Group Discussion- Quality Points
Group discussion is an important method utilised for selection in a large number of organisations including the Defence Services. Students as well as professionals have to participate in group discussions to prove their knowledge, communication skills, ability to work in a team and ability to influence a group with their ideas. While discussing this issue with some of my students I realised a lack of clarity among some persons about the importance of quality of points versus the quantity of points. This blog has been written to emphasize the value of quality of points given rather than the quantity in a group discussion.
Quality versus Quantity of Points
Students get used to answering short questions in point form. A mental picture is created in a student’s mind that a question carrying 5 marks requires 5 short points in the answer to score full marks. In this paradigm each point is considered of equal value. This paradigm stays in the minds of people. This paradigm is unsuited for group discussions where time is limited and the opportunity one gets to convey his points is highly restricted. Moreover, the quality of points influences the group as well as assessors much more than the quantity of points given. Let us take an example to clarify the issue:
Example:Group Discussion Topic- “India-Pakistan Relations”
X states: “India is making various efforts towards peace with Pakistan. Modi called Sharif for his swearing in ceremony. Vajpayee had earlier invited Musharraf for peace talks. Terrorist actions undertaken by Pakistan supported terrorists and cross border firing initiated by Pakistan invariably derails the peace efforts. Pakistani terrorists had attacked Indian Parliament in 2001 and Mumbai in 2008. There have been numerous other instances of terrorism to disrupt peace between India and Pakistan. There was enough evidence to prove involvement of Pakistan Army and ISI in these acts of terror—–.” He was continuing till intercepted by another speaker.
Y states: “India is satisfied with the geographical status-quo in relations with Pakistan, while Pakistan wants to change the status-quo by wresting Kashmir. This is the fundamental difference between the two in their approach towards bilateral relations. The proxy war promoted in Kashmir and sponsoring of terrorism is an outflow of the Pakistani approach.” He stops and allows others to speak.
Y spoke less, yet the impact of his point is much more because of the quality of his point which displayed clarity in understanding of the problem. This is the approach suited for best results in a group discussion.
In group discussions or any situation where the opportunity to speak is greatly restricted one must evaluate the ideas on the topic in mind, prioritise them and speak only the most important points first, and less important points later, if time and opportunity permits, for best results.