How to conduct a group discussion

Talk to any MBA aspirant or a job seeker, he can very well tell the importance of a Group Discussion also called GD. In the current scenario, group discussion has become an important selection criteria for the students aspiring to get into a good B School and all leading organizations have started depending on this process for the recruitment of new employees.

What is Group Discussion ?

A group discussion is simply a method instrumental in judging the team spirit, leadership qualities, out of the box thinking, and other managerial qualities in an individual. In a layman’s language, a group discussion is a discussion involving a group of around seven to eight participants.

How HR conducts the interview ?

The commonly asked questions to a job aspirant are:

  • Tell me something about yourself ?
  • Throw some light on your strengths and weaknesses
  • Why do you think our organization should hire you ?
  • Salary negotiations and joining date

All the above questions do tell us a lot about the individual’s intelligence, thought process, characteristics, family background, educational qualifications etc but fail to highlight some other important aspects of the individual’s personality essential to survive well in an organization.

Do you think an individual can work alone and produce results in an organization ?

The answer is No. Every individual works in a team and has to rely on his fellow workers for his easy working and better output. He has to be a good team player to make his mark in the ever challenging corporate world.

Through group discussions, the interviewer can evaluate how well an individual can perform in a team. He can very easily find out how well an individual can perform in teams, how good a leader he is and also his creative skills and intelligence quotient.

Every individual must learn the successful tips of group discussion to fair well in the interviews as well as the screening process of educational institutes.

Here are Some Tips for a Successful Group Discussion

The first and the foremost tip for an individual to perform well in a GD is to learn the art of participation. Don’t expect others to force you to speak. Take the initiative, participate in the discussion and share your ideas with others. Never shout in a group discussion and always wait for your turn to speak. Remember it’s a discussion, not a fighting ground. Be polite but firm.

Try to take the initiative. Don’t wait for the others to start the discussion. Always volunteer yourself and start the discussions in an extremely confident manner. Introduce yourself and your team members and then start with the topic but one thing to remember here is that one must initiate the Group Discussion only when he or she is well versed with the topic. Don’t take the risk if you yourself are not very clear about your thoughts.

A leader is the one who actually gives the group discussion a direction and guides other team members when they seem to be lost or confused. Like a true leader, an individual must try his level best to refrain from personal favours. Don’t only ask your acquaintance to speak, give equal opportunity to other participants as well. As the leader of the group, he must ensure that the discussion does not end up in fighting and reaches a conclusion.

One must speak only if he is well prepared with the topic. Don’t just speak for the sake of points or marks; speak only when you are absolutely sure about what you are speaking. Never depend on guess works in group discussions as it sometimes can seriously go against you. Avoid using slangs or crack jokes in between the discussions as it is considered highly unprofessional.

Never be rigid in group discussions. Always keep in mind that the other person is also as learned as you. Always listen to what he is saying and then only respond. Be a good and a patient listener. Don’t just simply draw conclusions as there is always a room for discussions. Debate logically and sensibly and try to take everyone along with you.

Read a lot and always keep your eyes and ears open. Always begin your day with the newspaper and know what is happening around you. An individual must be aware of the current events to succeed well in a group discussion.

Be alert always. A participant usually gets around 15 minutes to think about the topic. You need to think fast and cover as much as you can. Always take care of your words. The content has to be sensible, crisp and well supported with examples or real life situations. Don’t adopt a laidback attitude or yawn in between group discussions.

Take care of your dressing as well. Don’t wear flashy clothes while going for a group discussion or interview. Female candidates should also avoid cakey makeup or flaunt heavy jewellery. The clattering sounds of bangles sometimes act as a disturbing element in formal discussions. Be in professional attire and avoid loud colours.

An individual must keep in his mind that group discussion is meant for bringing out the managerial skills of an individual. The organizer of the group discussion will never appreciate you or give you the credit if you shout or fight in group discussions. Be calm, composed, confident and neutral to create an impression in the discussion and win over others.

Talk to any MBA aspirant or a job seeker, he can very well tell the importance of a Group Discussion also called GD. In the current scenario, group discussion has become an important selection criteria for the students aspiring to get into a good B School and all leading organizations have started depending on this process for the recruitment of new employees.

What is Group Discussion ?

