How to initiate in a Group Discussion?
In a GD, if you are the first person to speak, then you are initiating the Group discussion. If you are initiating a GD, you are playing a vital role in the success of the GD. Remember; GD scores in my opinion have two components, the group’s average score plus or minus your points based on your relative performance in the group. The groups average score takes into consideration the group dynamics,; How did the students behave throughout the discussion; How did they interact with each other; Did they have a conciliatory approach or did they have a confrontational approach; Did they allow every one else also to speak or was every one trying to hog the limelight for him selves?
A good initiation has its own plus points If you are good at initiating a GD and get an opportunity to do so, you are indirectly indicating your leadership skills, your ability top organize your thoughts and your ability to provide a holistic perspective to a GD. All these traits also indicate that you are a - “Manager Material”. At the same time if your initiation is done poorly, it is an opportunity lost for you.
So, how do you initiate a group discussion? Are there standard ways to initiate? Can anyone with a reasonable command over English language initiate a GD? The answer to all these questions is a “BIG YES”. I propose three ways to initiate a group discussion –
1. Balanced approach
2. Rhetorical approach
3. Definition or concept approach
What is a balanced approach?
Let us understand this with an example - Let’s say the topic provided for the discussion is as simple as “Should dress codes exist in colleges? “ - Most students who initiated this topic at a recently conducted workshop in a leading college spoke directly about whether the dress code should exist or not. If you initiate a GD, you ensure that you provide a broader perspective to the topic before you present your opinion. For example an example of the introduction could be
What did the speaker do above? The speaker introduced the topic by relating it to something happening in the present, then he presented prevailing opinions for and against the topic and then he presents his own view stating his logic for his point of view… an ideal introduction. So, the balance approach to introducing a topic comprises three things
- . Introduce the topic and relate it to current issues
- Present both prevailing opinions- for and against
- Build your case by providing logic/facts/ examples for what you have stated..e.g. in the above case the logic of the speaker is that the youth of today are much more informed and much more mature and that college prepares students for actual life and hence students must learn to dress appropriately …. And so on
Apart from this you should also have a ready bank of general quotations which you can use as and when required. For example two quotations that can be used in the above topic are –
There is no such thing as a moral dress. It's people who are moral or immoral. – By Churchill Jeanette
you must dress according to your age, your pursuits, your object in life. -Disraeli, Benjamin
Another thing that you might find handy is facts and figures that are relevant. Something like – friends none of the IITs IIMs or Harvards and Stanfords have any dress codes, yet they are respected all across the globe for the learning opportunities that they provide.
Balanced introduction is one of the better ways to initiate a GD and should be used by you if the topic is controversial, which many topics provided for GDs are.