Group Discussion (GD) is an essential part of an MBA College selection process. A GD is conducted to test various managerial skills such as communication, leadership, rational, analytical, interpersonal, etc. There are many ways in which you can make your performance impressive and effective in a GD.
So, how do you ensure that the panellists notice you during a Group Discussion? Starting a GD is a great move towards grabbing the attention of the panellists. Initiating a GD successfully is the first and most direct chance for a student to bring out several traits such as preparedness, initiative and leadership, and impress upon the group (and moderators) the plan and direction of the discussion to follow. But be careful of what you speak while starting a GD, as that may make or break your chances of getting through to the Personal Interview round for top MBA colleges. Once the topic is announced, take a moment to absorb the topic of GD and start by saying something relevant to the topic. Then initiate the GD as most of your fellow members would probably be trying to understand the topic too.
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How and Why to Start a GD?
- By beginning a Group Discussion, you not only seize an opportunity to speak but also you grab everybody’s attention.
- By starting a GD, you will get maximum uninterrupted time to present your views and skills to the examiner as other participants are still busy in understanding the topic.
- Try to make an impression through your content and communication skills while beginning a GD.
- While initiating a Group Discussion, you should not stammer or quote wrong facts.
- You should start a GD only if you have properly understood the topic and have some knowledge about it.
- Try to give the right direction to a GD by giving logical points.
- If you are starting a GD, you must cover all the relevant points and present them clearly.
- Start a GD by giving a quote, definition, question, facts, figures and statistics, shocking statement, short story or general statement.
- Do not take much time after beginning a GD as it will give an impression that you started a GD for sake of just starting it.
- The most important point to focus on while starting a GD is that you should not quickly conclude the GD at one go but give a space for discussion to solve the problem.
Things to remember while starting a GD:
Having good communication skills is one of the most important facts to win a GD. It would always help you gain points in the beginning of the GD to articulate each word with precision. You must be aware of the choice of words you’re going to utter as it might tickle a sensitive or hurtful thing. You need not be fancy or flowery with your words as long as you are able to express your views clearly.
Voice modulation is and always be the decisive key to lead a GD. You must know when to speak, pause and continue proving your points. You must watch out your intonation and pronunciation while speaking as the panel of judges takes this into account.
Your concept must be clear and must know the loopholes in the discussions and arguments. You must analyse the topics, its content, the argument and the direction where the discussion is heading to.
If you have not started the GD, don’t lose heart. You can still enter the GD and make your presence felt.
How to Enter a GD midway?
- Identify a way to enter a Group Discussion, as every GD has its highs and lows. Try to enter a GD during low times.
- Try to enter the GD after a participant has made his point but do not take much time.
- Try to enter a Group Discussion by making a supportive or appreciating statement in favour of the last point made as people will think you are favouring them and they will let you speak.
Things to remember while entering a GD:
1. Analyse the facts and information
Once the speaker concludes his/ her speech, you must accumulate some important facts and information to express your views and feedback. Remember, your facts and information must be related and authentic.
2. Strong Dissent, if any
Always keep in mind that your dissent, if any, must have a strong support with factual data or evidence. Usually, people enter a GD midway for the sake of getting involved in the discussion and without having any a strong base of their views, which backfires them.
3. Listening Skills
Listening skills in a GD is as important as delivering a speech and presenting your views. It will not only help you get new ideas but also help in noticing the flaws in what others are speaking. An active listener is comparatively more attentive and focused than those who do not listen but wait for their turn to jump to the conclusion.
It takes great talent to speak sense continuously and hold everyone’s attention. Once you have made a breakthrough in the GD, try to steer the conversation or discussion towards a goal or some sort of conclusion.
How to Lead or Carry on a GD?
- Try to bring new ideas in a GD.
- You can creatively modify ideas presented by others and develop them during the GD.
- Try to gain support from other participants of the Group Discussion through your body language, eye contact and oral etiquette.
- Find out if the Group Discussion is on track or not. If a GD is going off track, try to bring it back on the topic.
Things to remember to lead a GD:
Knowledge about a topic, which is discussed in the GD, is very important to lead a Group Discussion. Having a good knowledge and understanding of the topic is what plays quite a role to carry and lead a GD.
2. Convincing Power:
Though having a knowledge of the topic is quite important, however, you must have the convincing power to make others believe what are you’re saying is correct.
Being assertive is an essential skill to lead a GD. You must take a stand and support your point of view while respecting others’ beliefs and opinions simultaneously.
This is your last chance to win brownie points. Concluding a GD is as important as the beginning as it showcases your potential to assimilate and evaluate before taking any decision, which is a key requirement of a successful manager.
How to Conclude a GD?
- You should summarise all the points discussed in a Group Discussion, in a nutshell.
- While concluding a GD, avoid raising new points.
- Do not emphasise on your individual viewpoint while summarising a GD.
- Keep the conclusion of a GD concise.
- While summarising a GD, include all important points that came out during the group discussion.
- Avoid emphasis on one aspect of the Group Discussion.
- If someone has concluded the Group Discussion, do not contradict unless the conclusion has flaws or you have vital point to add.
Things to remember while concluding the GD:
1. Time Tracking:
Keeping a track of the time is very crucial while making a closing argument. You should neither conclude the GD in a very short time nor stretch the conclusion very long.
2. Recall each and every point:
You must mention each and every important point discussed in the group discussion early on and also mention its impact on your conclusion, if possible.
3. Closure Argument:
The closure argument is always the crux of the group discussion. Make sure that your closure argument must be correct and based on the actual data. You must add the final points in the conclusion and make your closure argument strong and persuasive.
You must wait for the right moment to conclude the GD.
During a GD, you need to take up different and important task roles to make the Group Discussion more effective and productive. These task roles in a GD can be positive as well as negative. You should avoid taking up negative task roles in a GD.
Positive Task Roles in a GD:
- Initiator – Starting a GD, giving definitions and suggesting and introducing new ideas.
- Information seeker – In a GD, gather and solicit information from others.
- Information giver – During GD share information and facts.
- Procedure facilitator – Lead a GD by keeping track of the discussion.
- Opinion seeker – Ask other participants of a GD for their opinion.
- Opinion giver – Give your opinion in a GD on the statement given by the other participant.
- Clarifier – Clarifying all the ideas and opinions discussed during a GD.
- Social Supporter – Giving support to ideas of all participants of a GD.
- Tension Reliever – Presenting and discussing the problem from a broad perspective.
- Energizer – Encouraging other participants to explore some new ideas during a GD.
- Compromiser – Creating harmony between different opinions by giving a compromising solution.
- Gatekeeper – Involving other participants in the GD by asking for their opinion
- Summarizer – Summarising or concluding a GD by including all important points discussed during a GD.
Negative Task Roles in a GD:
- Disgruntled non-participant – Someone who doesn’t contribute to the GD
- Attacker – Someone who aggressively disapproves opinion of other participants of a GD
- Dominator – Someone who takes control of the discussion and not letting others speak in a GD.
- Clown – Someone who does not take GD seriously and disrupts it through inappropriate humour.