A group discussion is simply a method instrumental in judging the team spirit, leadership qualities, out of the box thinking, and other managerial qualities in an individual. In a layman’s language, a group discussion is a discussion involving a group of around seven to eight participants.

How HR conducts the interview ?

The commonly asked questions to a job aspirant are:

  • Tell me something about yourself ?
  • Throw some light on your strengths and weaknesses
  • Why do you think our organization should hire you ?
  • Salary negotiations and joining date

All the above questions do tell us a lot about the individual’s intelligence, thought process, characteristics, family background, educational qualifications etc but fail to highlight some other important aspects of the individual’s personality essential to survive well in an organization.

Do you think an individual can work alone and produce results in an organization ?

The answer is No. Every individual works in a team and has to rely on his fellow workers for his easy working and better output. He has to be a good team player to make his mark in the ever challenging corporate world.

Through group discussions, the interviewer can evaluate how well an individual can perform in a team. He can very easily find out how well an individual can perform in teams, how good a leader he is and also his creative skills and intelligence quotient.

Every individual must learn the successful tips of group discussion to fair well in the interviews as well as the screening process of educational institutes.

Here are Some Tips for a Successful Group Discussion

The first and the foremost tip for an individual to perform well in a GD is to learn the art of participation. Don’t expect others to force you to speak. Take the initiative, participate in the discussion and share your ideas with others. Never shout in a group discussion and always wait for your turn to speak. Remember it’s a discussion, not a fighting ground. Be polite but firm.

Try to take the initiative. Don’t wait for the others to start the discussion. Always volunteer yourself and start the discussions in an extremely confident manner. Introduce yourself and your team members and then start with the topic but one thing to remember here is that one must initiate the Group Discussion only when he or she is well versed with the topic. Don’t take the risk if you yourself are not very clear about your thoughts.

A leader is the one who actually gives the group discussion a direction and guides other team members when they seem to be lost or confused. Like a true leader, an individual must try his level best to refrain from personal favours. Don’t only ask your acquaintance to speak, give equal opportunity to other participants as well. As the leader of the group, he must ensure that the discussion does not end up in fighting and reaches a conclusion.

One must speak only if he is well prepared with the topic. Don’t just speak for the sake of points or marks; speak only when you are absolutely sure about what you are speaking. Never depend on guess works in group discussions as it sometimes can seriously go against you. Avoid using slangs or crack jokes in between the discussions as it is considered highly unprofessional.

Never be rigid in group discussions. Always keep in mind that the other person is also as learned as you. Always listen to what he is saying and then only respond. Be a good and a patient listener. Don’t just simply draw conclusions as there is always a room for discussions. Debate logically and sensibly and try to take everyone along with you.

Read a lot and always keep your eyes and ears open. Always begin your day with the newspaper and know what is happening around you. An individual must be aware of the current events to succeed well in a group discussion.

Be alert always. A participant usually gets around 15 minutes to think about the topic. You need to think fast and cover as much as you can. Always take care of your words. The content has to be sensible, crisp and well supported with examples or real life situations. Don’t adopt a laidback attitude or yawn in between group discussions.

Take care of your dressing as well. Don’t wear flashy clothes while going for a group discussion or interview. Female candidates should also avoid cakey makeup or flaunt heavy jewellery. The clattering sounds of bangles sometimes act as a disturbing element in formal discussions. Be in professional attire and avoid loud colours.

An individual must keep in his mind that group discussion is meant for bringing out the managerial skills of an individual. The organizer of the group discussion will never appreciate you or give you the credit if you shout or fight in group discussions. Be calm, composed, confident and neutral to create an impression in the discussion and win over others.

How to conduct a group discussion

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A focus group discussion can uncover attitudes and assumptions people hold when choosing products or services, or challenge your own assumptions about issues or problems your own company may face. A focus group discussion also can build consensus among key personnel by providing a venue to voice questions and answers, facilitating the buy-in to an outcome by letting them act as part of the solution. Whether you hire a professional moderator or moderate the discussion yourself, following some basic steps can ensure a productive session for all participants.

Setting Venue

Develop a moderator guide, also referred to as a script. This term is misleading, as it’s really an outline of topics and questions to cover. Include a time stamp for each section to ensure adequate coverage of the topics; try to hold the entire session within two hours maximum, though most group discussions last from one to 1 1/2 hours.

