How to Start, Lead and Conclude a Group Discussion (GD)?

Nitin Rao updated on : 26 Apr 2017

Starting, leading and concluding a GD are essential techniques to get noticed and earn brownie points in a Group Discussion.

How to Lead a Group Discussion

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.

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 right direction to a GD by giving logical points.
  • If you are beginning a GD, try to 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.

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.

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.

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 requisite of a successful manager.

How to Conclude a GD?

  • You should summarise all 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.

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.

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