Group Discussion Etiquette: Dos and Don'ts | upGrad Campus

Group Discussion Etiquette: Dos and Don’ts for a Winning Performance

October 5th, 2023

Group Discussion Etiquette: Dos and Don’ts for a Winning Performance
Are you preparing for a group discussion? Are you nervous about how you will perform? If yes, then this blog is for you.  Participating in a group discussion can be understandably anxiety-inducing. A Group Discussion or a GD is a common evaluation method that is incorporated in numerous academic settings, competitive exams and job interviews. This is because it is a form of assessment criteria that evaluates different skills all at once in a comprehensive manner.  When partaking in a group discussion, it is important to note that a particular etiquette must be followed. Demonstrating proper GD etiquette can thus greatly elevate your chances of putting in a winning performance.  In this blog, we’ll discover how to start group discussions, some dos and don’ts for acing your group discussion and other group discussion tips for impressing your evaluators. Sooner or later, we will all be a part of group discussions, and so it's important to stay prepared.

What Is A Group Discussion? 

In the most basic terms, a group discussion is a conversation that involves two or more participants. These conversations typically revolve around a central theme or topic for participants to exchange ideas and opinions.  Today, group discussions are used in a variety of formal and semi-formal settings to serve as an assessment tool. Group discussions in job interviews or academic exams are structured communication exercises that test the participants’ knowledge, communication skills, leadership qualities, teamwork, interpersonal skills, and ability to defend their opinions.  The most common types of group discussions are:
  1. Factual group discussions
  2. Case-oriented group discussions
  3. Abstract group discussions
  4. Thematic group discussions
  5. Opinion-based group discussions
Each type of group discussion differs from the other in nuanced ways, but they all try to assess pivotal aspects of an individual’s personality. They require the individual to apply their reasoning skills, analytical skills, logical thinking, creativity, and depth of knowledge to be able to put in a winning performance.

Dos and Don’t of Group Discussions

Now, let’s explore some group discussion tips, especially the dos and don’ts, so individuals can conduct themselves appropriately.

What to Do for a Winning Performance?

What you should do in Group Discussions (GD)

Putting in a winning performance in a group discussion doesn’t necessarily require you to have the best knowledge in the group. While knowledge does play a role, following group discussion etiquette and decorum is equally important to win the debate.  Here is a non-exhaustive list of what to do to put in a winning performance:
  1. Prepare for the topic or theme of the discussion comprehensively.
  2. Be dressed in smart attire and maintain good posture.
  3. Listen actively to the other speakers and make notes of points you would like to counter. Present these in an organised and easy-to-follow manner.
  4. Introduce yourself briefly before you start your speech, and maintain eye contact with the other participants.
  5. Articulation is key. Express yourself boldly and clearly. Confidence in your abilities is a positive trait.
  6. Always remain calm and composed during rebuttals. Be gracious and acknowledge others when they are speaking.
  7. Support your arguments with relevant factual data and research to add credibility. Figures and citations show that you have done your homework. 
  8. Encourage the participation of group members who haven’t shared as much. This showcases leadership and team-building qualities. 
  9. At the end, offer to summarise the main points discussed briefly.
  10. Always respect time limits.

What Should You Avoid During a Group Discussion?

What should you avoid in Group Discussions (GD)

Knowing what not to do can sometimes be more crucial than doing the correct things during a group discussion. This is because negative impressions are quick to form and hard to change.  Here are a few things participants should avoid during a group discussion to maintain a good impression and enhance their chances of winning:
  1. Never interrupt others while speaking. The golden rule of group discussions is to wait your turn.
  2. Do not ramble or go off-topic. Be clear and concise in the point you wish to make.
  3. Avoid speaking too softly or too fast. This shows nervousness and can dampen the effect of your speech. 
  4. Refrain from presenting information you aren’t sure about and never share incorrect information or data that hasn’t been factually verified. This can seriously damage your credibility in the discussion. 
  5. Don’t use jargon or over-complicate language. 
  6. Do not dismiss others’ ideas, even if you do not agree with them. This shows a lack of team-building and interpersonal skills. 
  7. Avoid slouching or appearing disengaged in the discussion.
  8. Do not reinforce stereotypes or controversial ideas.
  9. Never steal someone else’s idea to pass it off as your own. Credit the source as needed.
  10. Do not speak to the evaluator/moderator. Instead, focus on the group members and speak directly to them. 

Master a Group Discussion: Key Takeaways for Successful Conversations! 

Acing a group discussion requires a blend of preparation, active listening, leadership skills, effective communication, and respectful behaviour. By adhering to the dos and don'ts outlined in this blog, you can significantly increase your chances of putting in a winning performance. If you wish to discover more such group discussion tips, visit upGrad Campus and approach any future GDs with confidence and enthusiasm.

Also Read: Success Speaks – True stories from our students!

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