Entering any discussion is the most important part. It can either make or break your impression in one go!!
Take care that you do not stray from the topic. One way to avoid this is to write it down and keep it in front of you. By periodically looking at it, you can arrange your thoughts mentally. Remember that the interjections should always be in the form of a paragraph, not a question. Do not get into cross talk with any person in the group. Do not start quarrelling if someone is against your stand. Instead, address the group.
In any GD, a common situation is that everybody wants to speak all at once and some individuals will dominate on account of their loudness. After all, everybody wants to make a mark in the limited time and it is survival of the fittest. Making an interjection at this stage is rather difficult.
Assume a leadership role if you do not have much to say. Give a chance to others who have not spoken. Guide the discussion by restoring order. Keep an eye on the time and after 10 minutes or so, begin summing up. This will show your leadership qualities. However, if you do not contribute in any other way, this strategy will not be sufficient to see you through.
Interjections should be made without being rude. Do not cut into mid-sentence. On the other hand, if someone cuts into your speech, politely ask to be heard: “I would like to complete what I was saying….” rather than rudely asking a person to shut up. Sometimes all these rules do not work, especially if the group is a rowdy one. Since it is survival of the fittest, do not be cowed down and make a bold effort to make yourself heard.
Start off with meta-language: “I agree with you, but…” or “We have heard many viewpoints and I would like to say….” Do not lose your cool if nobody listens. It might pay to raise your voice for the opening sentence and then go ahead to make your point.
Never criticize. If you do not agree with a particular viewpoint, start with: “You may be right, but I feel….” or even “I agree with you on certain points but there is a contrary opinion that….” Be polite but firm.
In a loud GD where there are three or four aggressive participants, and where a number of people tend to speak at the same time, it becomes difficult for others to get a chance to speak. This is the most frequent problem encountered by participants. There is no foolproof solution to this problem. And such a situation is pretty much likely to prevail during the actual GD that you participate in. However, it is crucial that you speak. How can you do this?
Some guidelines on interjecting in a loud GD: You will have to decide which one is appropriate.
Enter the troughs: Every GD has its highs and lows. There are times when the noise level is high and times when it is low. You could wait for the lows and time your interjection then. However, in some GDs, if one waits for lows, he/she would never get a chance to speak.
Enter after a person has made his point: The success of an interjection depends not only on assertiveness but also on the receptiveness of others. If you interject when someone else has just begun speaking, before he has made his point, it is unlikely that he will let you have your way. On the other hand, if you wait till he has made some of his points, he will be more amenable to letting you speak. But don’t wait too long!
Enter with a supportive statement: A useful way of starting your interjection is by supporting a point that has just been made. People will let you speak if they think you agree with them or if you praise them. Try starting by saying something like, “I agree with that point and I would like to add . . .â€ť Alternatively, praise the person who had just spoken by saying, “I think that is a very important point . . . “. In all probability, he will let you speak. Once you have the floor, you could either extend the argument or you could switch tracks by saying, ” . . . however, before we spend more time on that issue we should be discussing . . .”
Enter by increasing volume: The most natural way of entering when you find that others are not listening is to raise your voice. This is not the smartest way of interjecting and in a GD where everyone is shouting, there is only a slight chance that it would work. To be effective, however, you will have to combine this tool with some of the others mentioned, as it is unlikely to succeed on its own.
A common situation is that whatever points you have thought of have already been said by someone else. Do not become nervous should this happen. Instead, quickly assess the situation and the direction of the discussion. Take a few deep breaths and think whether anything has been missed out or whether you can turn the discussion around. Usually, there is always some uncovered ground and a person can steer the discussion in a new direction. “We have been discussing the positive side of the matter”, you can say. But there is a more serious dimension that we have ignored….” Chances are that you will become the centre of discussion after this. Even if you have not spoken during the first half of the session, you will have turned it around to your advantage.