Hold the group over a long lunch or early evening to ensure participation.

Search out and invite nine to 12 participants to ensure six to eight will actually attend. Look for participants with some commonality: similar in age or life stage, work in related industries or comparable education level. Also look for articulate people, who feel comfortable expressing their opinions. It helps if participants don’t know each other very well.

Conduct the discussion in a space with adequate ventilation and lighting, providing participants with comfortable seating and light refreshments, particularly if held over lunch.

Record the discussion with at least audio if not video recording, depending on whether visual aids are used in the discussion or if it’s particularly important to capture non-verbal cues from participants during the discussion.

Setting Ground Rules

Call the group to order and welcome participants. Introduce yourself and explain the basic rules of a small group discussion: one person speaks at a time rather than talking over one another; the moderator will actively look for everyone to participate, with no one person dominating the conversation; the session will be recorded to let the moderator focus on the flow of the group rather than trying to act as stenographer or memorizing everything that’s said; no one person’s comments will be singled out or tied back to that person at the end of the project.

Briefly cover the agenda: the purpose of the meeting, the general topic and ideally the specific questions to be answered or problems to be solved. Perhaps phrase the purpose like, “by the end of the discussion, we’d like to better understand how to…”

Ask for each person to briefly introduce themselves, perhaps focusing on their relationship to the discussion by way of the background, depending on the topic under study.

Leading Group

Open with a general topic question as a warm-up, sometimes a “what if” question or, in the case of an employee group, perhaps a general feeling about the company overall.

Allow time for respondents to open up, answer and interact. Prompt the discussion by asking other participants to respond to an initial answer to a question.

Follow up with the other questions on other topics. Ways to keep the discussion flowing include repeating the question, repeating or rephrasing an answer, playing “devil’s advocate” by taking an opposite view, asking others to respond to statements. Look for non-verbal cues from participants who may not be speaking up verbally to draw them out further.

Write comments down on a flip chart for people to read and refer to as the discussion moves forward; notepads and paper also may help participants form thoughts as the discussion continues.

Wrapping Up Discussion

Thank respondents for participating and usher them out.

Ensure the recording device worked.

Jot down any notes and observations, such as the general tone of the group or outstanding themes that arose in the course of the discussion.

Hold a quick “debriefing” discussion with any observers to gather thoughts or perceptions they made while monitoring the discussion. Incorporate these notes into the final report, as they can provide a framework to outline or aspects to highlight in the account.

Why is a Group Discussion Organized ?

In the previous article, we talked about what is group discussion, the basics and how is it different from a debate. In this article we are going to cover a number of subjects including why a Group discussion is being conducted, the areas of evaluation during a selection GD and some more points:

We all know that recruitment process nowadays is not a cake walk process. It is complex than it used to be in earlier times. Gone are those days, when only basis mark sheets and degree one used to grab a job. Now selection in a company or even in a management college depends on how you perform during your Group Discussion and Personal Interview.

While watching many reality shows, singing or dancing contests on television, we get to see that the judges evaluate the candidates’ skills, not only basis their singing or dancing skill, but an ‘x’ factor is also important. Now, what is this ‘X’ factor? This X factor is determined through the group discussions. Hence GD plays an important part in letting the recruiters know, identify and acknowledge your skills other than your educational degrees.

Group Discussion serves several purposes:

Breeding fresh ideas and taking inputs from a particular group

Perception of common people on a particular topic

Identify a solution to a specific problem or issue

Selecting candidates after their written test for hiring in a company

Selecting candidates for admission in an educational institute

The group discussion is a two-way helpful process. A candidate who goes through the process gains clarity of his/her own thoughts, views and opinion. He/She learns how to evolve thinking and come to a solution or conclusion for a certain topic. And on recruiter’s part, it is helpful as they evaluate a candidate’s soft skills through Group discussion.

This also allows people to walk around a concept in greater detail and learn the topic in depth. This practice is also being applied during campus interviews and selection process. A group discussion among students is being organized to see and evaluate their thinking skills, listening abilities and how they are communicating their thoughts. One should learn to control the conversation through listening attentively and then having the perseverance to mould it towards his/her own direction.

