A group discussion consists of :
It is necessary that you should be precise and clear. As a rule evaluators do not look for the wordage produced. Your knowledge on a given subject, your precision and clarity of thought are the things that are evaluated. Irrelevant talks lead you nowhere. You should speak as much as necessary, neither more nor less. Group discussions are not debating stages.
Ability to listen are also what evaluators judge. They look for your ability to react on what other participants say. Hence, it is necessary that you listen carefully to others and then react or proceed to add some more points. Your behaviour in the group is also put to test. Whether you a loner or can work in a group.
You should be able to convey your thoughts satisfactorily and convincingly before a group of people. Confidence and level headedness in doing so is necessary. These add value to your presentation. In case you are not good at it, you might gain by joining an institute that offers specialized courses in public speaking. For instance, British Council Division's English Language Teaching Centre offers a wide range of courses like conversation skills, business communication skills, business writing, negotiation skills and presentation skills. Mostly people attend these courses to improve their communication skills. Students here are involved in activities which use communication skills and teachers provide inputs, monitor and facilitate the classes. The course at the Centre makes you confident enough to speak before people without any nervousness.
Knowledge and Ideas Regarding a Given Subject
Leadership and Coordinating Capabilities
Exchange of Thoughts
The purpose is to get an idea about candidates in a short time and make assessments about their skills, which normally cannot be evaluated in an interview. These skills may be team membership, leadership skills, listening and articulation skills.
A note is made of your contributions to the discussion, comprehension of the main idea, the rapport you strike, patience, assertion, accommodation, amenability, etc. Body language and eye contact too are important points which are to be considered. .
Addressing the Group as a Whole
Address the person farthest from you. If he can hear you everyone else too can. Needless to add, as for interview, attend the group discussion in formal dress. The language used should also be formal, not the language used in normal conversations. For instance, words and phrases like "yar", "chalta hai", "CP", "I dunno", etc. are out . This is not to say you should use a high sounding , pedantic language. Avoiding both , Just use formal, plain and simple language. Hinglish, (mixture of Hindi and English) should be discarded.
Confidence and coolness while presenting your viewpoint are of help. See that you do not keep repeating a point. Do not use more words than necessary. Do not be superfluous. Try to be specific. Do not exaggerate.
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 express your views on it. Or in a case study GD, students have to read a case study and suggest ways of tackling the problem. For this you should have a good general knowledge, need to be abreast with 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 points of view? You should be articulate, generate ideas, not sound boring, should allow others to speak adopt a stand 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.
Additional marks may be given for starting or concluding the discussion.
Points to Remember
1.Knowledge is strength. A candidate with good reading habits has more chances of success. In other words, sound knowledge on different topics like politics, finance, economy, science and technology is helpful.
2.Power to convince effectively is another quality that makes you stand out among others.
3.Clarity in speech and expression is yet another essential quality.
4.If you are not sure about the topic of discussion, it is better not to initiate, Lack of knowledge or wrong approach creates a bad impression. Instead, you might adopt the wait and watch attitude. Listen attentively to others, may be you would be able to come up with a point or two later.
5.A GD is a formal occasion where slangs are to avoided.
6.A GD is not a debating stage. Participants should confine themselves to expressing their viewpoints. In the second part of the discussion candidates can exercise their choice in agreeing, disagreeing or remaining neutral.
7.Language use should be simple, direct and straight forward.
8.Don't interrupt a speaker when the session is one. Try to score by increasing your size, not by cutting others short.
9.Maintain rapport with fellow participants. Eye contact plays a major role. Non-verbal gestures, such as listening intently or nodding while appreciating someone's viewpoint speak of you positively.
10.Communicate with each and every candidate present. While speaking don't keep looking at a single member. Address the entire group in such a way that everyone feels you are speaking to him or her.
Group Discussion for MBA Entrance
While selecting the future executives, it would be worth while to look for the following specific skills in the candidate, personal skills, group skills and leadership skills.
While selecting the right candidate, the ability in coherent organization and logical development of thought is looked for. Equally important would be his personal skill of logical and rational reasoning. Again, it would be useful to see whether he is relaxed, pleasant, courteous and co-operative (not cold and aloof.) Moreover, it is extremely important to look for the vital skill of assertiveness (not aggressiveness) in the right candidates.
Guidelines for the Candidates
·Remember to keep the discussion on the subject, or to bring it back to the subject.
·Do not take the discussion on a tangent by adding irrelevant points.
·Do not harp on small points thereby obscuring the critical issues. In this connection, you will have to deal tactfully with irrelevant contributions.
·Similarly, you must remember to control the over-talkative member. Do not allow one or two members to monopolize the discussion.
·It would be useful to develop your ability to make original points that steer the group into discussing other angles to the topic
·You must focus your efforts on consistently making points that will enhance the quality of the discussion.
·Avoid personal arguments.
·Similarly, avoid sub-grouping tendencies. Candidates lacking self-confidence, tend to converse with other members instead of addressing the group directly. It would be useful to draw out group 'members views and experiences which may be relevant and helpful. Hence, get each member to voice a range of opinions all different from your own. Help to activate the thinking process in the group. Also remember to check on the groups assimilation of the subject matter.
·For effective leadership in group discussions conclude each argument at the right time and in the right manner. You should be able to review the highlights of the discussions that the group arrives at during the discussion.
A group discussion can be a very powerful screening device to judge the right candidates. The steps proposed above can go a long way in enhancing the quality and effectiveness of this technique if followed in the right spirit.