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In the last article, we discussed eight things that you should not do in a group discussion (GD). This week we look at tips that can help you in succeeding in the GD. Your soft skills definitely come into picture here. Here are some of the things that you can do to make a winning impression in your GD.
~ Read voraciously: Make a habit of reading voraciously on every subject. This will keep you ready for any topic for a discussion in GD. Your knowledge is your most important weapon in a discussion.
~ Initiate the discussion: Most of us have a misconception that initiating the discussion would give you an advantage over others. It does give you an advantage but only if you know the subject well and have something relevant to start the discussion otherwise it is a disadvantage.
For instance, when a group was given the subject "Is capital punishment right?" some members of the group heard the word punishment and jumped at starting the discussion with out understanding the meaning of capital punishment. The evaluators kept listening for two minutes after which they intervened and asked the group if they knew the meaning of capital punishment. The members who initiated were quiet, looking at each other's faces. That is when a silent member of the group got up and explained the meaning of the topic. From this, you can easily tell who must have succeeded in the GD, the ones who initiated the discussion or the one who explained the topic and gave it a right direction.
They say, "Speaking just for the sake of speaking is noise". So, don't create noise in the GD, instead make some useful and resourceful contributions to get noticed in the discussion.
~ Speak politely and pleasantly: As you speak make sure that you do not talk at the top of your voice. You should be audible and clear. Remember that you are participating in a discussion which is different from a speech given out by the leaders in their rallies. Even if you disagree with the other's point of view, disagree politely. Use phrases like, 'I would like to disagree a bit here' or 'I am sorry, but I think I have a slightly different point of view'.
~ Be precise: Abstain from using irrelevant information and data from your talks during a GD. Speak precisely so that others also get a chance to put across their point of view.
~ Acquire and apply knowledge: Stay attentive to the ideas put forward by other group members and keep writing the important points discussed during the GD. As you get a chance to speak, put forward your views about the topic. You can also agree or disagree with other's ideas, based on your knowledge about the subject.
~ Agree with the right: Don't take a stand on either extreme when the discussion begins. It might happen that you get convinced by other's argument and want to change your stand. Respect another's opinion as well and agree with what is right, even if you initially had a different opinion.
~ Speak confidently: Maintain your confidence as you speak. Establish eye contact with other members of the group and do not let your voice tremble.
~ Moderate: Try to moderate the discussion if any arguments arise. This is necessary to ensure that the group doesn't wander from the goal of the GD.
~ Use positive body language: Your body language should not demonstrate dominance or low self confidence. Show your interest in the discussion through your gestures like bending forward a bit, nodding your head.
~ Be a team player: Last but not the least, be a team player as this is a group activity. Be comfortable with the group members and vice versa.
The author is a contributor to www.CareerRide.com, a website that addresses technical and personal aspects of an IT interview. CareerRide also provides sample CVs and answers to questions asked in a personal and technical interview.
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