Business Dictionary defines Group Discussion as “informal and voluntary gathering of individuals (in person, through a conference call, or website) to exchange ideas, information, and suggestions on needs, problems, subjects, etc., of mutual interest.”
Group discussions have been employed as an effective tool for communication and finding of solutions since ancient times.
In old times in India, sabhas, samethis, etc. were conducted for the purpose of group discussions to reach solutions that were socially acceptable to all.
These are used even today. In contemporary times, when people of diverse thoughts and opinions exist, group discussions hold particular importance.
Thus, group discussions is a tool that have been developed and used throughout human history, which has led to peaceful co-existence, sharing of ideas, resolution of conflicts, formation of community decisions based on consensus, etc.
In fact, it can even be said that modern social and political institutions are result of ideas put forward through group discussions.
Requirements of an effective group discussion
A group discussion involves both verbal and non-verbal skills. For an effective and productive discussion to take place, the participants of the group need to maintain decorum and manners.
They need to be polite to the other members of the group discussing.
They also need to respect other’s views, opinions, values, perspectives and ideas even if it is in conflict and opposing to their own opinions and ideas. They need to be empathetic, as well as sympathetic and make a genuine effort to understand other’s point of views.
They need to direct the discussion towards a productive solution and not engage in trivial and unimportant matters that are not related to the subject being discussed.
Only when these requirements are followed, can a group discussion be fruitful and effective, leading to the fulfillment of its original motive.
Advantages of group discussion
Group discussions hold an important position in present times as it did before. In fact, with the development of humankind and emergence of diverse ideas, opinions, perspectives, etc., group discussions as a tool for communication has become even more important and necessary to resolve conflicts, reach solutions, put forward one’s views, etc. There are many advantages of group discussions.
Generation of Ideas
While listening to other’s ideas and putting forward your own, you can learn about things that you didn’t before. When numerous brains focus on a subject, often unique, out- of- the- box ideas emerge.
This in turn results in generation of new and innovative ideas, which was not known before. New and innovative ideas lead to the development of an individual as well as the society.
It expands your subject knowledge
Through group discussions a person comes across new facts, ideas, views, and different perspectives of looking at the same situation or thing.
By participating in group discussions, a person can increase her knowledge base about that particular subject and inculcate new ideas and values that she was not aware of before.
This results in the development of the individual, and the expansion of her knowledge about the subject.
It results in the finding of solutions
When a group is discussing about possible solutions to a given problem, the inputs of the many individuals involved will result in generation of new and unique solutions to the problem.
The other group members can also innovate and improve on a solution that an individual proposes, leading to its perfection. This will benefit everyone involved.
Improves listening skills
An individual’s involvement in group discussions also improves that person’s listening skills. She will learn to respect and ponder over other’s views, and therefore, it is a fantastic way to improve one’s listening skills.
Listening skills are also important for the development of the individual.
Improves confidence and communication skills
Group discussions involve communicating with new people, listening to their views and opinions and putting forward one’s own perspective.
Effective communication skills are required to explain one’s perspective properly, so that other people can understand it well.
This whole process results in the improvement of interpersonal skills of the members of the group which in turn results in increased confidence. This is an added benefit of group discussions apart for gaining and sharing of knowledge.
Group discussions have also been used as a tool for team building. When you listen to a person’s views, you try to understand them, you begin to feel closer to them, and when this is reciprocated, it results in team building.
Group discussions are also an effective way to not only discuss various ideas but also differences, and animosities. Group Discusses therefore can become a platform to reach compromises.
This results in the reduction of differences and a healthy workplace or social life.
It helps you improve on your mistakes
As stated above, group discussions provides an opportunity for an individual to improve herself. Through it, an individual can come to know the various ways in which they are lacking, be it lack of knowledge or bad communication skills. Thus, the individual can work on it and improve herself.
These advantages of group discussions are what makes important. In modern times, group discussions are used as an effective tool of communication in various fields.
From Corporate to Politics, group discussions are employed everywhere to resolve conflicts and reach solutions that are practical and which appeals to all.
A very interesting way in which group discussions are used these days is the observance of a group discussion by the recruiters of the candidates who want a particular employment to assess their skills.
Through it, the recruiters assess a candidate’s communication skills, leadership, confidence and knowledge.
They try to assess the skills of an individual that mimics the needs and requirements that they want a person to have to join their organisations and effectively handle the post offered.
Thus, it is important for a person today to take part in group discussions and improve her skills. This will come handy to her in the future.
Thus, Group discussions hold a very important place in modern society.