Group discussions are a key in engaging people involved in a various business meetings. If done the right way, it could lead to a better conversation and a more effective discussion. Usually, group discussions are designed for brainstorming. This allows everyone’s brains to be picked and come up with something really interesting. It is made up of around 8 people, which is just about the right size.
The problem with group discussions is that there might be people who say less while others overwhelm the discussions. There might also be a lot of disagreements that could lead to personal fights. Being able to control the situation is extremely important so that ideas are brought up without necessarily going personal.
If you are hosting a group discussion, make sure that everyone will feel like they are involved in the process. Tell them when and where the discussion is to be done, what possible topics are included and provide some examples of the specific questions that will be asked. This gives them time to prepare their ideas and encourage deeper discussions.
Act as a facilitator
Your role in the discussion is to simply facilitate. You are not there to judge who is right and who is wrong. You simply need to start a good conversation, fill in the blanks when necessary and encourage people to bring up novel ideas. You should also see to it that they keep track on the important topic to be discussed and not stray away.
Controlling personal issues
It is inevitable for certain personal issues to be brought up especially if the discussion involves job related topics. Some weaknesses might be pointed out and the argument becomes heated. The good thing is that it can be easily prevented if you are there to easily manage the situation. As soon as you feel like the discussion starts to become more personal, make sure you step in and cut it out.
Have your own ideas
Even if you are not there to overwhelm everyone with your personal answers, it would still be great to have one. You can encourage them to ask questions or start the discussion with your own opinion. This also helps you guide the discussion into a something that is more fruitful. It also makes you look more effective as a leader since you don’t just solicit ideas, but start them whenever possible.
What to do after the discussion
These group discussions are done to encourage people to provide ideas for the benefit of the company. The difficult part is how you can transform these ideas into reality. The next step is to meet with higher officials in the business to relay the information collected. Let them know what employees thought of and how those ideas could be beneficial to the company in the long run. If they have ideas on how the company can provide better services to the employees, they should also be taken into consideration.
Conducting a group discussion is just the beginning. You still have a lot to do to process the information you have gathered.
Featured and 1st image by SuSanA Secretariat [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
2nd image by Adesh31 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons