Group Work

Group work is tricky at the best of times. At the same time, collaborative work can help you stay motivated and reduce anxiety. Do your part in a timely fashion, and expect the same of others following these tips:

  • Maintain clear positively assertive communication.
  • Review assignment and instructions, to come to a common understanding of the goals.
  • Define clearly tasks and responsibilities; if possible, pair people for each task.
  • Clearly define the roles in the team, including the team lead.
  • Set clear deadlines, regular meetings and check-ins.
  • Set a primary method of communication, preferably one where you can see if people have read your message, to maintain flexibility and accountability.
  • Be responsible and do your part. If you encounter difficulties, first bring it to your team, then escalate to professor if needed.
  • Remember each individual works differently, but you are a team. So compromise is important.

Assertive Communication

What is it?

Assertiveness is a healthy positive way of communicating. Assertive communicators are self-aware, responsible, honest and respectful. As a student, it is important to develop these skills when approaching a teacher, communicating with members of your study group, working together for group assignments, participating in your student clubs, interviewing and even when asking someone for a date. Be mindful of cultural differences…

Why is assertive communication important?

If your communication style is too passive, you can get to feel taken advantage of and may begin to feel hurt, angry or resentful. On the other hand, if you are too aggressive you may alienate others, be rejected or lose respect. Both passive and aggressive communication can hamper the achieving of your goals. Understand that your ideas and opinions are just as valuable as those of others, even when the situation is difficult and uncomfortable.

Phrases to Improve Assertive Communication

  • Use “I” statements to communicate: I think, I believe, I prefer, I would like…
  • Use “you” statements to express empathy: You seem to have a lot going on, Do you need more time to complete your part of the assignment?
  • Use “we” statements to foster negotiation and compromise: I think we should meet again this week., I believe it would be good for each of us to send what we have worked on to the group chat by tomorrow so that we can see where we are in the project.
  • Delay further discussion if needed: I can see that you are upset, shall we talk about this tomorrow? Perhaps we can set a new deadline for ____?
  • Facilitate further discussion: I can see how you may feel I’m being bossy/ stubborn/ …can we talk/discuss/ figure out….?

How To Become More Assertive

Be mindful that language and culture can shape how people perceive what is passive or aggressive communication.

  • Be aware of what you think, feel and want.
  • Push yourself to give your opinion if you tend to be more passive.
  • Practice in a safe environment if you tend toward aggressive or passive aggressive behavior.
  • Acknowledge that you can’t control others behavior.
  • Learn to say No! specially to doing more than your fair share.
  • Seek to compromise and find a “win-win” solution.
  • Be open to both criticism and compliments; approach both with curiosity to see what you can learn.


Hey! Just wanted to check in since the deadline we set for ourselves is coming up. Please let me know if you need an extra day or two to complete your portion of the project. Thanks!

Hi ____________ ! I’ve completed my part of the project and I’d like to put our entire project together as soon as possible to ensure we have enough time to review the entirety of it before handing it in. Thanks!


The three Cs of effective communication:

  • Confidence in your understanding of the situation and ability to communicate effectively.
  • Clarity in that your message is clear and easy to understand.
  • Control in the way you communicate your message in a calm and respectful manner.
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