“Speak to express, not to impress. If you express properly you will surely impress people.”

Anonymous

As a visiting faculty to a lot of colleges and a communication trainer, I get the opportunity to conduct a lot of group discussions for students and working professionals around the country. I have tried to summarize my findings on the subject of group-speaking through this article.

Do you feel confident?

How confident do you feel when you are required to speak in a group or to a group? Do you feel certain that your voice and ideas will be heard? Or do you prefer to keep your ideas confined to yourself just because the audience attention always eludes you?

Group discussion is defined as a constructive discussion among the participants on a agreed topic- situation, problem or an idea. The ability to speak in a group is not just important for candidates sitting for a job-interview or a business-school admission, but also very relevant for- group meetings, team huddles, panel discussions, and sometimes even family discussions.

So how are you evaluated?

Primarily when you are being observed in a group discussion, you are being evaluated on quite a few parameters:

  1. Leadership Skills- Your leadership skills are tested by you ability to take initiatives, defining the problem or idea, taking the group-members along, directing the flow of discussion and checking digression if any.
  2. Content or Knowledge- Few people have something to say, while others simply say something. People who try to speak more than what they know are very easy to spot. It is impossible to speak about what you do not know.
  3. Communication or expression of content- This refers to your ability to manage your tone and expressions
  4. Conduct- Your group dynamics will be noticed- body-language, active listening skills, attitude towards the group. Do you respect other people’s opinion or are you always looking for an opportunity to impose your ideas on the group.

Few tips for group-speaking

  1. Read, Read & Read- Reading is the fastest way to develop good content. Read good books- fiction and non-fiction, business magazines, editorials etc. Read atleast 1 book every fortnight.
  2. Practice- Join a debating club, or a public speaking forum. ISF has helped me a lot personally. Though I give over 200-250 speeches in a year as part of my work, still I love to practice at every possible opportunity I get.
  3. Be Present- Sharpen your listening skills, learn to respect the opinions of others. It is only after hearing them you must choose to counter or support them. So hear them out.
  4. Ask questions- You can always ask logical questions to get more out of a conversation
  5. Body-Language- Pay attention to your body language- hand gestures, facial expressions, body movement and stance, eye-contact etc.

Mr. Siddhartha Sharma

Author & CEO-Success Monks

Member- India Speakers Forum

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