

Chiara: I was really happy with how we managed to work together so well and produce a cohesive presentation that flowed effortlessly. I felt that our presentation was really well put together and everyone’s work linked together really nicely and supported each other’s findings.

Anna: I think as a group we were really good at giving constructive criticism but also support to everyone on their work.

What could you all have done better as a team?

Abigail: The most challenging aspect and the thing that could definitely be improved in the future was attendance – it was difficult to develop some parts of the project and also to communicate effectively when our meetings were fragmented and most communication was online. However, we went some way towards rectifying this by frequently checking the group chat and working on tasks together in real time using google docs.

Kasia: This is hard to combat, but possibly technological issues like some people not having access to important documents we were working on due to tech/ communication issues or not being able to attend group meetings because of illness/work and other priorities.

Chiara: I think that the main area of improvement is attendance, I myself believe that this is something that I personally could improve on but overall I think that the some areas of the project would have been easier to complete/develop if all members were present at the group meetings. However I think we worked well online and were able to stay in close contact which was helpful, so I believe our overall communication wasn’t too bad but I do think that we could improve our face-to-face communication skills.

Anna: Overall I think we maintained good communication as group, however I think it could still be improved with more face-to-face meetings, rather than relying so heaving on online communication, as I think these are the most effective way of discussing things as a group. Although it is hard to organised these at a time when everyone is available, ensure all members are making an effort to attend.

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final reflection blog post – ANNA

Reflecting on the project as a whole I think our team did a really good job of addressing the topic, working together as a group, responding to feedback and presenting. In the second stage of the assessment we focused on developing our stories in the chosen disciplines journalism and PR. We first addressed the feedback from our first presentation and carried out more research to gain a better understanding of the underrepresented voice and therefore a more refined direction for our stories.

I think the project was a really good way to finish the subject as it combined everything we have learnt so far in the course and enabled us to put it into practice and gave us the opportunity to feel as if we were working in the industry, for example through the process of developing the stories we got an insight into the work of a PR practitioner as we took on a client Play Unlimited (the underrepresented voice of the issue) and worked on objectives and tactics to broaden their reach and have their voice heard in the issue.

As a group I think we maintained good communication throughout the development of the stories and the whole project even when group members were absent from the workshops or meetings, we managed to work around that using online chat and/or work on our google documents. An aspect of the project that the group found hard was being able to actually breakdown the topic as it is a really big issue and we did so much research but had to sort through and analyse that and find what was relevant and useful for the development of our stories. In the second half of the project we engaged in more group discussions, these were really useful for getting feedback on work we were doing but also getting everyone’s input and opinion on all aspects of the assessment and helped us breakdown the huge topic into a succinct ten minute presentation.

Coming into Professional Communications, I wasn’t able to distinguish the difference between advertising and PR, but through all the work this semester and then actually going through the process of developing stories this became clear. During the development stage I was again delegated work on the PR story, however even though I only worked on the PR story this project helped to understand the key differences in the four disciplines through the work my other team members did on journalism but also though listening to all the other presentations which included media and advertising stories.

Final assessment reflective blog – Kasia

After presenting on Friday, and feeling immense relief that we had completed all the in-class public speaking for this assessment, it’s now time to look back and reflect on the overall project.

I would classify it as a successful team project, one with clear communication (withstanding mishaps and technological issues) and objectives. Presenting on such a complex issue and having to address so many questions was aided by the fact it was a four person effort and we were able to achieve much more than we would have individually. Again, the nervousness of presenting again but with a larger audience and being marked this time, was helped by the positivity and constructive feedback of the group when we rehearsed our speech together ahead of time on the day.

Personally, I found determining what were the really vital parts of my segments on background and key message issues research difficult and ultimately needed the team members’ assistance to cut down and condense what I really needed to say. I was proud of everyone on how we managed to fit in everything we needed in a slick under ten minute presentation and this could be attributed to our great preparation and organisation beforehand. I think for me personally, I used to ‘wing’ public speaking throughout school as I hated speeches consisting of just reading off a page, and this worked for me. However, with this amount of research I found it helpful to pre plan exactly what I wanted to say and reduce the chance of stumbling and uncertainty. This change in my approach to the task may also have been because it was a group project, I didn’t want to be the weak link and let down the presentation by messing up a part I was responsible for and I think everyone ended up doing really well despite initial hesitance and qualms.

