MU-OER Project Soft Skills- Index/Group Discussion Techniques II

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SLMtitle.png Group Dynamics

Group Interaction

For the group discussion to be fruitful,one needs to plan it and conduct it well. When a professional or selection GD begins, the topic is announced, the time allotted to the group is informed and guidelines and rules are explained, the group is left free to carry out the discussion. Since there is no official leader, a natural leader needs to take over and begin the GD. This leader has to co-ordinate the group for the smooth procedure during the discussion. The leader has a major role to play in maintaining a cordial atmosphere.All the members need to show mutual respect ,maintain a friendly atmosphere and carry out the GD with the decorum. The success of the GD will depend on the logical presentation of ideas by each participant. The subject knowledge and analytical ability are the most essential criteria of individual presentation. The theme of the discussion and the focus has to be maintained by each contributor.In this process the role of the leader is once again underlined.It is the duty of the leader to see to it that each member gets an opportunity to present and no member monopolises the discussion. Members who do not speak can be identified and encouraged to speak. Any situation leading to conflict needs to be controlled. The leader must emphasise the points of agreement in order to indicate a common viewpoint regarding the topic.The leader may summarise the points and thus keep the discussion on the right track.

Performance by Individual Member

The group interaction is an important aspect of the GD. However the individual performance is important as well wherein each member expresses his/her views. After the topic is allotted to the group, the member has to give a thought to it, analyze the topic and decide upon the point of view. The first speaker introduces the topic and the rest of the members would speak taking into cognizance the point raised by the earlier members. Since the topics in the GD are given on the spot, the candidate’s performance depends a lot on prior subject knowledge, background etc. It is essential to consider different aspects of the problem and decide upon the personal viewpoint. The topic of the GD Could be a one-sentence opinion, a ‘problem’ or an ‘issue’ or it could be a real problem situation offered as a ‘case-study’ to the candidate. While The opinion topics are handled, it requires the participant’s interpretation of the opinion and then justify the position taken by him/her. A logical presentation of the views is required for convincing the group. In the GDs with problem-topics, understanding the nature of the problem is important. This is followed by individual interpretation. Depending on the nature of problem, a participant may begin with interpretation of the problem or the personal viewpoint. As far as possible, the arguments should be supplied with sufficient data. In a GD, the participant is expected to present his/her viewpoint in a concise manner. Personal opinion and fresh approach towards the GD topic is appreciated the most. Also, as discussed earlier, connecting with the other group members and a polite expression is appreciated.

In the GD, one can not anticipate the group behavior as well as factors like the kind of evaluators ,the setting etc. During a GD , a participant can give his/ her opinions in a strong or neutral manner or appeal to other participants to express their views. In a GD it is important that the participant tries to look at both sides of the problem. Also the agreement or disagreement may clearly indicate the degree of the respective feeling. Thus, for an impressive performance in the GD, one needs to learn these communication skills.

        Opinion based Topics:
   (a) Social issues (Example: Capital punishment helps to control the behavior of the criminals.) 
   (b) Economic conditions (Example: The causes of recession include the lopsided specializations in certain fields.) 
   (c) Moral issues (Example: Human cloning should be banned)
   (d) Political concepts (Example: Parliamentary democracy has failed ) 
   (e) Ongoing issues and debates in society (Example: Live-in-relationships can replace the institution of marriage)
   (f) General topics: Reality shows: How far real? 

      Problem or issue-based topics:
           Has the American war against Iraq helped Iraqis?
           Poverty is inevitable in a  country with a high population.

SLMtitle.png Things to Remember

Myths about GD

1.You should be aggressive

2.You should speak more.

3.You should speak in favour.

4.You should cut down your opponents.

5.You should Make Others Agree To Your Point

6.You should be an individual Speaker.

7.You should project yourself in style.

These seven blocks need to be discarded while participating in the GD.

Do's And Don'ts of a Group Discussion

Do's of a Group Discussion:

• Initiate the GD if confident about the content.

• If not,listen to others and then make your point.

• Consider both sides of the topic.

• Be concise in your expression.

• If the group is losing the track, intervene, as a leader.

• Maintain your composure even when you disagree.

• Connect to the group whenever you speak.

• Thank the listeners when you end the presentation.

Don’ts of a Group Discussion:

• Do not initiate if not thorough with the topic.

• Do not lose the track while presenting the topic.

• Do not interrupt other speakers.

• Avoid discrepancy in your expression.

• Do not end abruptly.

• Do not get nervous if others perform better.

• Do not become emotional.

MU KEY.jpg Key Terms

Icon activity.jpg

Extension exercise

students may be given a topic for GD and asked to make a list of different ways of expressing opinions- strong,neutral and tentative opinions and discuss the impact.(Time allotted-20 minutes

SLMref.png References and Bibliography

Technical Communication, Ashraf and Rizvi,Tata McGrill Publishing Company Limited,New Delhi,2005

Group discussion For Admissions and Jobs,Ganguly Anand, Pustak Mahal,New Delhi,

Group Discussion