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It is the divine decision that nature has made to give the faculty of speaking to us. What we speak and what we intend is altogether our prerogative.

Nature or the non-humans never interfere in that process. And we, the ignorant social beings, have fallen into a trap of pseudo-intellectuality.

We try our best to make a point even though we are not on the right frequency at all times. It has been observed that we are not weak at thinking or speaking. We are very much skilled to put forward what we have in mind and heart. Expressiveness is not a problem anymore. But where do we fail then? We fail at 'Interactions', 'Negotiations' 'Participation', 'team Work', and 'Discussions'. We fail at 'Listening'! Initially, GD was meant for the selection of Sales Representatives in the Pharmaceutical industry. However, the large number of 'eligible and aspiring' job seekers has made GD an integral part of all professional jobs. We know that it is not that easy to know someone in an hour, Human Resource teams opt for such tools to take 'insights' into the mind of the candidates. It helps then in doing an easy scrutiny as well. ©EklavyaParv

Group Discussion is one activity that encompasses all the above activities of interaction to teamwork. It is an integral part of the contemporary selection process in employment. We consider the competition of getting a job as life these days. So, let us learn the life-skill then. I wish to reinstate one thing here, Group Discussion to me is 'Collective Effort for Collective Knowledge'. And beyond this definition or understanding, I do not see any other interpretation of GD.

A presentation-highlighting the importance of Group Discussion and sharing the 'Aspects' for which we are analysed- is shared here. Do remember that Group Discussion is not just a skill to be mastered for a single day when the placement session takes place, it is far more important for life as well.

The Observer wants to know whether you have the following 'skills and approaches' in you:

  1. Listening: The 'forgotten' art is the first thing that we need to take into possession. We all believe that we listen-but seldom we see the truth. It starts with our urge to complete the sentences of our dear ones. We believe that what we are predicting is the right version of 'what they were about to speak'. We need to allow people to speak and express their thoughts. However, keeping in mind that Group Discussion during placement sessions is not a charity drive, we need to be ready to grab the spark and ride the discussion wagon. ©EklavyaParv

  2. Independent Thinking: The least, in fact, the first, we want someone to have in a job is 'Independent Thinking'. This does not mean that one can feel free from everything and can speak like a dictator. As the definition suggests, it is a collective effort by a group of 'like-minded' people. It is expected that the ideas, thoughts, and information shared belong to their intellect-cum-intelligence. A participant needs to showcase that the point of view is his possession and the thinking shared is not 'blindly derived' from some source. ©EklavyaParv The cliché of ideologies must be used as a weapon. We need to improvise on the spot and should feel comfortable to modify our previously said argument (argument means statement here, not the fired bullet). Such modification comes when we feel someone else has made a valid point.

  3. Awareness: Do I know what is going on around me? If I believe that 'around me' implies my neighbourhood or my workplace, then I am going far away from the requirement of being 'aware. Awareness in GD is a well sought after aspect. When the subject is given or it is taken in hand by the group itself, the discussion stays alive on the basis of awareness alone. We speak and get corrected by other participants just because they are aware of the current scenario in that matter. When we start talking of the global or even local issues, we can make sense only through awareness. Awareness is directly derived from the plant of staying active in observation. The employer tries to get a glimpse of your 'up-to-date' knowledge.

  4. Team Work Approach: Team Work is working with the team. In the GD, your team is the group of people you are sitting with. Teamwork demands collaboration, not confrontation and therefore, the minimum you argue, the better it is. I wish to underline that we, out of our lack of sensibility, do believe that even teamwork requires aggressive participation. Remember that 'divide we sank together we stand'. Allow others to speak and keep sharing the spark as we do in a relay race where it is pre-determined that we are a team. Try to wash out the belief that job can be gained only by running alone. We are 'social machines' and need not behave as individual islands.

  5. Leadership Skills: Leader is the one who guides all. Guiding here does not mean that the one who walks ahead in the leader. In group discussion activity, starting the GD will not make you a leader. It does project you as the initiator of the discussion who has the basic introduction, awareness, and features to share. If you go inactive and fail to add real content later, you end up with a failure. The leader is the person whose words are understood and other participants get the motivation to add to what is being said. To create participation and to moderate the discussion without declaring that you are intending to do so, is what is right.

    There are four Characters in a Group Discussion: Saint (Who wants to tell everyone that the world is futile and we need to allow each other to speak one by one...OM!)- Professor (I know everything and none can stop me from giving the ProfessorPedia sermon; I can not stop from speaking, Oh!)- Butcher (I do not have anything to gain and I care a damn about this, I enjoy disturbing everyone by telling them that they are absolutely wrong)- and YOU (The one who deliberates with a purpose, either to resolve, expand knowledge, share experience or develop a plan; you allow others to speak when you have spoken the most required 15-16 sentences; you feel confident of modifying and correcting your views; you use 'Protocol Statements' to interrupt, not to disturb, and You believe that even if the topic is not your forte, you can still understand it by listening to others and can speak then.)

  6. Reasoning-Rationality: Make Sense! Do not beat around the bush in order to grab the lead. What you say is what they evaluate. You should not start making sentences only to show that you are speaking. Share your thoughts at the right time and reinforce them when they are required to be said. Do not shout in order to prove that you are right. Reasoning and Rationality are asked for when you make any statement.

  7. Understanding: On two levels you need this aspect, first to understand the content shared by others and second when you are speaking something. It is a two away process. Your awareness and listening help you in understanding. In a discussion that lasts for 15-20 minutes, one needs to retain the statements so that these can be referred to again. Develop rapport with the fellow participants as without this understanding, you can not feel safe. This insecurity, most often, leads to irrational interruptions by us.
  8. Respect (to fellow participants): Respect everyone as an individual. The observer shall be looking at your social skills as well. How much respect you give to other participants and how much appreciation you bless them with; all this is taken into account. Respect is required to be shown through 'Protocol Statements' the way you address them (Salutations, we generally do not use names; use dear friend, fellow participant etc.).

  9. Credibility and Consistency in Expressions: The observer needs an assurance that you have the capability to stay on what you do and what you say. This does not mean that you can not modify or correct yourself. My version of Credibility does not include 'robotic truthfulness'. I do believe in being loyal, but first to self and to surroundings. For a human being, especially the educated and intellectual ones, Credibility means 'rational loyalty'. It means that I shall be 'adapting to situations and will give reasonable consideration' to valid statements. Hence, it will enable me to be more humane- more participative and skilled too. Consistency means I stick (not to what I had said in the beginning) to being 'Rationally Aware'. Credibility and Consistency are less about the self and more about others in GD. You become more credible if the observer sees that you are ready to adapt to a situation that has asked for it.

Group Discussion is not Debate. This is a major difference I see between them. 


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About the Author
Author: Parveen Sharma Website:
'You Create Yourself' is the belief that drives the EklavyaParv! It is a Life Long Learning Mission with firm belief in the trilogy of Enhance-Empower-Encourage. We share learning contents on Communication Skills, EdTech, Life Skills, Blended & Innovative Learning and Insights about Education. Parveen is an EdTech Evangelist and has been working in the field of Innovation-driven Education for more than a decade. He writes and delivers training on EduSoMedia, E-Learning, OERs, MOOCs, EdTech, ICT, Blended and Flipped Learning, Academic Intervention, Classroom Makeover, Employability Enhancement, EdTech and Teacher-Student Learning. EklavyaParv is the celebration of his belief in the Learning Spirit of Mankind! Currently he is working at Amity University in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.