Benefits of Group Discussions

It is a good way to engage the participants in a fruitful discussion

Group discussion generates a creative thinking in all participants, something beyond the obvious answers and solution to a specific problem

Generate more ideas and a structured presentation of a topic

Improves analytical abilities to think on a particular given topic

Enables profound and in-depth understanding of the subject

Provides different approaches to a topic

Helps to come to a concluding point or at least near solution to a problem

Gives a chance to listen, know and understand diverse opinions on a particular matter

Improves confidence in public speaking platform

Can alter our perspectives as well

Areas of Evaluation in a Selection GD

Though a group discussion, many things for a particular candidate can be assessed, such as his/her mental capacity to think, his creative bent of mind, Analytical abilities, comprehending a subject and then speaking on it, awareness, attitude, and energy levels. Some of them are detailed below:

Understanding of the Subject: During a group discussion, it is being constantly assessed how deep your knowledge is about the chosen topic and how well you are aware of each aspect of that topic.

Assertiveness: You confidence shows up in a group discussion. It is assessed that how confident you are while putting up your opinion in front of other. Others may certainly vary or disagree to the point but how well and how confidently you bring your thoughts forward is what matters the most.

Team Work: While working in an organization or even during management studies, it is very important to work as a part of the team in a given project or any assignment. This skill is really important and it is evaluated through GD as well. You not only put your own points but also listen to others and then come to a concluding point. This shows how ready you are to listen to other’s opinion, give value to that and also at the same time stand by your own convictions.

Willingness to Take the Initiative: This skill plays a very important part in professional and personal life. Employers highly regard it. They want that you just do not stick to your own work but also should be able to take extra initiative whenever it is required. When you start a topic, you have to be very cautious so as to put the right point forward and give the entire discussion a right direction.

Listening Skills: This is again an important skill which gets evaluated during a group discussion. So, you should learn to listen not to reply back, but pay full attention to what the other person is trying to say. Generally, people get biased to their own thoughts and ideas and do not want to look beyond that. So listening to other person is also essential.

Adaptability: In today’s dynamic and ever-changing environment, it is essential to keep yourself flexible and adaptable toward the situation. During a group discussion, sometimes you need to agree to some point and also it happens that in due course some views change your mind as well. So being rigid and stubborn is not going to be very helpful

Leadership Qualities: Group discussion demonstrates clearly who amongst them is taking the lead and who is a passive contestant. A good leader gives the entire discussion a good direction and takes it forward whenever it is deviating from the main topic. But while taking the lead, one has to be double sure whether his / her points are valid or not, else it will give the other person a golden opportunity to snatch the lead away and negate his/her points.

Communication Skills: As communication is a medium of expressing your thought, it is more important in today’s interactive world. Hence communication skills are yet again important skills which are evaluated through a structured group discussion.

How to conduct a group discussion

How do you extract useful information from a group of people in connection with your research? One of the tools used is focus group discussion. Read on to find out how this is done.

If you engage in social research or study research methodologies, one of the common (sometimes abused) methods of data collection that you should be familiar with is focus group discussion or FGD. Aside from soliciting ideas that will help answer or narrow down your research topic, the output of the discussion verifies or confirms the results of surveys designed to answer research questions that you are interested in (see Triangulation).

What is focus group discussion, when do you use it and how should you conduct it? What good practices should be observed? This article provides answers to these questions.

Table of Contents

Definition of Focus Group Discussion

Sometimes, FGD is also called focus ed group discussion because the discussion focuses on questions that seek multi-stakeholder response. It may also refer to the ‘focus group,’ that is, those who are found relevant to take part in tackling the issues raised by the researcher.

Essentially, FGD is a discussion of issues and concerns between a selected group of four to eight people. It serves as a venue to confirm and verify the participants’ viewpoints and draw out their experiences so that they are able to build a consensus about the research topic. A well-trained moderator guides the progress of the discussion using a set of questions prepared by the researcher.

How are the Participants of FGD Selected?

The participants of the FGD are selected using a set of guidelines or criterion such that the participants are able to give useful or relevant information to meet the objectives of the study. This requires familiarity with the background of the participants. It is, therefore, common practice that managers, leaders of the community or those who have lived in the community for a while or someone familiar with the business of an organization are consulted before conducting an FGD.

