Look who’s talking!


sociogram [soh-see-uh-gram, soh-shee-]

noun, Sociology

  1. a sociometric diagram representing the pattern of relationships between individuals in a group, usually expressed in terms of which persons they prefer to associate with.


It is perhaps no surprise to discover that there is often quite a gap between perception and reality. Sometimes, simply making people aware of the gap can be the wake up call they need to make change.

Recently, we ran a workshop for a senior, well-established team. As we prepared for the session, we met each of the team members in turn and asked them to describe how the team worked together. Words like “inclusive”, “open” and “engaged” were coming out and we were confidently expecting to encounter a model of textbook team working when it came to the big day.

What we actually witnessed was something completely different, with one or two people hogging the airtime and others disengaging. Sensing the learning opportunity, the facilitator started to create a “sociogram” on a flip chart hidden from the group. The idea is simple: you draw a line between the person talking and either the person being talked to or the group (if the talker is addressing the room).

When the conversation had run its course, we revealed the image above. The effect on the team dynamic was instant. Going forward, there was a lot more listening going on, a lot more encouragement for others to share their thoughts and less hands reaching for smartphones!

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