Today my team mates and I presented our Group Design Project to a small audience of students and examiners. After 8 months of work, we were now tasked with simplifying and condensing our work to a 30-minute brief. The presentation gave me an opportunity to look at the proceedings of the GDP in a retrospective way.

I am glad that the Universityā€™s programme calls for a group project in our final year compared to the Individual Project in the penultimate year. As most of us edge nearer and nearer to stepping into the professional world, I feel that the GDP is a good platform to honeĀ team building, planning and executiveĀ skills which are fundamental toĀ professional life. I like it because it humbles even the best of students. Some students are very used to relying on themselves and getting the job done. Such scenarios do not teach the importance of collaboration, flexibility and empathy in a work environment. In contrast, I believe that the GDP is primarily about experiencing these elements and only then about gaining specific technical know-how. And so, I present to you a brief outline of my learnings.

Effectiveness in Communication

Conveying a point is easy. However, conveying a point and being heard and registered is another matter. The simultaneous importance of clarity with brevity cannot be stressed on enough; no oneā€™s attention lasts more than a couple of minutes.

The Art of Sternness

We are always walking a tightrope when it comes to people’s perceptions of us in a professional setting. Therefore, in matters where you are convinced that the other party in a discussion needs to be more accepting of your own opinions, it is an art to be firm and resolved in conveying an argument without being condescending or appearing unfriendly. Now this might seem trivial to some of you, but I have noticed that it is a trait that does not come easily to many.

Choose Sides

When it comes to group discussions, many choose to ā€˜appease all partiesā€™. In such a manner, they prevent themselves from having any liabilities when questioned, and at the same time can remain divested from doing specific work. This wastes time and does not help. Choose a side and invest in its proceedings, that way even if it is the wrong one, it can be brought to light earlier. Playing the bad guy or the coroner is a key part of being in a team.

Minimalism and Showmanship

The most mediocre of projects can be elevated due to impressive delivery. Maths and technicality only go so far; beyond that, it requires greater understanding and the correct choice of words to accurately drive home messages: intonation, body-language and gesticulation.

Transparency and Humility

Many a times people fail to come clean with their short comings, failures or lack of understanding. I have come to see how this causes confusion and delays in the long run as no one is aware of the othersā€™ difficulties. Stopping and asking for directions does two things: you get to know where to go, and someone else gets to practice his or her directions.

Getting schooled by the GDP

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