As the term itself suggests, a group discussion (GD) is a discussion, but most people misconstrue it to be a debate. They akin it to a wrestling match and try to score points over the other participants. Consequently, one finds a ‘market’ situation in most GDs. What is actually expected in a GD is participation in a systematic way, on a particular topic.
One should remember that a GD is a discussion and not a debate between the members of a group. Human beings enjoy debates, because one likes to win and see others lose. A debate is a perfect situation for expressing intense emotions. A GD, however, calls for a lot more maturity and logic.
The purpose of a GD, though conducted in a competitive mode, is not to establish one as a winner and others as losers. Its purpose is to help one come across as a person with sound, logical reasoning and the ability to respect another's viewpoint. A critical difference between a GD and a debate is that, while a debate begins with two groups’ bids to outwit each other, a discussion is evolutionary; this essentially means participants have the opportunity to refine their views in the course of the discussion. Thus, every member needs to contribute substantially and add to the existing knowledge base instead of pulling each other down.
The difference, thus, lies not just in style, but also in the mindset that is required to tackle either challenge. . .
Given here is a list of group discussion tips:
The recommended do's:
Speak pleasantly and politely to the group.
Respect the contribution of every speaker.
Remember that a discussion is not an argument. Learn to disagree politely.
Think about your contribution before speaking.
Try to stick to the discussion topic.
Be aware of your body language when speaking.
Agree with and acknowledge what is interesting.
The recommended don'ts:
Introduce irrelevant information.
Lose your temper. A discussion is not an argument.
Shout. Use a moderate tone and medium pitch.
Use too many gestures when speaking. Gestures like finger pointing and table thumping can appear aggressive.
Dominate the discussion. Confident speakers should allow quieter students a chance to contribute.
Draw too much on personal experience or anecdotes.
Interrupt. Wait for a speaker to finish what they are saying before speaking.
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