Appearing for Group Discussion

Group Discussion or GD as is commonly referred to, is akin to a football game, where one has to shine himself/herself as well as take the team along.

A Group Discussion at a B-School is normally a formal discussion involving ten to 12 participants in a group. They are given a topic. After about 3-4 minutes, during which time they (the participants) collect their thoughts, the group is asked to discuss the topic for 20 to 25 minutes. B-Schools use the GD process to assess a candidate's personality traits.

Leadership : The first and foremost quality a candidate should exhibit is leadership qualities in a group discussion.

  • In a group discussion, the candidate should seize the initiative right from the word go. The key is to be well read on the current socio-political scenario and the economic conditions.
  • In a group discussion, the candidate has to maintain a pleasing body-language throughout the group-discussion. Habits like playing with pen or shuffling in the seat or making any kind of noise or crossing arms or legs are a strict no-no.
  • In a group discussion when the time is given to prepare for the topic, the candidate should make sure that he/she makes enough points to last for the entire duration even if some of his ideas are taken up by other candidates.
  • In a group discussion, the candidate should maintain the lead seized by taking on the initiative. Many a times the contestants initiate the discussion only to lose their fizz next. Either they do not have much to speak after a few minutes or they take to mere coordination. Both the situations should be avoided. Ideally, the initiator should be able to provide leads to the discussion rather than being a mere facilitator.
  • If some candidate wants to contribute something to the discussion but is not getting a chance, try to involve him in the discussion. On the other hand, if a candidate is unwilling to speak do not push him because it would appear as if you are insulting him/her.
  • At the same time try to inspire the group for some out of the box solution. However, be sure of the logical culmination of such solution.
Communication Skills

In a group discussion, the power of expressions is at test. In a group discussion, a candidate has to talk effectively so that he is able to convey his thoughts and convince others about them. For convincing, one has to speak effectively. One can be pleasant and yet effectively put forth his view points. Remember you are Not expected to know each and every thing about each and every topic. At the same time, the candidate has to create an impact by effective presentation of his knowledge of the subject. A candidate who is successful in holding the attention of the audience creates a positive impact.

  • You should have ability to listen as well as. Do not put your point as if you are interrupting somebody. First be sure, what you want to say, bring a coherency in your ideas and then proceed. While putting your ideas, you should appear to continue the discussion and do not attempt to bring a disjuncture in a group discussion. If you attempt at one then be sure to carry that thought to a logical culmination.
  • In a group discussion, make sure that you are not taking up all the time by stammering or by taking up long pauses. One it creates bad impression and shows lack of confidence and secondly, the moment you do so, the lead may be taken up by some other candidate.
  • You should address the group as a whole and not appear to be looking to some particular person.
  • Do not be loud as if appear to scream. At the same time, be loud enough so that everybody hears you clearly.
  • Do not try to put a fake accent. Be your normal self. Putting up accent often leads to stammering.
  • Be clear about your ideas before you speak and do not lie about facts and figures.
  • It is not a war so avoid making personal remarks and overtly aggressive. At the same time be positive and try to seize initiative.
Emotional Quotient
  • In a group discussion, a candidate must remember to keep his emotions under check. On any given topic, emotions should be kept strictly under check. For e.g. should India go to war with Pakistan? Alternatively, how should Indian Cricket team be dealt with? On topics like these, a balanced view backed up with rationale should be taken rather than being charged up emotionally. These types of questions or topics are designed to test the emotional quotient of the candidate.
  • The candidate must leave scope for flexibility. If at the last moment, some other candidate come up with a very strong point contradicting your stand then you will be in a fix. So, leave little room for maneuvering.
  • At the same time try to take, some stand and do not appear to vacillate. This shows that the candidate is lacking in character to take decision.
Be Well Prepared
  • The candidate must start preparing for group-discussion, just after the written examination. Do not wait till the call-letter. You may not get adequate time. It important to concentrate on subjects of your graduation as well as general knowledge and general awareness. Hence, the prime need for thorough preparation. Remember, the competition is very tough.
  • It may so happen that you are called for interviews and group discussions from three or four organizations but are not selected by any. The reason obviously lies in your not being well-prepared.
  • In a group discussion, you may be given a topic and asked to form an opinion on it. Alternatively, in a case study GD, students have to read a case study and suggest ways and means to solve the issue. For this you should have a good general knowledge, you need to be aware of the current affairs, should regularly read newspapers and magazines. Your group behaviour and communication skills are on test, i.e. how you convince the others and how clearly you are able to express your point of view. You should be articulate, generate ideas, avoid being repetitive, should give others to speak, and take a position on a given subject. During the course of the GD this stand can even be changed, giving the impression that you are open to accommodate others' viewpoints.

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