Group Discussion is a very important round in any selection process, be it for an MBA course, campus recruitment or for any graduate/post graduate degree. The selection committee conducts GD to gauge whether the candidate has certain personality traits and/or skills that it desires in its members, say for example
§ Ability to work in a team
§ Communication skills
§ Leadership skills
§ Reasoning ability
§ Ability to think and act independently
Normally groups of 8-10 candidates are formed into a leaderless group, and are given a specific situation to analyse and discuss within a given time limit. The group may be given a Case Study and asked to come out with a solution for a problem. The group may be given a topic and asked to discuss on the same. A panel will observe the proceedings and evaluate the members of the group.
Let’s discuss few relevant points which one should remember while appearing for a GD. One needs to know what one’s objective in the group is—- to be noticed by the panel and to contribute meaningfully in an attempt to help the group reach the right consensus.
1) The first thing is that the panel should notice you. Merely making a meaningful contribution and helping the group arrive at a consensus is not enough.
· You must ensure that the group hears you. If the group hears you, so will the evaluator.
· You need to be assertive. It depends on you how you steer the group in the right direction, once it gets stuck to something. This gives you the chance to showcase your leadership skills.
· Most importantly, you have to make your chances. Many group discussion participants often complain that they did not get a chance to speak. The fact is that in no group discussion will you get a chance to speak. There is nothing more unacceptable in a GD than keeping one’s mouth shut or just murmuring things which are inaudible.
2) The second most essential thing is that your contribution to the group should be meaningful. For that you need to have a good knowledge base. You should be able to think logically and hence put forth you ideas cohesively. The quality of what you said is more valuable than the quantity. It doesn’t help if you shout at the top of your voice and speak at great length, what matters most is what you speak and how it creates an impact on the group as well as the evaluators.
3) The last most important thing is that you must be clearly seen to be attempting to build a consensus. This shows your ability to work in a team, your ability to adjust yourself in new surroundings and help others in your team to reach a definite conclusion amidst difference of opinions. After all this is what all Group Discussions aim at: To be able to discuss and arrive at a consensus.
To be able to meet the above requirements during a Group Discussion, one should keep in mind the following basic mantras:
a) Be Yourself. Be as natural as possible and don’t try to be someone you are not.
b) Take time to organize your thoughts. Don’t suddenly jump to any conclusion. Think before you speak so that you don’t speak anything irrelevant to the topic being discussed.
c) Don’t make the mistake of looking at the panel while you are speaking. You are in a Group Discussion and you are expected to discuss among group members, so always look at your group members while you are speaking.
d) Seek clarifications if you have any doubts regarding the subject, before the discussion commences.
e) Your body language says a lot about you – your gestures and mannerisms are more likely to reflect your attitude than what you say.
f) Never try to show your dominance. Be assertive, speak yourself and let others speak as well.
g) Don’t lose your cool if anyone says anything you object to. The key is to stay objective: Don’t take the discussion personally.
h) Show your leadership skills. Motivate the other members of the team to speak. Be receptive to others’ opinions and do not be abrasive or aggressive.
i) Remember, 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.
Don’t be disheartened if you did not do well in your First Group Discussion. Instead try to learn from your past mistakes. Remember,
Practice makes man perfect!!!!!