Group discussion is a forum for free exchange of information/views in orderto achieve consensus. Group discussions are meant to judge your communication and interpersonal abilities. The observers will be looking for verbal and non- verbal skills, clarity of thought, leadership abilities and other interpersonal skills.
Points to improve the performance in group discussion
- Enter the discussion in a measured manner.
- Choose the correct point of entry.
- Present each view forcefully and convincingly.
- Conclude each argument at the right time.
- Be relaxed.
- Be pleasant and courteous to others.
- Be confident about what you want to say.
- Address each person by his/her name.
Thinking / reasoning
- Think in a logical and rational sequence.
- Show consistency of ideas: all points stated should have consistency of thought.
- Be quick in thinking and react to points made by others.
- Have the facts right, before expressing them before the group.
- Try to relate disparate day-to-day events to the point being discussed.
- If you are not able to understand the technical term/Abbreviations used by another member, it is in order to ask for clarifications (as long as that is not your own area of specialization)
- Display your grasp of knowledge on the subject.
- Quote examples of recent developments that have taken place in the USA and Europe or changes that are in the pipeline in those places and in India in the related field covered by the topic.
- Speak as often as possible.
- Participate in a sustained way: do not leave long gaps without speaking.
- Participation is not necessarily the duration and frequency of your speaking, but the number of value inputs you give to the discussion.
- Allow others to speak as well; be facilitative.
- Listen emphatically. Remember that a great leader is also a good listener.
- It is not necessary that your participation has to be by making a fresh point. At the same time, just agreeing to what someone else mentions is no real contribution. You can disagree with the views of others by giving logic as to why you disagree.
- Get in the midst of discussion only when the current speaker has completed a sentence and given a pause. This is to ensure that he/she isnot unduly interrupted. Otherwise, he/she may put you down by saying,’Let me finish’.
- Each point you make should enhance the quality of the discussions.
- Make original points rather than expressing options about some one else’s points.
- Decide what stand you would take about the topic and stick to it.
- Do not be repetitive.
- Do not digress from the topic into an unrelated field.
- Express your ideas clearly. Clarity of expression comes naturally to those who have clarity of thought. So think clearly before communicating to the group.
- Modulate your voice.
- Listen attentively to others point of view. Not only should you listen to others carefully, it is your duty to show it to others. For example you should not look around when others are making their points, though physically you are listening.
- You should be able to gain attention of the group.
- You should be able to draw the non-participants into the discussion.
- You should be able to state clearly whenever the group agrees on any point, before passing on to the next.
- Generate a feeling to represent that you are a team player.
- Display your leadership skills.
- Towards the end, try to develop a team consensus on the subject and make concluding remarks.
- If you feel, right in the middle of the discussion, that things are not moving in the right direction, take the initiative to set things right.
Points to note
- In group discussions, it is important not to get agitated even if some one contradicts your argument in an unfair manner.
- There should not be any attempt to sneer at the observations of the team member’s statement
- A quote from a learned authority on the topic of discussion always provides an edge over others.
- Statistics do add weightage to one’s observations but these should be quoted only when they are relevant and accurate.