I believe that looking for the ideal number of people to have a conversation is asking the wrong question… One should be asking how to provide something valuable to those involved in the conversation, how they can learn, find inspiration and exchange experiences.
“Some people talk a lot, but aren’t saying anything”
Conversation is all about individuals exchanging information. Conversation only happens when information flows from each individual towards another person. In order for this to happen certain conditions have to be met:
- Involvement of all people
- Understand each other (language, culture,…)
- Motivation to start talking to each other
- Attention to truly listen to each other
- … And yes a good coach can help
The art of conversation is about making sure you listen! Get to know the people! You can only truly communicate what you want to say if your are willing to understand the people you are talking to. As for the ideal number of people to talk to? It depends! Mostly on your own listening skills and whether the group is interested in the message you’re about to bring.
Ah, and about the theory…? Reaching decision in a team work better when there are odd numbers op people. The ideal number of people in a team is 4.6 in accordance to research (I don’t mind being in such teams as long as I’m not the 0.6th person). And Scrum teams work best when they are about 5-7 people, really no more than 12 people… All only because otherwise they wouldn’t efficiently communicate… Although there is some truth in this, it’s hard to quantify.
As for the ideal number of managers in a team I have a radical opinion… 0 managers! All we need is a caring coach who is truly listening to the needs of the team. Why? Because it takes coaching skills to manage the communication… I remember from my first project management training I followed years ago: “A project manager is the organizer of communication.”
A reply to the Daily Prompt: Counting Voices