If it had been an individual project I probably would have extended the part I found most interesting (research) and neglected the pertinent sections of for example, tactics and objectives, so I’m really grateful the team was there to refocus me and make sure time allocation was correct so we ended up addressing the criteria. After a semester of Prof Comm (which has gone by so fast), I think it was a great way to tie in what we’ve learnt about multiple disciplines as well as use our communication skills together.

500 Word Report (Idea Development)

Throughout the second stage of our assessment, we focused on our previous feedback and experiences in order to work more cooperatively and effectively as a team. The feedback that influenced us most was the reminder to use research findings to “identify the answers to the guiding questions” and “inform [our] final messages/outcomes”. We discussed this concept and endeavored to change our approach to the task, ensuring we did not rush ahead until we made sure we had done all our research and confirmed that our outcomes were in accordance with our background information. In this way all of our work was grounded in research and linked to the issue as a whole.

In a more specific sense, having this feedback helped us to develop our PR idea further as with more extensive research we were able to identify the perfect organisation to represent (Play Unlimited) and explain why this client in particular was having difficulty in getting their message out.

It was also through research that we were able to narrow the focus of the journalism pitch, moving away from the vague and assumptive topic of ‘technology in the classroom’ and identifying a unique niche for Toca-Boca in special needs education, allowing us to develop a story idea far more unique in its angle.

Additionally, we took into account the time management aspect of the presentation, having gone three minutes overtime in the initial presentation, partly because of a lack of tightly organised cooperation in terms of who said what and for how long. As a team we practised repeatedly and focussed on giving constructive criticism so that each group member’s speech would be as concise and clear as possible. In this way we were able to reduce our speaking time by 4 minutes and still communicate our core ideas.

Essentially we took both our communication as a team and our research to another level, investigating the issue at its ‘root’ and including only the essential points in our final presentation.

In terms of “lightning bulb” ideas and realisations, it occurred to us during the workshop tutorial just how important the ‘marketing’ component of the topic was. It was not simply about gendered toys but how any product or digital medium was marketed in relation to diversity. This gave us an opportunity to approach the topic from a different and more manageable angle. At the beginning of the project a couple of us were having problems breaking down the topic and working out exactly what we were meant to do in each of the stories. Focussing on ‘marketing’ specifically allowed us to clarify our thoughts.

We also realised through team discussions that it was potentially unclear whether we were addressing the ‘problem’ of gender inequality itself, or the problem for our client, leading to some confusion. We also had been unclear on the actual format of the final presentation so Monday’s seminar was really helpful in clarifying what exactly was needed from us and how we could structure our research around that.

In general, we found a combination of team discussion, feedback, practice and clarification during lectures and workshops to be helpful and illuminating while developing our ideas for this assessment.

ideas for 500w group report – ANNA

What was the feedback after Presentation 1 that most influenced the further development of your ideas?

  • To do more research into the background of the issue and answer the initial questions given for each discipline before jumping ahead and creating/developing the stories
  • We went over time by a couple of minutes

What did you do differently after this point? Why?

  • Went back and did further research on target audience and developed key messages before starting objectives and tactics so these became more relevant to the issue and publics
  • Chose what information to included more carefully and timed our presentation numerous times before to ensure it was under 10 mins

What did you realise you had missed? OR could do better?

  • More extensive research needed to be done
  • To stay in the time limit

Any lightbulb or lightening-bolt moments?

At the beginning of the project a couple of us were having problems breaking down the topic and working out exactly what we were meant to do in each of the stories, after speaking with tutors and re-reading the topic ‘diversity in marketing’ we had a lightbolt moment with the word ‘marketing’ in the topic as we have been trying to tackle the whole issue of diversity, but now understood what to focus our research and stories on.  

Ideas for final group 500w report Kasia

What was the feedback after Presentation 1 that most influenced the further development of your ideas?

I think it was definitely the feedback we received to not jump ahead and rush to developing ideas, rather take time to properly research and fully understand our complex topic.

What did you do differently after this point? Why?

We sort of switched course and did more extensive research before choosing exactly which disciplines we should develop story ideas for. All this gave us knowledge we could later transfer to the two disciplines we chose (Journalism and PR) and base our ideas around it.

What did you realise you had missed? OR could do better?

Going a little bit over the 10 minutes really gave us a focus for the second presentation to try and be more succinct and condense important information.

Any lightbulb or lightening-bolt moments?

Possibly when we realised how important the ‘marketing’ component of the topic was, it wasn’t just about gendered toys but how toys were marketed to different genders also. This gave us a opportunity to approach the topic from a different angle, a slightly more manageable one.