Group discussions are like an open book test that can make or break your prospects. You will need skills to ace group discussions in every walk of life -- job, politics, education, family, and business.
A successful group discussion depends on the number of factors involved, starting with the topic to the composition of participants and finally how well they put forth their ideas.
Here are some essential points to remember while preparing for a group discussion or participating in one:
It is not a good idea to select a topic you know nothing about or interest you. Try to find out something new, exciting, and vital. After choosing the topic, discuss it with your team members to feel interested in discussing it further rather than forcing them to talk on any particular subject.
As we all know, anyone prepared beforehand performs better than the unprepared ones. If you prepare your points before attending any group discussion, it will benefit you. If you do not know much about your topic, try to explore it through the internet or some other sources to take advantage of this activity.
We all know that group discussion requires proper speaking skills and how well we can express our thoughts effectively. Generally, most people fear speaking nonsense during any public speaking event. There is nothing to bother about as long as you have done your research correctly and made a list of points with supporting facts. You need not worry as it will show your dedication to your topic.
Listening attentively implies that you concentrate on what the other person is saying and shows your respect for their opinions and experiences.
But avoid taking notes as much as possible. Else, it would be an irritating sight for others to see you taking notes and speaking simultaneously.
Sometimes, our feelings tempt us to jump in and start talking as soon as someone finishes making his point. However, it’s best to avoid interrupting. Instead, it is better that you wait for your turn to speak. It will allow everyone to express their thoughts and ideas thoroughly before the open house discussion continues.
Try to maintain an appropriate conversation length, making a group discussion more active and exciting for others. It always helps to answer any question in the minimum words possible. But it should not be too short that it sounds incomplete. Also, there should be a proper flow in your expression. Similarly, please do not make your conversations longer than required because people might lose interest and stop listening to what you are saying. It would also underscore a lack of interest on your part, which would lead to a loss of respect among them.
One of the biggest challenges in group discussion is keeping everyone on track. It means ensuring that the conversation stays focused on the topic at hand. If someone starts talking about something unrelated, politely steer them back to the original topic.
It is the most critical aspect of a group discussion. Participants need to gel well with each other and respect everyone’s opinion. The ideal team size is 4-5 members. A smaller group gives everyone enough time to talk, whereas a large team may not be able to do so, which would not be productive.
You need to have excellent time management skills, especially if you are running short of time. Some participants talk most of the time, and others wait for their turn. Make sure that you cover all your points within the given timescale by planning your speech. You should be mindful of giving equal time to each participant and still had enough time to summarize.
It is where everything comes together, i.e., how well you present yourself during the discussion will reflect on your presentation skills. People will judge your personality and intelligence even before you open your mouth. Body language, eye contact, confidence level, and fluency of speech are factors that play a role in classifying someone as an able group discussion participant.
Some people may try to dig out personal information during the discussion by asking questions like “What do you wish to achieve from this job?” or “What are your career goals?”. Do not let them dishearten you with their questioning skills. Just answer these questions with short sentences and take control back by firing up another question which will distract them effectively. For example, if they ask you what is lacking in your education system? Response: Lack of innovation and risk-taking.
It is the most important thing you need to maintain during a group discussion. Remain positive, be respectful of everyone’s opinion, and do not let yourself be provoked by others. Arguing with someone will only lead to more chaos, and it would be better if you stay quiet instead.
It is always advisable to participate in as many group discussions as possible to practice and develop your skills. Do not wait for someone to give you an opportunity; create one for yourself by reaching out to people. The more you participate, the better performer you will become.
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We all know that group discussions are inevitable in academic life and during the job search. Still, not many of us know how to excel in this team event, where each one is judged by their contribution, attitude, and ability to take the team along, rather than simply raising dissenting notes. You need to master skills around these factors to come out of a group discussion with flying colors. It will help if you read the career blogs at ExpediUSA to stay ahead in the game.