Successful Group Discussion Techniques
There are some definite Dos and Don’ts in group discussion techniques
- Organize your thoughts. Pre-plan what you are going to say.
- Speak. It is important for the evaluator to hear you speak.
- If you have any doubts regarding the subject, seek clarifications.
- In the case of group discussions for selection to jobs or educational institutes, make sure that you are dressed in formal attire.
- Be assertive without being authoritative or dominating. Keep your language formal. Simple spoken English without too much of jargon is most desirable.
- Maintain a formal posture which reflects enthusiasm.
- Try and maintain eye contact with as many people as possible.
- Try to make friends by speaking to those who hove been ignored by the rest of the group.
- Watch your body language. Your gestures and mannerisms odd to or subtract from what you are trying to say.
- Be clear and fluent in what you are saying.
- Refrain from extreme emotions. Maintain your cool. Do not take personal offense to anything that is being said.
- Always be polite. Avoid using strong phrases like ‘I strongly object……’
- Listen receptively. Do not listen with a desire to contradict or refute. Instead, listen to positively analyze what is being said.
- It may be useful for you to summarize the points mode till a particular time and then present your views.
- Stick to the discussion topic. Do not speak irrelevant things.
- Remember that the discussion is notion argument. Be polite even if you disagree.
- Do not try to be someone you are not. Be as natural as possible.
- Do not use too many gestures. They can be intimidating to the other participants.
- Do not interrupt when someone else is speaking.
- Do not try to stand out by putting the other person down.
- Do not ridicule the idea or statement of another participant by referring to it as stupid.
- Do not impose your ideas on anybody. Respect others’ opinions.
- Do not shout. Use a moderate tone and a medium pitch.
- Do not lose objectivity and make personal attacks.
- Do not attempt to be a leader by trying to conclude when the group has not reached any conclusion.
Group discussion is not a debate in which you either support or oppose the topic. There are no clear cut positions or stands to be taken. Group discussion is a continuous discussion, a live interaction in which you examine a subject or problem from different angles and viewpoints. And as a participant you may disagree with or support other points of view or bring in another point of view.
But you should do it by showing respect for the other person even if you do not accept his/her point of view as correct. Courtesy in discussion indicates our level of culture and sophistication. Here are the guidelines for all GD participants:
1. How to join in the discussion
- I’d like to raise the subject of………….
- What I think is……………
- I think it is important to consider the question of……
- I could say a word about………
- May I make a point about…………
2. To support what some other participant has said
Remember that you should not say that you support so and so or I agree with him/her. You should support the views of the person not the person
- I’d like to support Miss Natasha’s point of view about ….
- That is just what I also think……………
- I agree fully with what Mr Richard has just said. I am in complete agreement with fee slashing.
3. To support disagreement
Again remember that you are opposed to the idea, and not the person who holds it. You can disagree by using polite expressions, instead of curt expressions such as “You are wrong”, you can say
- Please allow me to differ……
- I would like to differ……………
- I think differently on this issue……
- I do not agree; in my opinion…………
4. To make a point very strongly
- I am convinced that……….
- You can’t deny that……………
- Anybody can see that………………..
- It is quite clear to me that………
5. To bring a discussion back to the point
- That’s very interesting, but I don’t think it is indeed to the point.
- Perhaps, we could go back to the point.
- Could we stick to the subject, please?
- I am afraid we are drifting from the point.