How to perform well in group discussions?
Whether it's job interviews or college admissions, group discussion is an important part of the process. It is an elimination round, to be precise, and considered one of the most important rounds. Group usually consists of 10-12 candidates who come together and express their views on any given topic. This helps the moderator in deciding suitable candidates for their college or firm. A Group discussion is conducted for various reasons. From judging how well you are aware of your surroundings to your character analysis as well as your English communication skills. It tells how good you are as a team player, your attitude towards others, how confident you are while speaking with groups, how easily you can explain your views, and also how much sense you make while speaking.
In a group discussion, divergent thinking is critical. Being divergent is the ability to create multiple practical solutions to a problem. Group discussions are important for both the employer/college and the candidate. When you prepare for group discussion, you become well informed and use better English speaking skills. It helps you in improving your communication, thinking, and listening skills. All of which is important to do well in a group discussion.
Here are some ways you can prepare well for a group discussion:
Consume smart data:
Any preparation comes with updating yourself with smart data and information. Consuming smart information, facts and figures will help you to speak with confidence.
- Prepare for topics like current affairs, history, politics, art & literature.
- Familiarize yourself with the statistics of your country.
- Improve your spoken English skills. You can take help from online English speaking courses like Speechify which offer one on one online English classes.
Some of the YouTube channels provide interesting information and make it easy to remember interesting information. Some examples are
- Real Life Lore
- Crash Course
- Ted Ed
- Its History
- The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows for literature
- Pulitzer center for real news
Make sure you make good use of smart information available online and use it to your advantage during group discussions.
Start first, only if you know what you are talking about
You must have heard that people who speak first in group discussions have an advantage. Honestly, if you are initiating the group discussion, you better be armed with a coherent opinion as you will be the focal point. The topic should be clear. Your ideas should be relevant. Your English communication and speaking skills need to be on point. Shouting rubbish has no advantage here. So, only if you feel comfortable with the topic, break the ice, and speak first.
Prepare starter sentences
There are some standard sentences that you can use to start your speech. These will help you in getting into the discussions easily. Some of these sentences are as follows:
- "in my opinion"
- "I believe"
- "in today's world"
- "let me start with"
- ''I second you on that"
- "From my point of view"
- "I strongly agree with you"
- "I couldn't agree more"
Use a notepad
Always keep a notepad handy so that you can jot down not only your views but also the name of other participants. Make sure to note down the names of your fellow candidates. If you address somebody by their name, they are more likely to listen to you.
Never be aggressive, be assertive. Just be confident while stating your opinion. It doesn't matter how others are reacting to your views because that's where you can steer the discussion to your advantage. Nobody wants to hire an aggressive person, shouting at people. Being assertive is ensuring positive body language and addressing your views with clarity.
Check out this video on how to be assertive.
Spot the pause
A group discussion is usually a place of chaos and confusion. You might be ready to speak but not get a chance. In the discourse, when everybody goes silent just for a short moment. That's your cue. Get hold of this short breathing space and share your views.
If you want to counter somebody's opinion, you should do it with accurate facts and quote the source. Be emphatic as that would bring out your personality. It should be persuasive for the listener and not a chaotic argument. Always try starting your rebuttals with polite sentences, so that the fellow participants support you instead of speaking against you.
Accept smart opinions
Many candidates feel that it is important for them to show their domination over the whole group, thinking that it's a great leadership quality. But that's a mistake. Do not dominate the group discussion. Instead, acknowledge and accept others' opinions which are smart and relevant. At the same time, state your views emphatically and find a middle ground.
Don't be shy
Speaking in a group is a challenging and intimidating task for many. The feeling of facing everybody and expressing their views is chilling for some. In such cases, you should make your group beforehand and practice. Update yourself with the correct information. The only way to overcome your shyness is to practice with your family, friends, or taking help from professional English tutors before the actual group discussion. Read more informative content and try to remember interesting data. You will get confident when you use this data to make your opinion factual and stronger during discussions. Don't be shy to speak up and tell yourself that you prepared well for it.
Give others a chance
A group discussion is not just about an individuals' viewpoint. It's about a group of people having different opinions and how well you can manage with differences in opinions. If you find yourself speaking too much, give others a chance to speak by addressing them. That will show the sign of a good team player who wants to listen to what others think in a team. This is also a sign of good leadership.
There are situations and topics which you might not be aware of. In such cases, you might get nervous if you should speak or not. The easiest way is to observe what others are saying and take note of it. You can summarize the discussion at the end and give the discussion a logical conclusion.
To perform well in a group discussion, you need to be open to others' opinions and able to express your point of view without being aggressive. Your interpersonal skills hold the topmost position here. Use easy and simple English phrases to communicate. Be a good listener while others are speaking. A team player is what everyone looks for.