To participate successfully in a discussion, there are a number of things you will have to show you can do.


Jeremy Paxman on the set of Newsnight
Jeremy Paxman on the set of Newsnight

It is essential to pay attention to what other people are saying, rather than just thinking about what you want to say next. You can show you are listening by your body language. For example, you can nod if you agree or shake your head if you don’t. Additionally you can ask relevant questions, add to the points other people make and summarise ideas. These will also show you are paying attention to the discussion.

Make relevant contributions and build on the contributions of others

You are more likely to make interesting and detailed contributions if you research the topic in advance. But you need to explain your ideas without dominating the discussion. This will allow you to explain your ideas fully and give examples to support them.

You should also try to develop other people’s points by adding examples and linking your own ideas to what is being said.

Ask questions

Ask questions to show you are engaged in the discussion and to encourage others to contribute. Questions can be directed towards an individual, for example, Can you explain that point?Why do you think that? Alternatively, questions can be directed towards the group as a whole, for example, Does everyone agree?Is there anything to add here?