In 2020, with the widespread outbreak of the pandemic novel COVID-19 virus, a worldwide lockdown was imposed. People were strictly not allowed to go out of their houses with this came the need to start an online/ virtual workplace where people can interact with each other without physically coming in contact. Group discussions are a vital part in a workplace to convey ideas, start meetings, teach new methods, healthy exchange of reviews, come up with merits and demerits of a project, etc. Online group discussions are different from physical ones in terms of connectivity as it creates the need of having a proper set up including a good internet connection, pc/laptop, microphone, webcam, and receiver. Everyone is expected to have this prerequisite setup for participating in an online group discussion. In this article, we are highlighting some tips to upgrade the quality of an online group discussion. which can make meetings more productive and high-yielding.
Group discussion is an event where most people of similar interests gather together for a formal or informal discussion with the aim of:
1) discussing new projects
3) add comments
4) suggest changes
Online group discussions are also similar. The only difference is people gather together virtual instead of physically. For having a good virtual experience one must have this basic prerequisite set-up:
1) A computer/ laptop / Mobile phone with front camera
2) a good internet connection / preferably Wi-Fi
3) good quality webcam
4) microphone and receiver.
This comprises the technical part.
A good technical setup will provide:
1) more live video clarity – This helps in understanding the facial cues and gestures of our fellow mates and figuring out their reactions towards our proposal.
2) more audio clarity- This helps in unrestricted and clear receiving of instruction and ideas being discussed. This leads to better understanding which in turn can make a discussion more productive.
TIPS TO HAVE ONLINE GROUP DISCUSSION:
1) MEETING SHOULD HAVE A CLEAR AGENDA.
– A good group discussion should have a fixed agenda. participants should be clear and thorough with the goal of an online meeting.
-Here is a list of items that can help in clarifying an agenda:
- line-up list
- plan or scheme.
– participants should be updated with the purpose of the meeting before the meeting starts to allow some mental preparation before putting ideas in a discussion.
2) SELECTION OF A COORDINATOR.
– Online discussion can sometimes become a bit chaotic if not organized in a strict manner.
– To maintain the integrity of a forum selection of a coordinator is crucial.
– A good coordinator should have skills in administration and management.
– In a virtual set-up an organizer can play the role of coordinator by giving a clear set of instructions and rules for everyone on how to conduct oneself in a meeting.
3) SETTING RESPECTFUL CONDUCT AMONGST THE MEMBERS OF ONLINE DISCUSSION.
– With people not interacting in a social setup sometimes the code of conduct can become a problem. People are more laid back in the comfort of their houses.
-It is important to set a dress-up code ( e.g. formals), a good sitting area with minimal background disturbance, and maintain a sense of professionalism throughout the discussion.
– Control over-emotional responses like aggression and anger should be of grave importance as Group discussion is a forum where the exchange of ideas with people of different mindsets is also observed. One should maintain the integrity of human conduct and try to remain respectful of boundaries.
– One should calmly put forward their opinions and ideas by using sentences like ‘ I completely respect your point of view, but I would like to disagree. I hold a completely different opinion on this particular subject’.
– it is of crucial importance to maintain good conduct, dress up well, have a good body posture, have language control, and be respectful of other participants in a virtual set-up too.
4) EFFICIENT COMMUNICATION SKILLS:
– In a Group discussion, sometimes it’s easy to lose your voice and not be able to speak up about your part of the discussion.
– Hence it is important to have strong communication skills. One should be able to put forward their ideas strongly as it is the essence of a whole group discussion.
– During an online discussion Your point should stand out and it should be clear, effective, and regarding the given subject. Thorough knowledge about the ongoing agenda is crucial to have given necessary inputs.
– one can upgrade their vocal clarity, by practicing some simple exercises on channels like YouTube that will enable one to have confidence and deliver a better speech.
5) EFFICIENT LISTENING SKILLS:
– most of the time people have a perception that in an online Group discussion they keep on speaking to make an impression in a forum.
– Undeniably, it is better to talk in a virtual group meeting, but participants should also keep their ears open to listen to the crucial points made by other participants as well.
-not only does it promote your critical thinking & enables you to come up with good ideas, it also gives you time to process information, ponder over your own thoughts and formulate your upcoming response, which would be very much in the right direction. These traits can lead to a more productive & healthy discussion.
Also read: Ways to Become Interactive in Online Classes
1) What body language one shall maintain during an online group discussion?
Ans- It’s easy to lose track of body language when one is sitting on the other side of the camera. But it is of crucial importance to maintain good conduct and be respectful of other participants in a virtual set-up too. these are a few tips that can help in maintaining good body language:
-Don’t Point Fingers at other participants.
-Don’t cross your hands, as it might make you look disinterested.
-move your hands slightly while talking (when you explain something using your hands, it makes you look confident.)
– Sit in an erect posture, without slouching as this can make you look lazy.
– Do not bite your nails. (even if you are nervous, try other methods to calm your nerves down)
2) Is it important to dress up for an online discussion?
Ans- Yes, it is important to have a code of decent dressing even while presenting virtually. one shall groom themselves for a GD undoubtedly.
The first thing that catches one’s eye about a person is how well they present themselves. It is the first impression that matters to others and they will be more engaged to you if you look decent. Keeping this in mind participants should dress up appropriately and pay attention to the details.
3) How to evaluate the time to stop posting in an online discussion?
Ans- Organizing online discussions can be a time-consuming task.
– But it’s essential to keep track of time while there are no physical constraints on a meeting. – In physical offices or classrooms we have bells & ringers which begin and end at specific timings. when the bell rings, you know you’re done with your discussion. Online discussions however are ongoing.