Can you think back to your last group discussion? In your opinion how did it go?
Is there anything you would change in your next one? If you use these gatherings correctly, the outcomes can be amazing. Don’t you have this experience yet? Perhaps you need to improve your participation. And here’s how.
Train Yourself to Listen
Have you ever heard the saying “listen to understand, not reply”? Many people rather hear the speaker instead of listening carefully to what he or she is trying to say.
This is the wrong attitude to have in any group discussion. It gives an impression you don’t care what others have to say.
This can create a one way discussion where you have the reins.
When you train yourself to listen you also let others speak until they have finished. Hopefully everyone can follow your lead and listen carefully to the speaker. With everyone understanding each other’s opinions, it’s sure to solicit thought provokingresponses.
Understand That Everyone Has a Valuable Opinion
We all wish we could have the right opinions on every subject. But we don’t, and sometimes other opinions are more accurate than ours.
Understand everyone’s opinions are valuable even if they contradict yours. If you disagree with a certain view don’t be rude or say yours is better.
The best approach for every group discussion is to simply state the facts that shaped your belief. To give yourself peace of mind, understand that these facts may not change how other people see certain topics.
If you don’t want to create an unsuccessful group discussion, remember that opinions are hard to change. This helps you not fixate on the opposing opinions so the discussion can flow easier.
Don’t Be an Interruption
Imagine you want to get your thought across but someone keeps interrupting you. Wouldn’t you feel slightly frustrated? It’s as if you’re in competition with the interrupter to see who can be the center of attention.
A good attitude to have during any group discussion is to let people finish speaking before you reply. Why?
Firstly, this is good manners.
Secondly, interruptions have one or both of these outcomes:
- The time period gets extended because someone takes longer to finish what they wanted to say.
- Interruptions derail the topic. This can also make the discussion run longer than planned.
And what will happen if the group discussion has to end at a certain time and nothing was accomplished? It could make you feel there is no point in attending the discussion.
If you want to say something, write the thought down and raise your hand. The mediator can then point at you to let you speak after. This could be a rule, so maybe suggest it to the mediator before your next gathering.
This brings order and teaches patience.
Think Before You Speak
This should be life’s cardinal rule. Think of what you want to say before you actually do. Why? It firstly helps you articulate what you want to say.
Also you wouldn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings if you say something wrong. And if you keep on hurting everyone’s feelings—even if by accident—you may appear to be a bully.
Bullies aren’t tolerated and you may be dismissed from any future group discussions.
What may help you is using a notepad and pen to jot down the numerous thoughts you conjure. You can then structure them which then helps you deliver them in a logical order.
You get the point across without rambling on. You don’t lose your train of thought which could possibly make yourself and others confused.
When you think clearly you’ll speak clearly and sound intelligent, which is an excellent reputation to have.
Be Open Minded
Sometimes group discussions help you to learn more about the topic. You can only learn if you’re willing to accept new information and opinions.
Before your next group discussion beopen minded and willing to change how you view certain topics.
As previously mentioned not everyone will have the same opinion as you, so be respectful ofall. This shows a great deal of respect towards others.
If everyone has the same level of respect then conversations will be friendlier and more functional.
Bring Something Interesting to The Discussion
Imagine sitting down in a group and you have no understanding of the topic at hand. Or maybe you do, but not enough knowledge to make valuable statements. It maybe embarrassing when you’re called to give an opinion and you have none.
People may question your attendance.
You can save yourself from the embarrassment and find facts, case studies & other research on the topic.
If you bring current research you keep ideas fresh and relevant. This can help others learn more about the topic.
When you do, you better your understanding of it and in turn will be more willing to participate. You can give correct answers to questions. You can also correct others who may have the wrong ideas. But remember to stay civil and friendly.
Although you think you have all the answers remember to be kind when you give statements and correct others. Nobody enjoys somebody who is condescending.
Make all your future group discussions a great learning experience for all. If you want more people to follow these tips, recommend them to you mediator. The respect and patience that ensues will let your group’s efficacy soar.
Group discussions are fun learning experiences especially if the topics are new to you. Any mediator for a group discussion appreciates participation. The differing views of the audience can be interesting.
However you must play your role in ensuring an effective group discussion. It may be scary but it does show your interest.
If you’re unsure on what to do don’t worry. These tips show you how to be the best participant. They teach you different ways to help you boost your confidence during a group discussion.
They also teach you how to conduct yourself and how to react to certain situations. You get an understanding of the dos and don’ts & will be the key role player to make future discussions better for all.