Somebody rightly said that the aim of a group discussion is not to win the argument but to veer the discussion towards a solution. Group Discussions teach you skills that help you talk well in a group. You need to speak well to get a job and to progress in life. ## **WHAT IS GROUP DISCUSSION?** A Group Discussion is when four or more people talk together on a common topic. In a group discussion, you have to listen to others’ viewpoints, as well as present your point of view. The art of presenting your thoughts in a structured manner so that you can present or steer the discussion in the direction you want it to go is what group discussion is all about. Take the example of students who have to prepare for a group discussion round as part of a job interview. Before an interview, companies put candidates through a group discussion to eliminate or filter out some of the candidates. Companies know that in an interview, candidates can be ‘artificial’ and may not portray their real selves. But in a group discussion, your true behaviour and mannerisms surface. Your natural and true self reveals itself. #### **1. Topic:** Every participant has the same topic, but everyone’s thoughts on it are different. In a group discussion, you learn to present your views in the right manner. As a candidate, you must be aware of: - Way you are speaking - Listening to others - Understanding others - Discussing the solution (for the topic that you are discussing with others) #### **2. Etiquette:** During the group discussion, you must be aware of the way you conduct yourself in the group discussion (GD). There is a right and wrong way to do this, so learn the right way. Keep the following in mind: - ==**Speak less, but be relevant:**== You may not have much to say, but you must speak. - ==**Language Style:**== Have both patience and control as you speak. #### **3. Body Language:** Your body language should not convey that you are not interested in the discussion if what is being discussed is not what you want to hear. Try to take the lead during the GD. This will show your self-confidence. Speak with knowledge and people will listen. Neither should you suppress someone else’s views. The aim of the GD is that everyone speaks and puts across their views. #### **4. Preparation:** This is very important and needs hard work. You have to increase your knowledge base by reading the newspapers, listening to the news, and being aware of the opinions of people. You might have to make notes and analyse them. This is a great way to prepare yourself for a GD. #### **5**. **PREP Model:** This is like the proverbial supreme weapon or the arrow that will always hit its mark. If you follow this model, you will be able to shine and impress others. The PREP model stands for: - P = Preparation - R = Rehearsal - E = Execute - P= Post-mortem The last one is when you make an effort to find out how you fared by asking for the opinion of others. You can ask questions like was I too aggressive? was I speaking too fast? So, after preparing by increasing your knowledge base, you will rehearse in your mind and then do a practical demonstration in the execution phase. Then, finally, take feedback with an open mind. Don’t look upon it as criticism, but as an opportunity to improve. Resolve that after you have gone through this PREP model, you will speak and begin the GD. There are benefits to starting the GD. The examiner will notice you and take interest in what you are saying. The discussion is still not underway, so there is no disturbance from others. ## **HOW WILL YOU START THE GROUP DISCUSSION?** - Say thanks to GD’s evaluator for the topic. - Begin with an anecdote or story. - Use facts and other information to endorse what you are saying. This will guarantee that you benefit from the attention the evaluator will focus on you. ## **HOW GROUP DISCUSSION CAN HELP YOU IN A MEETING?** Entrepreneurs and working people can make use of the following skills used in a GD: - ==**Interactive talk:**== Interaction helps you to feel as if you are participating fully in the meeting. - ==**Present advice:**== You must present your thoughts so that everyone understands your viewpoint. - ==**Elaborate steps:**== You can elaborate on the steps to be taken. - ==**Take permission before speaking:**== Remember meetings have some rules that you must adhere to such as seeking permission of seniors before you speak. - ==**Talk without any hesitation**== - ==**Use the shock/un-shock technique:**== Use this strategy to bring people back to the discussion when you see that others’ attention is wandering. Tell them a story or joke or draw them into a small argument. It is a small shock treatment that will bring their attention back to what you are saying. ## **DO’S AND DON’TS OF A GROUP DISCUSSION** #### **Don’ts of Group Discussion:** 1. Don’t scream and shout and don’t interrupt others. 2. Don’t get emotional: If you do, other participants will see some of your anger, frustration, and sorrows. 3. Speak about what is relevant to the discussion. 4. Don’t show off: Be normal and never run anyone down. Respect others. #### **Do’s of Group Discussion:** 5. Show politeness. Even if you wish to be firm, be polite. 6. Listen carefully. 7. Compliment people for their contribution to the discussion. 8. Maintain eye contact with everyone in the meeting room. 9. Be open to ideas. 10. Be formally dressed. 11. Choice of words. This is important. Maintain etiquette and say, ‘I agree with what you are saying’, or ‘I disagree with what you are saying.’ Use phrases like ‘Thank You’ and ‘I am sorry you have used these words.’ 12. Don’t think about your previous meeting. Treat this new meeting as a new beginning and forget past incidents. ## **IMPORTANCE OF P-I-C-T-U-R-E** P-I-C-T-U-R-E is important. Here’s why: ==P = Pitch.== Keep note of your volume and your pitch as you speak. ==I = Inflection.== Your talk should be well-modulated with appropriate expressions. ==C = Courtesy.== Always be polite and mind your manners. ==T = Tone.== The sound of your voice should be normal, neither too loud nor too soft. ==U = Understandability.== Understand yourself and others. ==R = Rate of speech.== Speak neither fast nor too slow, so that all are comfortable. ==E = Enunciation.== This is the stress you place on certain words for effect. **One last tip:** Make notes before you go for a meeting, interview, or discussion. This will help you in thinking clearly.