For example, in a study on coastal resource use, if the issue relates to dynamite fishing in the coral reefs, the participants to look for include representatives from the groups of fishers, fish traders, former dynamite fishers, law enforcers, explosives suppliers, local policy makers, non-government organizations or associations, among others who have direct or indirect transactions in the community. Avoid bias in the selection of participants such as including only those who are accessible or favoring a certain political group.

Example FGD Questions

Examples of questions that relate to illegal fishing in the coral reefs that will serve as the focus of the FGD are the following:

  • What are the target fish species of the illegal fishers? How to conduct a group discussion
  • How do the illegal fishers get their explosives?
  • How much do the dynamite fishers earn from their activity?
  • Why do the dynamite fishers engage in this illegal activity despite prohibition?
  • What are the risks associated with dynamite fishing?
  • At what time of the day and how frequent do the dynamite fishers go out to fish?
  • Where are the dynamite fishers coming from?

Of course, the questions will ultimately depend on what information you would like to draw out from the participants. The FGD enables you to explore which variables you will include and focus the quantitative (if ever) part of your study.

You might want to relate fisher income with frequency of dynamite fishing. Or you might want to quantify the costs and benefits of dynamite fishing (taking the point of view of the fisher). The end justifies the means, so they say.

How to Conduct the FGD

The following are needed resources to conduct a focus group discussion.

Human resources

  1. A trained moderator or facilitator. The moderator may not necessarily be the researcher himself but someone familiar with the issues to be discussed. Hence, he should confer with researcher before conducting the FGD process. He should have a good background knowledge of the participants and must not involve himself in the discussion, such as arguing with the participants. His main role is to introduce and explain the questions, clarify issues raised, confirm responses, encourage expression of ideas, among other related functions. He summarizes the process at the end of the discussion.
  2. A note taker. The note taker records the progress of the FGD. He does not only list the oral expression of ideas of the participants but also their actuations or non-verbal expressions. He clarifies points once in while by getting the moderator’s attention on points that are not clear. He furnishes a copy of the transcripts to the participants as a matter of transparency.

The quality of information gathered through the FGD depends to a large extent on the skill and keenness of the moderator and the note taker. For best results, rapport between the researcher’s group and the participants should be made such that the participants will not inhibit themselves from freely expressing their ideas.

Materials

The following materials should be made available during the conduct of the FGD:

  1. Recording material. The standard note pad and pencil or pen must always be available. Although laptops, tablets, cameras, MPEG recorder, or How to conduct a group discussion anything electronic will work in an urban environment, a different situation exists in FGDs conducted in far-flung areas. Although these gadgets may be used to record data in the field, these are prone to many problems such as low batteries, broken during the trip, got submerged and damaged while wading a river, among others. If electronic data recording equipment is really desired, then these should be weather and/or shock resistant.
  2. Group memory. Group memory is something that the participants can refer to as the discussion takes place. The participants focus their attention towards this attention-getting list of questions and responses. This could be a set of Manila paper with pre-written questions, a whiteboard or blackboard, or a mini-projector if you may.
  3. Attendance sheet. If you do research for somebody (say as a consultant) or in compliance with your thesis requirement, you need this because it serves as evidence that you really did the FGD. This will also help you find your respondents if you will need to go back and clarify points.
  4. Global Positioning System (GPS). This will aid you in locating the place where you did the FGD. This is good information to those who would like to make a follow-up study in a similar place.

The information derived from the FGD, aside from fulfilling an academic requirement, is useful in policy making and management. It can lead to agreement on certain controversial issues and evaluation of program or project accomplishments in the target community.

Reference:

International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (1998). Participatory methods in community-based coastal resource management.

Featured Topics
  • Surveys vs Focus Group Discussion (FGD)
  • How to Conduct an Effective Focus Group Discussion?

Published 20 Jul 2021

Why Perform a Focus Group Discussion?

Unlike surveys and polls, focus groups discussions tend to capture deep and more personal responses from consumers rather than purely quantifiable data. Focus group discussions are facilitated by researchers and marketers and are ideally conducted in small groups consisting of 4 to 8 participants.. The researcher or interviewer poses questions to expose respondents to a more open discussion about their insights, motivations, reasons and preferences. This strategy can be used by market research teams and is best applied when conducting food taste surveys, product analysis, and service evaluation and reviews.

