Discussion - English Oral Skills Notes

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  • Discussion is a process where exchange of ideas and opinions are debated upon in a group.
  • A group which comprises a small number of people is given a topic to discuss.

Preparation for Group Discussion

Do the following before you start the discussion:

  1. Select/choose group leaders. Choose the secretary to write the points down and the chair to lead the discussions.
  2. Research round the topic to make sure you have the points. You can get the points from the sources including:
    • Newspapers and magazines
    • Friends, relatives and teachers
    • Text books
    • Internet
    • Television
  3. Arrive early for discussions. It is advisable you do so so that you start early and finish early.
  4. Gather writing materials – pen and note book.
  5. Prepare with questions to ask.

Participating in a Group Discussion

Remember the tips below for success during the discussion:

  1. Learn to listen to each other and respond to what other people have to say.
  2. Speak with moderation. What you say is usually more important than how much you say. Quality is needed rather than the quantity.
  3. Back up each point you put across. You can explain your points in a number of ways including:
    • Providing facts or statistics to support it;
    • Quoting expert opinion;
    • Explain why you said what you said; and
    • Referring to your own experience.
  4. Stay calm and polite. Use polite words like ‘May I ….?, please …, etc.’
  5. Take notes of important words and ideas.
  6. Speak clearly.
  7. Speak loud enough to be heard by all the group members.

The Common Discussion Mistakes

Having learnt what you should do during the discussion, let us now learn what under no circumstances y do. You should never:

  • Dominate the discussion;
  • Interrupt abruptly;
  • Be inaudible;
  • Carry out mini-meetings; or
  • Talk over each other.


You and your group members have been assigned the topic: ‘Responsibilities of a Good Citizen’ by your teacher of History and Government. You are supposed to discuss this before you give the presentation in two days.

  1. State three ways in which you would prepare before you start discussing the topic.
  2. How would you ensure your group members and yourself benefit from this discussion?
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