top of page

Speaking Conventions and Best Practices in a Group Discussion

Updated: May 22

A group is a collection of individuals who stay and collaborate as a team to achieve a similar goal; discussion is a communication process between two or more people to exchange information or opinions in order to seek a solution or conclusion. Thus, a group discussion refers to an activity where several individuals meet together and communicate orally to exchange thoughts and information to decide on a particular issue. Group discussion is a method of communication that stimulates creative and critical thinking among the group members through sharing thoughts on a specific topic.

Useful Expressions Solutions

Based on the same objective, everyone in the group who is called a group member plays a specific role with a distinctive perspective. They intend to explore a better conclusion or solution on an issue or concern rather than deciding alone through interaction with one another. Before conducting a group discussion, a group usually has a leader who supposes to lead the discussion. However, in a group discussion conducted for oral assessment purposes, anyone can lead and initiate the discussion. All group members should participate in the discussion based on the five language functions with the respective 10 useful expressions as follows:

  • Ask questions

  • Could you tell/explain to me...

  • What do you think about/of...

  • What’s your opinion about...

  • Do you think/feel...

  • How do you feel about...

  • Could someone please tell me...

  • I just don’t really understand/see why/what/how...

  • What do you mean by that?

  • I beg your pardon?

  • Excuse me, did you say that/are you saying that...

  • Offer opinions

  • I think/believe/feel/suppose/would like to point out that...

  • In my view/opinion/eyes…

  • According to/from my perspective/point of view/viewpoint...

  • As far as I’m concerned...

  • Personally, I think/hold the view/am of the opinion that...

  • What I mean is...

  • Some people say that...

  • Well, it is considered/seems to me/thought/generally accepted that...

  • My impression is that...

  • It goes without saying that...

  • Agree

  • I agree/totally agree/couldn't agree more/second/suppose/think so...

  • Definitely/absolutely/precisely...

  • I see your point/what you are getting at/exactly what you mean/take your word on it...

  • I’d go along with that view to a point...

  • Sure, that’s one way of looking at it/true/a good point...

  • I have to side with you on this one...

  • You’re right, that’s a good point/convincing...

  • Actually, I think you’re right...

  • Well, I agree with you here...

  • You have my full agreement/took the words right out of my mouth...

  • Disagree

  • I see your point/what you are getting at/agree up to a point, but...

  • You could say that/that’s one way of looking at it, however...

  • I’m afraid I completely disagree/wouldn’t quite put it that way myself...

  • Well, I see things rather differently/still have my doubts...

  • Umm, I’m not sure about that/go along with that view...

  • You’ve got to be kidding...

  • Well, I can't/don't go along/really agree/find that very difficult to accept...

  • We don’t seem to agree here/be in complete agreement...

  • That’s out of the question/not always true...

  • There is no way I could agree with that...

  • Interrupt/take turns

  • Sorry to cut you off/interrupt, but can you let me finish...

  • If I might interrupt/add something...

  • Can I throw my two cents in/add/say something here...

  • Do you mind if I add something/jump in for a moment...

  • Excuse me for a second/for interrupting, are you telling that/but/in my opinion...

  • Sorry, but I’m not done yet/let me finish what I have to say first...

  • Well, that reminds me that/if that is the case...

  • Wait a minute/so, you’re telling me...

  • Before you go/move on, I would like to add something here...

  • Just a moment. I’d like to say/don’t mean to intrude, but...

Conducting a Group Discussion Solutions

To perform well, the candidates must fulfil the given task very competently. They also have to display very confident control of language and show the ability to contribute to the discussion very efficiently. This video is an authentic recording from Google Meet of a group of diploma students who were sitting for their group discussion at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. The instructions for the candidates are:

  1. You are given one (1) minute to read the stimulus.

  2. You are given two (2) minutes to prepare your responses.

  3. Your group is given ten (10) minutes for the discussion.

  4. In your discussion, you are required to do the following:

  5. Present and justify your personal views.

  6. Support and oppose the other candidates’ views with valid justification.

  7. Decide which of the following suggestions is the best at the end of the discussion.

In a group discussion, everyone should be given an equal opportunity to take a turn. It begins with one person speaking and continues as the speaker gives up control to the next person. Turn-taking is a cyclical process. If the current speaker asks a question, trails off, and indicates that he or she has done with a closing remark like "that's all...", use appropriate turn-taking strategies for someone else to take over.

Besides, it is important to make sure that the talkative member(s) do not dominate the discussion. Hence, use appropriate interrupting strategies such as asking for permission to jump in, apologising for the interruption, and chiming in with relevant points. Otherwise, the quiet individual(s) will have less or no chance to express their ideas.


To do more practice, below are the adopted past year speaking tests in the form of group discussions with different situations (as stated in a) and tasks (as stated in b) for four candidates.

  1. Practice 1

  2. One study conducted during the COVID-19 outbreak revealed that students’ stress levels increased particularly during the Movement Control Order (MCO). This has affected the students’ academic performance to some extent.

  3. In your group, discuss which of the following is the most effective strategy for students to deal with stress.

  4. Prioritising work

  5. Seeking help from lecturers

  6. Seeking help from parents

  7. Staying connected with friends

  8. Practice 2

  9. The semester break has just started and you plan to go for a holiday. A close friend proposes a visit to Langkawi, Malaysia. However, you do not have sufficient funds to travel.

  10. In your group, discuss which of the following suggestions is the best way to generate income for your vacation.

  11. Giving tuition

  12. Selling baked items

  13. Conducting online classes

  14. Taking up freelance projects

  15. Practice 3

  16. Malaysia has the highest obesity rate among Asian countries. Obesity can lead to life-threatening health problems such as cancer and diabetes.

