Hey! Have you always been someone who is terrified of speaking in public? Does the idea of going for a Group discussion round which is often a mandated selection process for admissions into universities and institutes give you the cold sweats ? You might be a victim of Glossophobia, which is the fear of speaking in public settings .
Having a phobia is normal, for everyone has some or the other phobia, but you cannot let these phobias come in the way of your life. A lot of individuals, young and old face a lot of issues with public speaking. By the means of this article, we want to help you take small, yet meaningful steps in eradicating your phobia of group discussions. Read on to know further how doing these ten easy steps can help you get a grip on your fear:
1. Acknowledge your fears
Whenever we start talking about improving ourselves or some issue that we might be facing which is hindering our life in many ways, the first step is to always acknowledge the fears and then take on steps to find a good solution for them. If you suffer from a group discussion phobia, sit down and ask yourself, “what is it that really scares me about it?”. You will be surprised to find that you might have various areas of concern, for e.g you might be having confidence issues, you might be afraid of people judging you, you might be afraid of making mistakes so on and so forth. Before you start finding solutions to such issues, it is always better to sit down and acknowledge them, as it helps finding the perfect solution catered specifically for your needs and helps you better understand the root of your problems.
2. Be well- prepared
When you are well prepared and know about a subject or a topic, you are more likely to be confident and speak better about it than when you are unprepared. Before sitting down for any group discussion always make sure that you do some research about the subject and the related happenings about it, as the topic of discussion is almost always going to be related to what you are applying for, i.e the course that you are seeking admission into. Instead of going unprepared, and making yourself more nervous when you don’t know what to say about a topic, it is better to go with some preparation. It gives you confidence and keeps you full of ideas which you can easily get across the room.
3. Try writing out your points
A lot of times having your points written in front you can help you saying them out loud. It gives a sense of certainty, and boosts your confidence while delivering your ideas. So, if you are someone who gets stressed about saying the right things, just make notes of what all you want to say, and any points that you want to elaborate on. Many times you might also find that you agree or disagree with someone else’s views, and want to speak about it. In such cases, writing the point you want to speak on is beneficial, for you can quote what the other person has said and have their attention.
4. Speak in simple sentences
Many of you might have a public speaking phobia due to being under confident about your English speaking skills, and getting judged by the other participants as well as the panelists. If you feel that you lack in English speaking skills and talking using fancy and big words, don’t worry as you need not say things in a complicated manner. The aim of the GD round is to assess how communicative and aware you are about the contemporary issues and happenings around the world. Therefore it does not assess you based on your language and grammar skills, but on what you say and how you say it. You should always try to speak in simple sentences, and speak slowly so that you get more time to form ideas in your head and deliver them efficiently. Big words are not required as long as you are speaking and taking part in the discussion.
5. Feel confident, even if you don’t.
When you are nervous, it is bound to show through your body and expressions. The last thing that you want to show people around you during a GD is you nervously fidgeting, slouching in your seat, and nervously shaking your legs! All these are signs of stress and nervousness, and you do not want others to see you like this and underestimate your abilities. If you keep thinking of fear, it is bound to overpower you and come in the middle of your important life events. Therefore, having a confident body language, like sitting straight, head held high, and a smile on your face is not only an attractive trait, but it also gives you a boost of confidence to tackle the daunting GD with ease. As they say, “Fake it till you make it”.
6. Be spontaneous
You will be surprised to know that a lot of participants in the GD round actually come without any considerable preparation but still end up acing it. Ever wonder why that is? It is because they are spontaneous. This does not mean that you should not do any preparation at all. You should be aware of the latest contemporary happenings and issues so that you can speak facts and give valid examples, but you should also be spontaneous and pick on what others say. For eg, you find someone’s point invalid and wish to correct them, you can always chime in and give your views politely. Group Discussion never goes in a straight manner, for the topics keep wandering back and forth, therefore being spontaneous is also a good way for you to ease a little and be part of the discussion better.
7. Take help of Group Discussion videos
It is always motivating to hear from people like you, who must have struggled with the same phobia, and conquered them by adopting certain techniques. To hear the stories and experiences of people who go through the same issues as you can be a beneficial exercise as it motivates you to get over your own fears. Seeking help from professionals and experts can also help you a long way. An inexpensive way to seek guidance is to take help of Youtube videos. Try to listen to as many speakers on how to eradicate fear of public speaking as possible, as they also give some of the best advice. For example, you can also watch this video and make notes of all the new information that you gather.
8. Record your mock discussion with friends
Closely related to the above point, but a very good way to control your fear of going for a Group discussion round is to take help of your friends and family. Ask your friends to help you prepare for this, and start a mock discussion. The game changing tip here is to record this session. By doing this, you can see how you talk and act during the mock discussion. You can assess your body language, your expressions, your tone, and you can also gauge the way you speak your points. This will show you all the areas you need to work on, and when you work on your weaknesses you turn them into your strengths! Needless to say, this gives you a practice before the real session.
9. Practice in front the mirror
If you are concerned about how you speak in front of others, and how you carry yourself, then practising in front the mirror is the best tip for you. Just take any topic, make points on it and start talking in front of a mirror. Any mirror works, but doing it infront a full length mirror can actually show you how your body looks when you speak and deliver your thoughts. You can also practice sitting with a good body posture. Doing this exercise regularly, can help you identify your weaknesses and work on them.
10. Take control of your nerves
Lastly, you need to let loose and enjoy the group discussions. Think of them as a discussion between people you know, where you have to share your views and ideas about a certain topic. You can also interject and agree with others and arrive at a good conclusion. If you keep thinking of GDs as something terrifying and stressful, it is going to be like that for you. However, if you just stop stressing, take deep breaths, be present in the moment, you will realise that they are not that terrible, in fact they can be a very fun experience! The best way to conquer every fear is to not let it terrify and overpower you, but rather you should take control of yourself and not let your fears control you.
Group Discussion is a part of life, and not the end of it. People work themselves too much about them and end up spoiling their turn as they get too stressed and anxious. Life is all about overcoming fears which keep you down. Never let fear get to you, always try to put your head high and believe in yourself. Before you go for any Group Discussion don’t forget to boost yourself, and say to yourself, “I can do it, I will do it” and you will see the magic this affirmation can bring!