Press trip dynamics, and Tuckman’s model


Press trip dynamics, and Tuckman’s model


I’m on another press trip. This time, it’s to Champagne.

One of the most interesting things about press trips is the group dynamics, especially when you are travelling with people you don’t know. On my last trip (the group picture is above), I mentioned this to our Wine & Partners host, Andrea, and she told me about Bruce Tuckman’s model of group development. It’s a really interesting concept, and it’s exactly what happens on trips.

Tuckman’s model has four phases of group development: forming, storming, norming and performing.

The forming phase is when the group gets together. Initially, you look at each other, and silently say ‘who on earth are you?’ Often, at this stage, you feel a bit depressed. I’m going to be spending the next few days with this group of strange strangers, and it’s not such an amazing prospect.

Then there’s the storming phase. Hopefully, this is very brief, or even non-existent. This is when any potential personality clashes are ironed out.

The next phase is norming. Here each person begins to find their place in the group. It’s remarkable how this happens. You get to know each other a bit, you tolerate each others’ quirks, you recognize each others’ personalities and how they fit into the wider context.

Then there’s the performing phase. The group is now ready to work together. There’s an ease to the way that the group functions, and everyone plays their part. This is when a press trip becomes fun. What usually happens is that the trip ends on a high, right in the middle of the performing phase, and you are genuinely sad that it has ended.

We’re still on the Eurostar and haven’t even reached Paris, but so far the prospects for this trip look quite good.

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