“You never ever get a second chance to create a first impression”
Group discussion is the assessment of your language proficiency, interpersonal skill, general awareness, subject knowledge etc. It also helps evaluator or examiner to judge your confidence level, attitude, enthusiasm, leadership quality, patience, decisiveness, critical thinking ability, smartness etc.
In a GD you should confine yourself to express only your views; it’s not a debating stage, so. In fact, a systematic GD can be divided into two parts with respect to the given time. In the first half, candidates can share their views one by one and in the remaining half or second part of the discussion, candidates can exercise their choice in agreeing, disagreeing or remaining neutral about the topic. Most often, candidates don’t prefer this pattern and start speaking randomly. Now let’s briefly summarize dos and don’ts of an impressive GD:
- Initiate the GD
It is believed that initiating a GD will be very beneficial. And of course it is, but only if you have enough acquaintance, facts & figure relevant to the topic. Otherwise do not start GD just to grab the attention of the evaluator because it may hamper your impression in the beginning.
Tip: To make a better first impression you can use quotes, definition, shock statement, questions and short story related to the topic.
Idea: Try to generate questions from the topic itself, if the topic is “Reservation is a boon or a curse” then to start a discussion you can generate questions like: What is reservation? Why is reservation? How it started? And then, define them. Another example: “Should Narendra Modi become Prime Minister of India”, then you can generate questions like: What should be the qualities of a Prime Minister? Who is Mr. Narendra Modi? What has he done so far so that his name being suggested as PM Candidate?
Caution: Remember, when you initiate a GD, it becomes your responsibility to take the discussion in a right direction. If you start GD, then never start it with a conclusion that you are in favour or against the topic. It’s just the beginning and topic is yet to be discussed at length and to be concluded in the end.
2) Body Language: Be confident, stay positive and keep your interest in discussion. Positive nonverbal gestures will bring you more marks. For example: your eye contact with all the team members during discussion will give them a feeling that you are speaking to them, nodding while appreciating others views will also be a good indication. Don’t play the role of devil’s advocate.
Caution: Do not use slang, abusive language, do not smirk or insult any member and do not show that you are having a Mr. Don’t care type character.
3) Be a Good Listener: Listen every member with proper attention and better if you can make a note of useful points.
Idea: An unfamiliar topic of GD may make you anxious. And, you feel defeated even before the starting of GD. But, don’t lose confidence and start listening to other members carefully. After gaining proper insights about the topic you can intervene or you can also conclude the GD in a better way.
4) Don’t wait for your turn: don’t wait for your turn while GD is going on. You can interrupt politely with your points. You can steer the GD in the proper direction if another candidate diverts GD from its topic.
Caution: Politeness is good but don’t be over polite. Do not ask for permission from any member to speak. Everyone has equal rights to speak and nobody is mentor among the group.
5) Let others also speak: Remember, every member has right to speak and put his/her opinion. If you do not agree with their thoughts then make a note of it and speak during your own turn. Even, motivating other GD members to put forward their idea is also a good practice and may increase your points.
Caution: If a candidate is not at all willing to speak, you should not unnecessarily force him to put forward his views.
6) Coordinate GD: There is no formal declared coordinator of a GD among all the participating candidates. But, by good leadership skills, you can make yourself coordinator of GD. The main role of the coordinator is to start the GD in a proper manner, keep track of time limit, motivate everyone to participate, avoid diversion etc.
Caution: To be only a coordinator of Group Discussion does not help so much, because it is a secondary role. You have to contribute significantly in the GD to gain points.
7) No Anger or Aggression: Speak clearly, in a polite manner without any anger or aggression. It is often seen that many candidates speak very aggressively if they are not satisfied with the opinion of another member. But, it shows lack of empathy and patience in your behaviour. It seems you are trying to force your opinion on others.
8) Don’t Divert: Don’t divert the discussion in the wrong direction and if any member does so, take the initiative and ask them to come on to the topic.
Instance: E.g. during a GD on “Women are better Managers” a male guy said “Women are more emotional and having less leadership skills than their counterparts”, while he wasn’t done with his statement, a female candidate got charged and interrupted him instantly and started defending females aggressively and diverted from the topic. This makes a wrong impression of that candidate on evaluators.
9) Talk Less Say More: Speaking more will not bring points while short, sensible, and relevant thoughts are more appreciable. E.g. quotes, facts and figures, axioms will summarize more stuff in small statements.
10) Time bound: To complete a GD in a time frame is also very important so candidate must be aware of remaining time and conclude the GD.
11) Conclusion: A conclusion can be reached when all the members of GD agreed in favour or against GD. But, most of the time it does not happen. You must keep in mind following points while summarizing GD:
- Keep it brief and concise
- Do not raise new points
- Do not state only a single side of GD especially your views.
- It must include all the important points discussed during the GD.
Best scoring points in GD:
- Initiation of discussion
- Creative/ analytical thinking
- Keeping discussion on track
- Conclusion on time
- Patience to hear others, politeness to put your ideas, and motivating others to put forward their ideas.
About GD topics
Usually GD topics are based upon current affairs like performance of Indian teams in recent Olympic Games, Violence in Jammu-Kashmir, economic slowdown etc. All-time hit controversial topics like India vs. Pakistan, age of retirement need to be increased, Indian education system etc. are also popular. Sometime case studies based topics may also be given like: discussion on a particular merging of a company, launch of a new product etc.
Abstract Topic: In some specific cases abstract topics may be given like: sky is blue, number 7 etc. These topics just explore the creative thinking and imagination of candidate.
Positive and Negative qualities of a personality