Understanding why consumers choose certain products or brands can be a challenge. However, focus groups are a handy tool to help companies explore this and similar questions. This article will explain how businesses can benefit from focus groups, provide tips on conducting effective discussions, help you know the right questions to ask, and recommend tools to capture significant research data.

Survey vs. Focus Group Discussion (FGD)?

If SURVEYS tell us that 78% of the middle aged women prefer drinking X milk, FOCUS GROUPS help us understand why 78% of the middle aged women prefer X milk above other milk brands.

Surveys capture quantitative data while focus groups explore qualitative and other influencing factors. Focus groups can be used to uncover the reasons driving people to make a certain decision. As in the example above, middle aged women may be attracted to drink milk X due to factors such as price and quality, or other factors like celebrity endorsement.

How to Conduct an Effective Focus Group Discussion?

Here are 4 ways to get started with your focus group discussion:

  1. Plan before you proceed.
    • Establish a specific goal – e.g. What is driving 78% of middle aged women to purchase milk X above other brands?
    • Conduct research beforehand – e.g. Evaluate milk X product, pricing, promotions, packaging, and competitive landscape.
  2. Find the right audience.
    • Who is our target audience? e.g. Middle aged women between 45 – 65 years of age in country Y who have previously purchased milk X.
    • How can we get a small focus group of 4 to 8 target participants? e.g. Online newsletters, telephone outreach, or ask participants outside a grocery store.
  3. Ask the essential questions.

Carefully choose questions which can prompt more meaningful conversations. Choose engaging and open-ended questions over simple “yes” or “no” close-ended questions.
Examples:

Ask open ended-questions – e.g. Why do you choose milk X over other brands?
Use probing questions – eg. When you think about the milk X product, what was the first thing that comes into your mind?
Use prompts and follow up questions – e.g. You mentioned that you like the packaging of milk X. What do you associate with the appearance of the packaging?

  • Listen and document it well.
    • Pay attention to highlights of the discussion – e.g. Listen out for motivations, biases, previous experiences, tone and also observe nonverbal cues.
    • Document it well – e.g. Use a mobile data-gathering tool like iAuditor to record the focus group discussion.
  • Conclusion

    Conducting focus groups can help uncover underlying motivating factors of consumer behavior. This arms businesses with qualitative data to improve and adapt their product and service offering. Browse these free digital focus group templates you can use to conduct your next focus group discussions.

    Take a look at our Focus Group Discussion Template

    Focus Group Templates

    Focus group templates are the go-to tools of research teams for collecting qualitative data derived from open discussions. These forms can help researchers understand consumer behavior for making certain decisions. Focus group moderators can use these templates to create more in-depth and meaningful conversations.

    SafetyCulture staff writer

    Erick Brent Francisco

    Erick Brent Francisco is a content writer and researcher for SafetyCulture since 2018. As a content specialist, he is interested in learning and sharing how technology can improve work processes and workplace safety. His experience in logistics, banking and financial services, and retail helps enrich the quality of information in his articles.

    Erick Brent Francisco is a content writer and researcher for SafetyCulture since 2018. As a content specialist, he is interested in learning and sharing how technology can improve work processes and workplace safety. His experience in logistics, banking and financial services, and retail helps enrich the quality of information in his articles.

    You are the HR manager at Infosys and you have been tasked with the responsibility of conducting a group discussion to filter out prospective candidates. Group Discussion is a time and tested way to evaluate a candidate’s communication skills, ability to handle pressure and fluency in English. It should be conducted in a proper way to maintain the professional atmosphere and in business English so that the selected candidate will be an asset to the organization. Read on to find six tips to conduct group discussions for interviews.

    6 Tips to conduct Group Discussions:

    1. Limited Members

    Group discussion members should be limited to 8-10 candidates. Anything more than that will risk the discussion to be a fish market. Limiting the members allows the candidate to have their voice heard with minimal din.

    2. Identify the purpose and goals

    State the purpose of the group discussion at the start of the discussion. This will allow the candidate to focus their mind on the topics at hand. Tell the candidates clearly, why they are in the room and what the purpose of conducting the group discussion is.

