‘Discussion is an exchange of intelligence; argument is an exchange of ignorance’
Discussion at work place, common gathering and at negotiating table is almost a day to day requirement. It is a well accepted process for decision making too. In most of the selection processes for jobs, academic admissions etc, group discussion as a process is almost inevitable. Participating in group discussion calls for preparation and sincere involvement. As students of management, you need to develop this skill right from your student days. More frequently you participate and flex muscles in mastering this skill, better it is for building your corporate career and leadership position. The following are the few steps for effective participation and navigating yourself to the desired destination.
- Do not rush through to make your point first. If there are signs of hesitation on the part of others, emerge quickly and start off.
- Keep your sentences crisp and short. Do not sound emphatic or overbearing. Do not try to grasp attention just because you started the discussion!
- Allow others to make their point and sound like an enabler. Listen carefully while others speak.
- Invite others to come forward. Set common rules of participation. Take care of those who have difficulty in sharing.
- Keep your communication fact based and authentic. Help the discussion evolve from level to level.
- Respect others’ views and acknowledge disagreement. Thank the previous speaker and start saying. ‘As my friend….’rightly observed’, ‘contributed so well’ and so on.
- Inclusive approach and attitude will be observed by the judges/organizers and due credit given.
- Do not allow your communication to ‘collapse’. If you feel that your point can not pick momentum, drop it is with grace and let another person take it forward if he/she can.
- Do not bear grudge against other speakers just because they challenged you in the process.
- Do not settle for personal comment. Please note that aim of argument or discussion is not victory but progress. In a group discussion your are just a cog in a machine but yet integral. Never overstep and enter ‘no man’s territory’ in the name of extending argument and grabbing undue attention.
- Throughout the discussion act like an initiator, contributor, moderator, ‘gate keeper’ and facilitator. It does not mean that you should don all these roles. In your overall presence and participation, look like the one. That itself is the path for your admission, selection and whatever it may lead to.
Dr. N J Shetty, Ph.D, M.Com, MBA, MA(Psy), PG. DHRM, PG. DMM, LL. B, CAIIB, D. TD, Pragya,
Professor, Nitte School of Management, Certified NLP Practitioner, Certified Life Coach, Certified OD Coach,