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9 Expert Tips for a Group Discussion

Last Modified : February 13, 2018

Whether it’s a top B-School you want to get admitted in or an MNC you wish to be a part of, Group Discussion is now a part of the selection criteria. It not only judges the personality of a candidate but also helps eliminate those not suiting the company’s requirements. It evaluates a person’s leadership skills, social skills, team skills, problem-solving skills and presence of mind. It requires teamwork, but simultaneously, is also tests individual personalities.

Including GD as a part of the selection not only ensures all-round assessment of candidates but also for their vocational skills and ability to cope with various situations.  As we all are acquainted with the importance of Group Discussions, we help you nail your next round of GD with the expert tips mentioned below:

  1. Back yourself up with knowledge

Back yourself up with knowledge

The topic of a GD could be anything. You need to be prepared for anything and everything from current affairs and historical topics to all latest news and updates in sports, arts & literature. Keep a track of happenings around the world which affect our lives, however remotely, shows a well-rounded personality. Adopt the habit of reading newspapers and magazines alongside watching interesting documentaries and profiles on television to get a wider perspective on issues.

  1. Understand the topic of discussion

Understand the topic of discussion

After the topic has been declared, make sure you understand the topic carefully. If it is not clear or there is some doubt regarding the topic, ask immediately. It is of utmost importance that you ensure you have not misunderstood the topic. Any such discrepancy would hurt your score.

  1. Be Brief but be Precise

Be Brief but be Precise

While speaking, try to be precise and concise in your thoughts. Remember, what you say is more important than how much you say. In a Group Discussion, it is always quality over quantity. Your views should be relevant and to the point, instead of unnecessarily drawn out. Try to make your view stand out from the rest. To paraphrase Shri Rahim Das Ji, where a needle is needed, a sword wouldn’t help.

  1. Get your point across

Get your point across

You may have excellent views on the topic but lack of proper oration skills will result in ineffective communication. In case you lack proper skills, you should work on developing the same. To develop communication skills, you can choose a topic, stand before the mirror and practise talking. As you talk, imagine a few questions from an imaginary audience and reply them.

Analyse your speech, figure out the flaws, and then start working on them. This will help you be a more confident person during the GD. Your aim for the Group Discussion should be to collect your thoughts in a well-structured manner and put them across to the team and the assessors in an effective way.

  1. Take the first initiative

Take the first initiative

Try to initiate the Group Discussion, if possible. By taking the initiative, you will be giving a structure to the discussion and define the manner in which the discussion will progress. You will exhibit your leadership qualities as a person who can facilitate actions by breaking the ice. But be careful, only attempt being the lead only if you possess the knowledge to shape the discussion. If you take the initiative of being the lead and somehow you are unable to pull it through, your impression will be negative.

  1. Don’t be aggressive

Don’t be aggressive

Some people believe that to win a discussion, you need to be aggressive. This belief is wrong.  Be a gentle human, not a wild bear! Winners aren’t aggressive, but rather they are assertive. There is a fine dividing line between the two. An aggressive person is extremely dominating, raising their voice, and they usually don’t listen to or understand other people's view. An assertive person, on the other hand, will put across their points strongly and rationally. So, do not be aggressive in the GD. Instead, be assertive.

  1. Support your views with facts and references

Support your views with facts and references

During the discussion, choose your points in a manner that conveys your depth of knowledge. Try to draw references to different situations or incidents. Citing relevant examples will greatly further your cause. However, be very sure of the validity of any statistic or fact that you quote. Stating wrong facts or irrelevant pieces of information would instead drag your score down. You can also quote literary works like Shakespeare, or mythological works like Ramayana, as it lends gravitas to your speech. Make sure you study and research well before the discussion.

  1. Understanding dynamics in the group

Understanding dynamics in the group

In a group discussion, try to be in control of the discussion. It isn’t an easy task, as most of the group members would be trying to do the same. One way is to follow the discussion keenly and try to pitch in wherever you can provide relevant information. Try to put a few good points forth and steer the discussion in your direction. Do not force your points. If someone expresses a disagreement on your points, try to counter them with even more valid points. This will not only exhibit your knowledge but also show that you are a great listener. Let others too have a chance to speak. If someone has not contributed, ask that person if they have something to add. This will showcase your ability as a team player.

  1. End with a logical conclusion

End with a logical conclusion

Near the end of the discussion, try to conclude it by restating the points that everyone has made and arriving at the nearest logical conclusion. Take the stage for yourself and frame the conclusion, and deliver it with confidence. This will bring forth your analytical skills and also highlight the way you structure your thoughts.

Hopefully this article answers all the queries you had about group discussions. With entrance examinations round every corner, your preparation for GD should also be in full swing. All the best!