8 Powerful Group Discussion Tips

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Do you get nervous while speaking during a Group Discussion? Do you get stuck? Does the thought of appearing in a group discussion freaks you out?

If you said “Yes!”, I am like you! I get nervous, too, while speaking or preparing for a group discussion. Even with the fear of public speaking, I have seen people who do extremely well and some even outperform the entire group regardless of their fear.

Now, the question is…

What is a Group Discussion?

According to Siva Sivani Institute of Management, group discussion is when a group of individuals gather at one place to share the ideas, solve problems or give comments. In simple terms, a group discussion is well known as GD.

Now that we know what a group discussion is, let’s understand why it is conducted by major organizations during the selection process.

Why is a group discussion conducted?

As per the interviewers and panelists, a group discussion is conducted to check the candidates’ interpersonal skills, critical thinking, attitude, team spirit, respect for the other candidates and their listening skills.

We now know what a Group Discussion is and why it is conducted. Now, let’s jump in to the 8 incredible tips that will help you become a better group discussion candidate.

Listen Attentively

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  • One of the most important skills that a candidate should have is active listening to the other candidates.
  • If you listen attentively, you will be able to understand their ideas and opinions on the subject and based on them, you can continue the discussion.
  • One of the biggest mistake that you can make here is to continue speaking without listening to others. I frequently observe people interrupting others. This will create confusion and you appear to be dominating.
  • Active listening is crucial during the group discussion and it helps if you are unaware of the topic. Listening to others speak will get an idea of the topic and you can pick up the discussion. (I have done this a few times)
  • The aim of a Group Discussion is to find a leader. The best quality of an ideal leader is that she/he listens attentively to their team and then provides their valuable opinion.

(2) Clarity Of Thought

Clarity Of Thought

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  • It is key to have a clear thought process during a group discussion. If you are discussing on a topic of which you have abundant knowledge, you may be propelled to share everything. That will lengthen the discussion and prevent others from sharing their ideas and opinions.
  • Clarity of thought is knowing what exactly to speak as per the context. If you know more than others, listen to them to catch the “mood” of the discussion. If they are talking about the benefits, stick to that and share only the benefits and avoid talking about the drawbacks.

(3) Tone

Tone

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  • Another vital aspect is the tone of your voice. Don’t speak too loudly or too softly. You might not want to sound as if you’re arguing and talking condescendingly. On the other hand, people may not be able to hear you.
  • Speak in a tone that is friendly and lively with proper articulation to keep the audience engaged. Pay attention on voice modulation, diction and pronunciation.

(4) Language Proficiency

Language Proficiency

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  • The panelist(s) will pay close attention to how smoothly you are able to express your ideas.
  • It is key that you speak at a pace of 140 to 160 words per minute and keep your sentences short.
  • Use simple words and avoid using extravagant phrases, idioms and words.
  • User of slangs and informal language are to be avoided. You will be speaking in a formal environment, hence, use words and terms that are suitable for a professional setting.
  • A vital factor while you speak is grammar! Your sentences should be correct grammatically, should follow the subject + verb + object structure and must include proper vocabulary. Keep your ideas clear, precise and relevant to the topic.

(5) Stick to the Topic

Stick to the Topic

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  • Do you know what’s worse than not speaking at all? – It is speaking of something unrelated to the subject. When you speak, aim to stick to the topic and your ideas must revolve around the subject.
  • For instance, if you are discussing about computers, don’t say how they are affecting jobs. Stick to the topic and discuss about their features, advantages, etc.
  • You can, however, describe how they are impacting lives without going to deep into the details of the impact.
  • If you observe that someone is drifting off the topic, bring the discussion back by saying “Coming back to the topic…” This is a crucial part of being a leader, not letting your team drive away from the subject.

(6) It’s Not An Argument

8 Powerful Group Discussion Tips

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  • The last thing you would want in a group discussion is to watch it turn into a heated debate. If you disagree with someone, don’t oppose their statement bluntly and directly.
  • Instead of saying, “I disagree!”, saying something like “I would like to add” is more appropriate. In addition to it, keep the tone of your voice polite and disagree gracefully. You do not want to appear repulsive and unfriendly.
  • Respect others’ opinions and ideas and aim to have a positive impact on the candidates.

(7) Body Language

Body Language

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  • Along with the verbal aspect, non-verbal communication is very important. Keep an open posture, do not fold your arms, smile, maintain a gentle eye contact, etc.
  • The panel will closely observe the non-verbal cues such as nervousness, tone of voice, body language, frustration, confidence, etc.
  • If you tick all the boxes of an ideal and confident candidate, the panel will have the candidate they came looking for.

(8) Leadership Skills

Leadership Skills

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  • I purposely kept the most important skill for the last! 😛 The purpose of a group discussion is to find a leader. An ideal leader encourages team members to participate on the discussion, has a positive impact on the team and guides others to solve their problems.
  • If you spot someone who is not participating and is a silent spectator, you can encourage them to speak without pointing them out.
  • You, as a leader, carry the discussion with your team and reach an agreement or find a solution that is accepted by everyone.
  • A leader values the opinions of others, hence, listen attentively to your team (the other candidates).
  • Do not dominate the discussion and speak in an amicable tone and let others share their insights.

If you are looking for topics for group discussion, please refer to the document by Group Discussion Ideas.

In addition to the topics, please watch this video from EngVid that demonstrates an ideal group discussion.

Conclusion

  • According to Siva Sivani Institute of Management, group discussion is when a group of individuals gather at one place to share the ideas, solve problems or give comments. In simple terms, a group discussion is well known as GD.
  • As per the interviewers and panellists, a group discussion is conducted to check the candidates’ interpersonal skills, critical thinking, attitude, team spirit, respect for the other candidates and their listening skills.
  • The 8 crucial tips for performing better in a group discussion are:
    1. Listen Attentively: One of the most important skills that a candidate should have is active listening to the other candidates. If you listen attentively, you will be able to understand their ideas and opinions on the subject and based on them, you can continue the discussion.
    2. Clarity of Thought: You should know what exactly to say when you are speaking. Try not to speak of irrelevant points.
    3. Tone: Speak in a friendly and a lively tone and do not be condescending.
    4. Language Proficiency: Be precise, keep your sentence short and use proper vocabulary. Use of slangs are to be avoided.
    5. Stick to the Topic: You must not share points that are irrelevant to the topic. The discussion should revolve around the subject.
    6. It’s Not An Argument: If you disagree with someone’s opinions, do not say “I disagree!” bluntly and directly. You can disagree gracefully by saying “I would like to add…”
    7. Body Language: Keep an open posture, maintain a gentle eye contact and smile.
    8. Leadership Skills: A good leader guides their team to an agreement or finds a solution to the problem with her/his team. Also, listen attentively to the candidates to know their ideas.

Happy learning!!!