Student Success · Texas Tech · Thoughts from Tutors

Social Dynamics and Communication Skills

By Diana Gavidia, Team Green Master Tutor

For those who don’t know what the term “social dynamics” means, Merriam-Webster defines it as “a branch of social physics that deals with the laws, forces, and phenomena of change in society.” When I saw physics, I immediately stepped back. What does this even mean? I remember reading this and thinking to myself, “Hmm, that is not what I thought this term literally meant.” After much research, I came up with my own definition of social dynamics, which is this: The changes in interaction and social behavior of a society that can occur within an individual or group setting that demands change in the ways we communicate for that moment in time.

The key point to take away from this topic is that it is truly a dynamic, meaning it’s active and changes with the environment that we place ourselves in. For example, I will act differently when I am out hanging out with my friends on a Saturday night compared to how I would act with my parents and their friends on a Saturday night. These are two completely different groups of individuals that I would have to change my communication skills for depending on the situation. Discovering how to talk with them, how to act, and what is appropriate is all part of the social dynamic discovery process. When communicating with others, you do not want to offend them or make them uncomfortable just because you can’t direct your behaviors or interaction in a manner that is respectful and acceptable in that particular setting.

Graphic of different colored text boxes with “Communication” written underneath.

Now that we all know what social dynamics entail, we need to address the elephant in the room, which is the individual’s communication skills. There is no singular way of communication that works for every scenario in life; we must learn to adapt to different situations so that we can effectively express our thoughts and needs. Not everyone can alter their communication in a way that reflects the appropriate dynamics of the social behavior happening around them. It could be because some people have trouble picking up on social cues or it could be that others simply just don’t care, but in order to be a part of society, one must learn how to “fit in.” Some ways to help identify social dynamics is to be a good listener, do some reading so you have knowledge about various topics and a great vocabulary, pay attention to the body language of people in the group, and lastly, when you are analyzing the scenario, pay attention to what seems to be the “norms” of your surroundings.

When communicating, I like to follow the 7 C’s principle: Completeness, Concreteness, Courtesy, Correctness, Clarity, Consideration, and Conciseness. Together, these principles lead to a clear, simple, and well-structured message for the receiving audience, which is the ultimate goal of communication. You want your message to be clear and brief but have enough information, so you don’t promote confusion.

Graphic of two hands shaking, with words written within them. The largest word on the left is “Cooperate” and the largest word on the right is “Connect.”

Understanding social dynamics is extremely important in our daily lives, especially if we are constantly in communication with others for career purposes, other professional settings, and even interviews! Keep this knowledge in mind when you are stepping into new settings, especially if it is for your career or something else that is important to you.

It will be essential to take social dynamics into consideration because you want to look skilled, impressive, and adaptable with how you communicate in different types of settings and with different types of people. Knowing about social dynamics and communication skills is important to recognize because you will be aware that there are changes in the ways that groups communicate, which ultimately affects how you will interact with the group as well.

As you move forward in life to bigger and better things, I hope this knowledge about social dynamics and communication skills will make you better prepared and attentive when put in a different social environment than what you’re used to!


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