  17. In your group, discuss which of the following is the best way to prevent obesity.

  18. Enrolling in a dance class

  19. Engaging in a sport activity

  20. Choosing healthy food options

  21. Finding ways to alleviate stress

  22. Practice 4

  23. Your university has introduced a dress code for students to maintain a professional appearance. However, some students ignore the rules as they feel more comfortable in their own attire which may be inappropriate.

  24. In your group, discuss which of the following is the most effective way to get students to adhere to the university’s dress code to maintain professionalism.

  25. Impose a penalty

  26. Issue warning letters

  27. Advise students regularly

  28. Create awareness of the university’s dress code

  29. Practice 5

  30. The recent Covid-19 pandemic has forced many people to shop online. You think this creates a great opportunity for students to generate income through online businesses.

  31. In your group, discuss which of the following is the best strategy to prepare yourself to create an online business.

  32. Improve computer skills

  33. Conduct a survey among consumers

  34. Take part in webinars

  35. Enrol in online marketing courses

  36. Practice 6

  37. Personality is the combination of characteristics or qualities that form an individual's unique character. It is often influenced by others around him/her.

  38. In your group, discuss who has the greatest influence on an individual’s personality.

  39. Friends

  40. Parents

  41. Lecturers

  42. Famous personalities

  43. Practice 7

  44. Nowadays, almost everyone has social media accounts. However, many are not aware that sharing too many personal details on social media accounts can be risky and dangerous. So, it is important to be careful when using social media.

  45. In your group, discuss which of the following is the most effective step that can be taken when using social media.

  46. Avoid sharing live location

  47. Set the account to private

  48. Refrain sharing photos of family members

  49. Approve friend requests from familiar contacts

  50. Practice 8

  51. Statistics have shown that internet addiction among youngsters is on the rise. Various effects have been associated with this issue which includes poor academic achievements, violent behaviours, and mental illnesses. In order to prevent this problem from escalating, proper measures should be taken.

  52. In your group, discuss which of the following would be the most effective way to help students control their internet addiction.

  53. Delete mobile applications that are addictive

  54. Spend more time with family members and friends

  55. Limit the internet usage by scheduling time spent online

  56. Develop new interests such as reading and gardening

  57. Practice 9

  58. Your sibling has been given the opportunity to further his/her studies in a prestigious university overseas on a government scholarship. Your family is very proud of your sibling’s achievement. Decide on a special gift for his/her trip abroad.

  59. In your group, discuss which of the following is the most useful gift for your sibling to prepare for his/her trip abroad.

  60. A laptop

  61. Some cash

  62. Suitable clothing

  63. Pre-packed local food

  64. Practice 10

  65. Most of us had pets when we were young and this experience has taught us to develop certain positive characteristics. Discuss positive characteristics developed in individuals by having pets.

  66. In your group, discuss which of the following is the most developed positive value in an individual by having pets.

  67. Caring

  68. Good hygiene

  69. Self-discipline

  70. Responsibility

  71. Practice 11

  72. Most of us have friends we depend on during bad times. We share our problems with them when facing various challenges in life. Discuss the important characteristics one should look for in a friend.

  73. In your group, discuss which of the following is the most important characteristic one should look for in a friend.

  74. Cheerful

  75. Caring

  76. Helpful

  77. Honest

  78. Practice 12

  79. Cheating in tests or assignments among university students is becoming too frequent. Most of the students do not realise that this academic dishonesty is wrong. If caught, severe actions can be taken against the students involved.

  80. In your group, discuss which of the following is the most effective way to prevent cheating in tests or assignments.

  81. Having group discussions

  82. Consulting class lecturers

  83. Revising lecture notes regularly

  84. Practising good time management

  85. Practice 13

  86. Many snatch thefts happen in public places. These incidents are very disturbing as they affect our safety. There are many ways to avoid being a snatch theft victim.

  87. In your group, discuss which one of the following is the most effective way to avoid being a snatch theft victim.

  88. Keeping an eye on your belongings.

  89. Refraining from putting on expensive jewellery.

  90. Refraining from walking along dark and isolated pathways.

  91. Walking among the crowd.

  92. Practice 14

  93. Your class has been assigned to form groups for a new project. You and your friends are discussing ways to ensure the success of your group project. There are many ways to ensure the success of the group project.

  94. In your group, discuss which one of the following is the best way to ensure the success of the group project.

  95. Playing their roles accordingly.

  96. Distributing the task equally.

  97. Managing time wisely.

  98. Understanding each other's strengths and weaknesses.

  99. Practice 15

  100. Cyberbullying is a serious issue that influences the lives of the victims. There are many ways to prevent cyberbullying.

  101. In your group, discuss which one of the following is the most effective way to prevent cyberbullying.

  102. Keeping personal information private.

  103. Not opening unidentified messages.

  104. Logging out of your online accounts.

  105. Not posting pictures that may cause trouble.

  106. Practice 16

  107. Many teenagers like to spend time having meals and meeting up with friends and family members at fast-food restaurants. There are many reasons fast-food restaurants are favoured.

  108. In your group, discuss which one of the following is the main reason that attracts people to fast­-food restaurants.

  109. Variety of food served.

  110. Continuous promotions offered.

  111. Fast service provided.

  112. Good facilities provided.

To share your thoughts by leaving a comment on this post, kindly sign up as a member by filling in your details in the Contact below.

3,076 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page