Importance of Active Listening and Asking Clarifications in a Group Discussion

Communication has it two ways – one is verbal, and the other one is written or non-verbal. The way communication is important in any discussion, listening is also crucial part and cannot at all be ignored. For any business, it is very important to listen to your customer first to understand them further. Hence every organization seeks for people who are not only good at communicating but also at listening attentively to their customers.

You might be thinking what is new in this? We always hear our customers and accordingly act. But here, it needs to be clarified that there is a fine line separation between hearing and listening. Hearing sometimes may not involve understanding, but if you are listening to someone, it mostly should understand the other person as well. Listening helps to not directly hopping into any conclusion. It avoids assumption. Listening can be helpful in learning something new.

How Listening Helps in Group Discussion

  • Gain Clarity: Active listening helps you gaining good understanding and clarity of the topic. And this further helps you speaking about it in great detail. During a Group discussion, when the hiring panel listens to the participants intently, they will be able to judge the required skills in candidates. They will be able to determine whether they are worth hiring for the company or not.

  • Keeps You Alert: During my previous job, I got an opportunity to attend a workshop on soft skills. One entire day was scheduled around the topic ‘listening skills.’ The trainer said a thing which I still remember. She said, we always listen to the other person and meanwhile start preparing about our answers in mind – we keep thinking what we need to answer the very next moment. Good listening skills in a group discussion can help you notice faults and wrong facts in what others express.

  • Comprehend: Listening to others will assist you in grasping what the other team member is speaking even if the subject is not very well known. What other participants are saying will only be clear to you if you listen to them and their point very carefully.

  • Equal Reaction: As they say, every action has its reaction. If you are willing to listen to others, they will also be inclined to listen to you in return. If your statements have logic, people will listen to you. In a group discussion, there will be many people who would speak and would want to put their point forward. Listening to them does not mean that you would not take a step and initiate your own conversation. Listening here mean understanding their views fully and then put your point in a clear manner.

Asking Clarifications in a Group Discussion

Remember the time, when we used to be students and resisted to ask for clarifications from teachers in the classroom? That does not work in today’s context. In today’s time, if there is any ‘why’ in your mind, you should ask. During the Group Discussion, you should, of course, ask for clarification if you have a doubt. Why should you ask for clarification?

  • It Certifies Your Participation: when you are a member of the group discussion, this needs to be shown. You cannot be a passive/inactive participant sitting just in the corner. This will have a negative impact. So, while discussion, if you have any doubt or need more elaboration on a particular point, you should ask for an explanation.

  • Illuminates a Topic: It sometimes happens that the question hovers over everyone’s mind, but nobody is taking the initiative to come forward and ask for explanation or clarification. If you ask for clarification on particular points, it not only becomes apparent to you but for others in the group also, it becomes lucid.

  • Improves Your Ability to be Attentive: You can only ask valid questions if you are listening to the discussion properly. If you are not putting your head and heart to a discussion, you may miss out on some important points and also miss the chance to ask for clarification. So, it is better that you remain attentive in the entire discussion and do not deviate from the core topic

  • Increase Confidence: When you listen to what others have to say, it is likely that you may not understand some topic. If you gather enough courage to ask for clarification, it will not only throw some light on the topic, but also will increase your confidence to speak. It improves your self-assurance and buoyancy.

  • Provide Different Response: Follow-up questions or asking for clarifications during a group discussion provides a chance to simplify, refine and know diverse ideas from various people. Some people might have some fresh and new perspectives which you may have overlooked. While asking for clarification on certain point can bring up many good thoughts and ideas which can be helpful.

  • Correct Understanding: Asking for clarification during a group discussion ensured that you have a correct understanding of the chosen topic or point which you are asking for further elaboration. It helps the entire group discussion to move in a right direction and ultimately reach a concrete conclusion.

Points to Take Care

  • During the group discussion, it is okay to ask for clarification if you do not understand anything. But repeatedly doing so will show your unawareness about the chosen topic and might not be looked favorably. So, do not ask for clarification just at the beginning, rather wait for few minutes to get a clarification from other members without asking so.

  • Besides this, you should also let others speak and not interrupt their conversation frequently as it might go against you. If you strongly feel for some issue, voice your opinion. But remember to keep control over your emotions and remain calm headed and logical throughout the discussion.

  • There is a very thin line between being aggressive and being assertive. Other group members may not accept aggression but being assertive shows your well-framed knowledge about the topic and your self-confidence, determination and positive mindset.


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