What is a GD?
Group Discussion (GD) refers to a methodology generally used in selection processes, such as those of companies and colleges, wherein a group of individuals are brought together to interact and communicate with one another. On the basis of such interaction, many personality traits and behavioral characteristic are determined by the examiner or conductor of the GD. An individual’s interpersonal skills, leadership qualities, social traits, public speaking skills, etc. can all be judged through their performance in a group discussion. Generally, in a group discussion, a topic or problem is given to the group, and all the members are allowed to interact with one another, sharing their own knowledge, ideas and solutions to the problem. Some people might be assertive and open about their ideas, while others might be more reserved and unwilling in the sharing of theirs. All these qualities are identified and recorded, to be later used in the selection of capable individuals.
Organizations are able to determine whether particular applicants have the qualities they are seeking in prospective employees or recruits. The topics given in a group discussion vary depending on the type of GD being conducted. These include; ‘Topical’ group discussion (based on current affairs or current trends), ‘Case Studies’ (a complex situation to be interpreted is given to the group) or ‘Abstract’ group discussions (based on abstract topics without any set direction or flow). The specific qualities that might be tested in a GD include; confidence, flexibility, reasoning skills, leadership qualities, creativity, knowledge, patience, communications skills, etc.
There are certain essentials to be followed, as well as certain essentials to be avoided when taking part in a group discussion. These can be enumerated as the ‘Do’s’ and ‘Don’ts’ of a GD;
- Be an active listener. This involves intently listening to what other people have to say. Proper listening is arguably more important than constantly talking in a GD.
- Be as natural as possible. There is no need to be overly formal or address everyone formally. One must speak as if he would normally speak in such a setting.
- Be coherent and reasonable when talking. The points made should be easy for the others to understand and should also be logical such that they contribute to the topic at hand.
- Be brief and precise. Talk on a point for a reasonable amount of time and deliver the point briefly. This retains the attention of others and makes the point simple and accurate.
- Be polite and respect the contributions of other members. Even if there is a disagreement, this should be done in a polite manner without pointless quarrels.
- Be as positive as possible and do not try to dominate others. Positivity implies being warm and kind with others, since it is a discussion and not a debate.
- Be an active speaker in case knowledge of the subject is vast. This could involve initiating the discussion, providing facts and figures, or even being slightly assertive.
- Be conscious of body language. Although it is necessary to be natural, one must also keep in mind to follow appropriate body language (making eye contact while talking, etc.) and dress appropriately.
- Get angry or become too aggressive. One must keep their emotions in check while participating in a GD as anger can cloud analytical skills and rational thinking.
- Interrupt others while they are talking. This is a sign of poor manners and will reveal certain deficiencies in character, which people will scorn at.
- Try to initiate the discussion or be assertive while lacking knowledge of the topic at hand. The lack of knowledge and impulsiveness will become evident from the points made.
- Make points which are irrelevant or random and do not contribute to an understanding of the topic. Such points disrupt the logical flow of the conversation.
- Shout and argue with someone if they try to counter your point. It is not a debate, and neither is it a competition. Some mutual disagreements may occur.
- Speak with lack of confidence or uncertainty about the point being made. When one is speaking, he should do so with confidence and surety in himself
- Try to dominate the discussion or get personal with somebody. Maintain a calm demeanour and ensure that a sense of respect is prevalent throughout.
- Be restless and display poor/negative body language. This will portray a lack of social etiquette, poor manners, and a sense of disrespect to all the other members in the GD.
Hence, these are some of the main do’s and don’ts of a group discussion. Following these will allow individuals to gain all the necessary skills and benefits from a GD.