How To Perform Well in a Group Discussion

  1. Home
  2. Career Tips
  3. Article detail
How To Perform Well in a Group Discussion

How To Perform Well in a Group Discussion: Tips and Tricks to Help You Succeed

Whether in a small group or an online forum, the ability to interact productively with others is key to success. Several research studies have shown that simply being asked to work in a group can cause anxiety and stress for some people. In order of most recent to earliest: – The more people who are participating in a discussion, the more likely it will be that someone will feel self-conscious and start worrying about what everyone else thinks about them. – The fewer who are participating, the less anxious those who remain will feel. When working together, everyone needs to be aware of the types of behaviors that not only affect productivity but also damage relationships and hurt team morale. Let’s take a look at some ways you can perform well in a group discussion so you don’t end up feeling stressed or awkward.

Stick to the Agenda

If you have been invited to participate in a group discussion, then you have a specific topic and timeline to work within. The first thing to do is to be sure that you are sticking to the agenda given to you by the group. If you are aware of the topic of the discussion and you do not stray from it, you are doing much better than if you are not aware of the agenda and try to add new points or take over the discussion. Although it is very tempting to try to engage with the group and get their attention, you also need to be aware that you are invited to participate in a discussion and not to hijack the meeting. If you know that you are going to add a new topic or rehash an old one, let the other participants know and signal your intentions so they know what to expect. If you start speaking without letting the other participants know, they may feel ambushed, which is not only unprofessional but also creates feelings of insecurity and stress for the members of the group, especially if they are new to the topic and may know less than you.

Be Present

Regardless of what the topic is, there will be moments when you will need to be present and pay attention to the discussion. You need to be aware of when this is happening and don’t try to multitask or add new topics to your list of things to do. You also don’t want to be the person participating in a discussion who is constantly checking their phone, looking at their email, or thinking about other problems they may be facing. It is important to remember that the people you are collaborating with are also busy people who may be in other stressful situations. It is unprofessional and inconsiderate to constantly be looking at your phone, reading emails, and thinking about other things you need to be doing.

Show Your Working Knowledge

By showing that you have knowledge of the topic and have done research, you immediately put others at ease and show that you are not just a participant but a real contributor to the discussion. This does not mean that you have to be “an expert” but that you can share some basic knowledge about the topic. If you have read a few articles or skimmed a few chapters of a book, let the group know so they know you are not “winging it.” DO NOT just say things like, “I don’t know about that, but here’s what I did in my situation” or “I think this is what happened, but I’m not sure.” If you are in doubt about something you read, ask the group to explain what they think happened or say. If you don’t know much about a topic, you can say so and say that you are trying to learn more. A good rule of thumb is to try to cover three different topics in a discussion, but try to mix them up so you don’t keep coming back to the same one.

Take Notes and Be Prepared to Discuss

If you are participating in a discussion, you need to be prepared to discuss what others have said and also to take notes as you go along. Even if you’ve already read about the topic or have done a bit of research, you can always take notes and find one or two things you want to add in your discussion. If you are in a group where there is one or two people who are better equipped than others to discuss a particular topic, it would be helpful if you let them know up front. If there is a person who is an expert on a certain subject, let them know up front that you want them to take the lead on the discussion. Similarly, if there is someone in the group who may not be as comfortable discussing a topic, let them know up front so they don’t feel like they are being “shamed in public” while trying to participate.

Be Polite, Not Presumptuous

There are two extremes that people find themselves in when they are participating in a discussion. Some may feel the need to be the “expert” in the discussion and begin sharing their experience and “answering” all the questions posed to the group. This may feel good to the person doing it, but this behavior shows a lack of respect for the others in the discussion and also for the topic under discussion. It is always better to let the group know up front that you may not have the experience to discuss a certain topic and let them decide if they are comfortable having you participate. If the group decides it does not want you to participate in a certain discussion, then you need to respect their decision and not try to “press your case” for participating. If a particular topic makes you feel uncomfortable, don’t pretend to know more about it than you do or try to include it in a discussion even if you are allowed to participate.


If you are planning to participate in a group discussion, then you need to be aware of some tips and tricks that will help you perform well. When working together in a group, everyone needs to be aware of the types of behaviors that not only affect productivity but also damage relationships and hurt team morale. Stick to the agenda, be present, show your working knowledge, take notes and be prepared to discuss, be polite, not presumptuous, and don’t treat everyone equally.



Author Since: September 15, 2021

Leave Your Comment