Do’s And Dont’s For Group Discussion

GD is an effective tool in problem-solving, decision making and personality assessment. Participants should know how to speak with confidence, how to exhibit leadership skills and how to make the group achieve the goals.

The panel which normally comprises of experts will observe and evaluate the members of the team. The panel does not interfere during the discussion, it only observes. The panel at its discretion may provide some time to think over the topic or may ask to start immediately. Each candidate is supposed to express his opinion either supporting or against the topic.

There are four major areas of evaluation in GDs:

•         Subject Knowledge

•         Communication Skills

•         Leadership Skills

•         Team Management

SUBJECT KNOWLEDGE – Participants must possess a thorough understanding of the topic provided in the GD. As a member of the group, you are expected to contribute substantially to the discussion.

  • Be abreast of the current events, national and international affairs, burning social and economic topics, scientific and environmental issues, newspapers’ controversial topics.
  • To update yourself, read daily newspapers, good magazines, national and international journals and also watch the news and informative programmes on the television.
  • The originality of your ideas, knowledge, creativity and approach to the topic or case contributes to your success.
  • The greater your knowledge of the subject, the more enthusiastic and confident you will be during the discussion.
  • Once you have understood the topic or issue, you should be able to generate ideas as well as organize them so that you present it well.

COMMUNICATION SKILLS – Communication skills are vital as, without expression, the knowledge is of no use. As the exchange of ideas in a group discussion takes place through oral speech, one of the pre-requisites of success in a GD is the ability to speak confidently and convincingly.

  • Good communication skills include:
  • Active listening,
  • Clarity of thought and expression
  • Proper non-verbal clues
  • Language

Listening Skills: Listening is as significant as speaking in a GD unless you listen, you cannot contribute to the stated purpose of communication. Only active participation as a listener in a group makes a person a good leader.

Clarity of thought and expression: Clarity is the art of making yourself clear to the audience.

  • Only when your expressions are clear, you can convince your team and the panel.
  • More than words, it is the tone in which they are spoken that conveys the message.
  • You should not be too loud or too soft.
  • A lively and cheerful voice with appropriate modulations will attract the audience.
  • Proper articulation of words, achieved through phonetic accuracy is very essential slang, and artificial accents are to be avoided.

Proper non-verbal clues: Non-verbal clues include eye contact, body movements, gestures and facial expressions. The panel generally evaluates the body language cues of the team to determine personality factors such as nervousness, co-operation, frustration, weakness, insecurity, self-confidence, defensiveness, etc.

  • A candidate who appears professional is more likely to be noticed by the panel.
  • A confident posture, appropriate facial expressions and meaningful eye contact with the team will create a good expression.

Language: The flow of language must be smooth.

  • Use simple language and avoid long winding sentences.
  • Appropriateness of language demands that there should be no errors in grammar. Do not use unfamiliar phrases and flowery language.
  • Be precise.
  • Be polite and courteous.

LEADERSHIP SKILLS – The success of any team depends to a larger extent on its leader. The panel evaluates a candidate’s personal skills which allow him to prove himself as a natural leader in the GD.

  • A leader emerges, there is no appointed leader in a GD
  • Assertiveness, emotional stability, objectivity, self-confidence, decision making, discretion, initiative, good communication skills, patience, persuasiveness and adaptability are some of the leadership qualities that are immensely useful in proving oneself as a natural leader in GD.
  • Leaders should know how to deal with the ‘bulldozers’, who make noise but do not have any logic.

TEAM MANAGEMENT – Your group behaviour is reflected in your ability to interact with the other members of the group.

  • You must be mature enough to not lose your temper even if you are proved wrong. You must be patient and balanced.
  • Your success in a GD depends on how well you play the role of initiator, information seeker, information giver, procedure facilitator, opinion seeker, opinion giver, clarifier, summarizer, social-supporter, tension reliever, compromiser, attacker, humourist and dominator.
  • The selection panel notes the differences in the amount of participation of the members.
  • They observe the silent spectators, the ever dominating but not contributing much, member who participates actively exhibiting his knowledge and the moderate ones.
  • Your ability lies in analysing the problem well and making others endorse your view. Finally while appreciating others point of view, you should effectively present yours without contradicting other’s opinions.
  • Your ability in convincing the team is your success
  • You have to understand the other persons’ point of view while making your point and ensure that your team as a whole reaches a solution or agreement that is both feasible and accepted by all team members.

Generic tips

  • On the day of GD, dress in comfortable clothes that are simply you
  • Be confident but avoid being overconfident
  • Speak loudly and clearly
  • Use easy-to-understand English
  • Try to contribute throughout the discussion
  • Be very sure of what you are speaking
  • Be positive and prepare your thoughts well
  • Talk sense. Avoid superficial talk
  • Listen carefully and speak only at the     appropriate time
  • Do not be deterred by other members aggressive     or submissive behaviour
  • Put up diverse viewpoints
  • Put forth your points without being aggressive
  • Give due importance to other person views.     However, stick to the point you have made. Try to support it with more viewpoints.
  • Do not allow yourself to be diverted by other people’s     points
  • Do not be distracted. Your concentration     should be solely on the discussion
  • If you do not know something, do not speak
  • Do not get excited or aggressive during the discussion. Try to maintain a balanced tone throughout
  • Do not repeat a point, or be lengthy or irrelevant.
  • Also intervene, if someone else is going on an irrelevant track.
  • Try to be the first and the last to speak
  • Read as much as possible. Have good and sound knowledge on numerous topics.
  • Improve your vocabulary.
  • Use quotes, facts and figures, statements, everyday life examples to express a clear chain of thoughts. Also, it might leave a good impression on the examiner and help you score well.

Ms. Parul Raj

Asst. Professor (JIMS Rohini

Posts created 128

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