What is Group Discussion?
Group Discussion is a methodology or in a simple language you may call it an interview process or a group activity. It is used as one of the best tools to select the prospective candidates in a comparative perspective. GD may be used by an interviewer at an organization, colleges or even at different types of management competitions.
A GD is a methodology used by an organization to gauge whether the candidate has certain personality traits and/or skills that it desires in its members. In this methodology, the group of candidates is given a topic or a situation, given a few minutes to think about the same, and then asked to discuss the topic among themselves for 15-20 minutes.Now a days most of the companies are conducting Group Discussions mainly to filter the candidates based on their communication and interpersonal skills.
Today, group discussion (GD) is a very important round in any selection process , campus recruitment or for any graduate/post graduate degree. In the job arena, various companies utilize this selection tool in different ways, like some conduct GD after the written test and before the interview, others may conduct it even before the written test. Whatever, be the pattern, the reason is the same. It is used as a tool to gauge whether the candidate has certain personality traits or skills that the company or the institution desires in its members.
Types of Group Discussion
Topic-based group discussions:
In topic based group discussions, the group members are given a topic to discuss. A topic is typically in the form of a statement (some times, the statement may not be complete. for example, the topic could be worded “The biggest problem faced by our country is………”). By the end of the discussion, the group should strive to arrive at a consensus on the issue that is covered by the topic
Case-based group discussion:
In case studies, a short description of a situation (called a “case”) is given to all the participants. The case will typically be a problem situation that requires a solution. The participants have to study thecase, analyze the problem and then discuss various situations to the problem.
Article-based group discussions:
Article-based GD cover wide range of areas, like current affairs, politics, economics, technology etc………….The participants are given 4-5 minutes to read the article and are then asked to hold a regular group discussion of around 10-15 minutes on the article.
knowledge based topics:
Knowledge based topics require of you some topical knowledge. An example is “India should withdraw from WTO” Here unless you know something about the WTO, what other countries have done, what India’s view are on the matter etc…., you will not be able to speak effectively . Knowledge-based topics mostly cover current economic issues as well as current non-economic issues.
Some of the personality traits the GD is trying to gauge may include
- Communication skills
- Interpersonal Skills
- Leadership Skills
- Motivational Skills
- Team Building Skills
- Analytical /Logical Skills
- Reasoning ability
- Different Thinking
- Ability to think on ones feet
Different techniques to initiate a GD and make a good first impressions are
- Shock statement
- Facts, figures and statistics
- Short story
- General statement
It’s now time to crack the Group Discussion ( Preparation Tips )
Group discussions are an important part of the selection process.You have passed the intelligence test, with GD, your oratory and communication skills along with your problem solving skills will be tested.
1) Adequate matter/ Subject matter is essential :
You should have subject knowledge and be well aware of the latest happenings around you, not just in India but around the world as well. To be in a better position, make sure that you have in-depth knowledge on the subject. Subject knowledge is a pre-requisite while you are preparing for a group discussion because you will then have the power to steer the conversation to whichever direction you want to. If you can memorize some relevant data, it will be an added advantage.
2) Make Sure you Read Widely :
Being an avid reader will help you in group discussions. Last minute preparations strictly a no no, while you are preparing for group discussions. You should read over a period of time. Reading not only adds to your knowledge database, but enhances your vocabulary skills as well. Plus reading over a period of time, helps in your understanding of a particular subject/ topic better.
3) Choose Magazines that are Rich in Content :
Always opt for magazines that are content rich and not just full of advertisements. Often magazines have columns which are promoting a particular institute etc. Avoid such magazines, do some research and buy the best that will be beneficial for you in the long run.
4) Be Aware of Topics that are Repeated :
Often, there are topics which re-appear with minute changes and minor variations. Be aware of such topics well in advance so that you have ample time to prepare for the same. For example the issues of terrorism, gender inequality, poverty, Ayodhya conflict, liberalization and privatization, reservations in educational institutions etc often appear as GD topics. Make sure you know these topics well and can come up with some unique, insightful points along with dates, stating facts.
5) Work on your Communication Skills :
You should be well versed in your communication skills. You should have a good vocabulary and a decent command over English. Much before your actual group discussion, rehearse well. You can sit with a group of friends and choose a topic and indulge in a friendly banter. Not only will this increase your knowledge, you will be a better speaker by the time it is time for your GD.
Do’s of a Group Discussion
– Be Yourself
You should try to be as natural as possible. Do not try & be someone you are not.
– Speak Out
Make the best of this opportunity, the evaluator wants to hear you speak. A GD is a chance to be more vocal.
– Think before you speak
Take time to organize your thoughts. Think of what you are going to say.
– Seek clarification
If you are not clear and you have doubts regarding the subject, ask for clarification before the GD begins.
– Be confident before you speak
Don’t start speaking until you have clearly understood and analyzed the subject.
– Begin smartly
Work out various strategies to help you make an entry, initiate the discussion or agree with someone else’s point and then move onto express your views.
– Adding valuable thoughts
Opening the discussion is not the only way of gaining attention and recognition. If you do not give valuable insights during the discussion, all your efforts of initiating the discussion will be in vain.
– Good body language
Your body language says a lot about you – your gestures and mannerisms are more likely to reflect your attitude than what you say.
– Usage of effective language
Language skills are important only to the effect as to how you get your points across clearly and fluently.
– Maintain your tone while communicating
Be assertive not dominating; try to maintain a balanced tone in your discussion and analysis.
– Be Patience
Don’t lose your cool if anyone says anything you object to. The key is to stay objective: Don’t take the discussion personally.
– Be polite
Try to avoid using extreme phrases like: `I strongly object’ or `I disagree’. Instead try phrases like: `I would like to share my views on…’ or `One difference between your point and mine…’ or “I beg to differ with you”
– Motivating others to speak
This will demonstrate your leadership skills. You may motivate the other team members to speak but you need to identify the right time to do that. Also, don’t keep repeating the same thing as you may lose your time to speak and this may show too much of leadership. Be receptive to others opinions and do not be abrasive or aggressive.
– Be the first and also the Last to Speak
Initiating a GD is an advantage.Closing it too also adds brownie points. If you can grab the opportunity to close the discussion, then you should summarize it.If the group has not reached a conclusion try concluding it .