A GD is a methodology used by an organization to gauge whether the candidate has certain personality traits and/or skills that it desires in its members. In this methodology, the group of candidates is given a topic or a situation, given a few minutes to think about the same, and then asked to discuss the it among themselves for 15-20 minutes.
Why GDs :
The reason why institutes put you through a Group discussion and an interview, after testing your technical and conceptual skills in an exam, is to get to know you as a person and gauge how well you will fit in their institute. The Group discussion tests how you function as a part of a team. As a manager, you will always be working in teams, as a member or as a leader. Therefore how you interact in a team becomes an important criterion for your selection. Managers have to work in a team and get best results out of teamwork. That is the reason why management institutes include GD as a component of the selection procedure.
Company’s Perspective :
Companies conduct group discussion after the written test so as to check on your interactive skills and how good you are at communicating with other people. The GD is to check how you behave, participate and contribute in a group, how much importance do you give to the group objective as well as your own, how well do you listen to viewpoints of others and how open-minded are you in accepting views contrary to your own. The aspects which make up a GD are verbal communication, non-verbal behavior, conformation to norms, decision-making ability and cooperation. You should try to be as true as possible to these aspects.
Reasons for having a GD
- It helps you to understand a subject more deeply.
- It improves your ability to think critically.
- It helps in solving a particular problem.
- It helps the group to make a particular decision.
- It gives you the chance to hear other students’ ideas.
- It improves your listening skills.
- It increases your confidence in speaking.
- It can change your attitudes.
Strategies for Improving GD Skills
- Observe : Attend as many seminars and tutorials as possible and notice what other students do. Ask yourself:
- How do other students make critical comments?
- How do they ask questions?
- How do they disagree with or support arguments?
- What special phrases do they use to show politeness even when they are voicing disagreement?
- How do they signal to interrupt, ask a question or make a point?
2. Practice : Start practicing your discussion skills in an informal setting or with a small group. Start with asking questions of fellow students. Ask them about the course material. Ask for their opinions. Ask for information or ask for help.
3. Participate : Take every opportunity to take part in social/informal discussions as well as more structured/formal discussion. Start by making small contributions to tutorial discussions; prepare a question to ask, or agree with another speaker’s remarks.
- Speak pleasantly and politely to the group.
- Respect the contribution of every speaker.
- Remember that a discussion is not an argument. Learn to disagree politely.
- Think about your contribution before you speak. How best can you answer the question/ contribute to the topic?
- Try to stick to the discussion topic. Don’t introduce irrelevant information.
- Be aware of your body language when you are speaking.
- Agree with and acknowledge what you find interesting.
- Shout. Use a moderate tone and medium pitch.
- Lose your temper. A discussion is not an argument.
- Use too many gestures when you speak. Gestures like finger pointing and table thumping can appear aggressive.
- Dominate the discussion. Confident speakers should allow quieter students a chance to contribute.
- Draw too much on personal experience or anecdote. Although some tutors encourage students to reflect on their own experience, remember not to generalise too much.