    For example, you can say:

    1. “Hello everyone, the purpose of this group discussion is to evaluate your communication skills”

    2. “Good Morning and welcome to Infosys Group Discussion. In this process, we will be marking you on your English proficiency and idea generation.”

    3. “The goal of this group discussion is to judge the candidate’s command over the English language and general awareness levels.”

    4. List out skills

    List out the skills that you are looking for in a candidate. It may include leadership skills, interpersonal skills, persuasion skills, problem solving skills etc. It is up to you to inform the candidates about the skills being tested or if you want to keep it to yourself. If you identify the key skill set needed beforehand, it will give clarity and perspective while evaluation.

    5. List out the rules

    List out the rules to be followed in group discussions before starting the process. This will ensure that the candidates are aware of the rules and the penalties involved.

    For example, you can say:

    “Please follow the rules or you will be disqualified. The rules are:

    a. Don’t interrupt when a person is speaking. Allow him to complete. Interrupt politely.

    c. No personal abuse”

    6. Encourage non speakers

    Often, there may be people who are not contributing much into the group discussion. It may be because they are shy or too polite. You can encourage them to contribute and share their views. It may happen that they may be able to give valid points.

    7. Avoid diversion

    Group discussions usually tend to veer away from the topic at hand. It is your duty to bring the discussion back on track and to the mentioned subject.

    The above tips will help you to conduct a group discussion professionally. To guide others, you yourself should be fluent in professional English. You can take the assistance of an online English tutor to guide you.

    About eAgeTutor :

    eAgeTutor.com is a premier online English learning institute. eAge’s world class faculty and ace communication experts, from around the globe, help you to improve in an all-round manner. Assignments and tasks based well-researched content developed by subject matter and industry experts can certainly fetch the most desired results for improving spoken English skills. In this age of effective and advance communication technology, online spoken English programs are the most effective and convenient way to learn English.

    For further information on our online English speaking courses or to experience the wonders of the virtual classroom, fix a demonstration session with our tutor.

    Sections of This Topic Include

    Learn More in the Library’s Blogs Related to Discussion Groups

    In addition to the articles on this current page, also see the following blogs that have posts related to Discussion Groups. Scan down the blog’s page to see various posts. Also see the section “Recent Blog Posts” in the sidebar of the blog or click on “next” near the bottom of a post in the blog. The blog also links to numerous free related resources.

    Guidelines to Conduct Discussion Groups

    Note that the reader might best be served to first read the topic Group Dynamics to understand the basic nature of most groups and their typical stages of development. (It’s not clear at this time if online groups have similar nature and stages.)

    Typical Purpose of a Discussion Group

    The purpose of the discussion technique is to ensure interaction among group members to identify, clarify, analyze and/or select an item, for example, about:

    • Issues
    • Recommendations
    • Objectives
    • Responsibilities
    • Timelines

    Process for a Discussion Group

    The process of the discussion technique typically includes the following steps.

    1. Specify the discussion topic and the goal to the planning group (if possible, do this step as pre-work before the next meeting). The goal is usually to identify, clarify, analyze and/or select an item.
    2. It is often best if the topic is described in the form of a “yes/no” question or a choice from among alternatives, for example, “Should we approve ___?” or “Should we hire ____?”.
    3. Specify when the discussion is to start and stop.
    4. Allow for open, unassigned exchange of information, for example, questions, suggestions or general comments until it is time to stop the discussion. Give the group a 2-minute warning when time is almost up.
    5. Facilitate to focus the discussion around the topic.
    6. Attempt to capture key points on a flipchart.
    • Attempt to summarize the discussion by identifying conclusions or decisions from the discussion.
    • The group can make selections from the results using voting (ranking or rating) and/or consensus techniques.

    Important Skills for Facilitation of Discussion Groups

    The quality of the discussion group can be enhanced significantly if guided by a skilled facilitator.
    All About Facilitation

    Also, sound skills in meeting management ensure a clear and consistent purpose and framework in which to work toward that purpose.
    Guidelines to Conducting Effective Meetings

    Various Perspectives on Discussion Groups

    For the Category of Facilitation and Teams:

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