Participating in and Leading A Group Discussion
Today performance in group discussion has become an important dimension of many professional selection process. It is a methodology where companies gauge certain personality traits and skills that it desires in candidates.
As companies are more interested in team players rather than individual contributors, group discussion gives a forum for teamwork by incorporating views of different team members to reach a common goal. Hence it develops a candidate’s potential to be a leader and his ability to work in teams. In schools, there is a growing awareness to employ the interactive process in teaching which also implies group discussion.
In a group discussion, personal abilities like team skills, reasoning ability, leadership, flexibility, assertiveness, creativity, inspiring ability ad awareness are displayed. Hence it is important that one speaks clearly and audibly. One should voice one’s idea logically and cohesively, always working with other members to build a consensus. Thus group discussion facilitates leadership skills, communication skills, interpersonal skills, persuasive skills, problem solving skills and conceptualizing skills.
Tips for participating in Group Discussion :
- Be relaxed and natural in the group. Do not consider yourself better than the others. Look at your group members and speak pleasantly to all. Maintain a good rapport.
- Think about your contribution before you speak. Do not start speaking until you have clearly understand and analysed the topic. Take time to organize your thoughts. Speak your point of view and be willing to own it. Speak pleasantly and politely to the group.
- Be attentive and listen well and respect the contribution of every member. If you have any doubt, ask questions and clarify the matter.
- Do not interrupt when another person is speaking. Wait for a speaker to finish what he is saying before speaking. Never respond with ridicule, sarcasm, or with a heated, emotional put down. Remember, listening to others earns you the right to be heard.
- Do not introduce irrelevant information, stick to the topic.
- Be polite, courteous and respect the contribution of others. Acknowledge what is interesting.
- Avoid any body language or gestures that appear aggressive. Be assertive but not dominating. Do not point your finger at any one or thump the table. You may appear aggressive. Try to refrain from giggling and making faces while someone is talking.
- Speak loudly and clearly communicate your views.
- Do not dominate. Encourage and allow quiet students to share their views. Motivate others to speak.
Some verbal tips for Group Discussion:
- Understand – Understand the topic before attempting to contribute.
- Quality, not quantity matters– it’s not ‘how much’ you say, but ‘what’ you say that’s important.
- Articulate– Work continuously towards articulating your ideas into meaningful sentences to make the best impact. Be clear in your speech.
- Assert– Be assertive.
- Speak – Try and get a chance to speak. If you can’t get a chance to speak make your chance.
- Initiate – Take the initiative to begin the discussion, if possible.
- Structure – Structure arguments logically – justify your stand.
- Summaries– Summaries the discussion effectively
- Involve– Take active part throughout the GD.
- Use non-verbal communication to emphasize points.
- Listen– Be an attentive listener.