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8 skills required for a Group Discussion

A Group discussion is included in a selection process to gauge a few predetermined characteristics. Two very important skills required for a Group Discussion that are gauged by this process are – communication skills and listening skills. Other parameters may include reasoning skills, leadership skills, initiation, assertiveness, flexibility, awareness etc.

While one is interacting in a GD, one’s interactive skill is paid attention to. The moderator or observer pays attention to how one behaves with other group members and monitor the skills required for a group discussion. This includes stating ones point and listening to others’ points as well. How a person communicates with others and what is his/her behavior towards others is very important.

Let us deal with the skills required for a group discussion one at a time:-

Communication skill – How do you communicate your viewpoint to others? While judging this, not only is the verbal interaction taken into consideration, but the non-verbal cues are also paid attention to. The verbal part displays the clarity of thought of a person, and whether the same is communicated to others. Aptness of language is also judged through verbal communication. The non-verbal part includes ones expressions and body language. Many a times individuals get angry if they do not get a chance to speak or if their viewpoint is not agreed upon. One should remember that a GD is not a debate, but merely a discussion. So, one should not display anger by shouting, thumping the desk or any similar act. Also, each person’s viewpoint matters, and thus should be paid attention to

Listening skill – The ability of a person to listen to others is very important in a GD. So, one should try to avoid interrupting others. Also, one should maintain eye contact with the speaker to demonstrate that one is listening. This also help in getting cues about when is the speaker going to stop. This is the chance to start making a point. This initiated statement, if related to the previous speakers point, catches the attention of the moderator. This is because agreeing, disagreeing or elaborating on the previous speakers’ point ensures that one had been paying attention to what others said. Speaking without listening to others makes a person a bad team player and thus such a person is difficult to work with. While summarizing also, a person who takes into consideration everybody’s opinion, gets brownie points.

Reasoning skills – One has to speak relevant to the topic. In the short span of a GD, if a person can analyze the topic or what others have spoken and paraphrase the same, then it indicates that a person’s reasoning skills are good. To do this, every opinion and especially the topic has to be paid attention to.

Leadership skills – A person, who is able to manoeuvre the flow of the discussion, is named the leader. A leader also encourages opinions from all the members. She/he should be able to motivate the other members to follow him in the discussion.

Initiation – Initiative taken by a person shows his/her inclination to do work. A person who initiates the GD can make a favorable first impression by making a valid point. But, if an initiator does not do his job well (stutter or quote wrong fact or figure) then the damage done can be irreparable.

Assertiveness – A person should make his point in a convincing manner so that others buy his point.

Flexibility – Many speakers just stick to their argument and dismiss others’ opinions. In order to work in a group, a person should be flexible. Moreover, a group discussion is done to elicit the best course of action. Therefore, if someone makes a better point than another, the other person should be flexible enough to accept it.

Awareness – A GD also demonstrates the awareness of individuals. Reading is required to enhance awareness and make a good impression.