Skills Required for a Group Discussion

Nitin Rao updated on : 17 Mar 2016

We have compiled a list of the prerequisites the panelists are looking for in candidates in a Group Discussion.

Skills for GD

Be it for admission to a B-school or a campus placement as part of your MBA curriculum or for recruitment to a multi-national company, you should emerge as a leader in the truest sense. Everyone looks for a person who is smart, knowledgeable and projects the qualities of a manager. And that is why a Group Discussion becomes an important determinant of a true leader!

As most of you have embarked on the path of becoming a manager (Common Entrance Test for MBA), do remember that there are certain skills and traits that are essential to becoming one. While some of them are inherent in us, some can be imbibed and honed. And the purpose of holding a GD and PI in process is to identify those raw gems so that they can be polished off as rare diamonds!

So the big question then is, what are the points on which MBA students/ MBA aspirants are judged or assessed by the Panelists?

During a Group Discussion panelists assess you on:


A) Communication Skills


1) Good communication skills are essential in today’s competitive world. Having good communication skills show that you are a good listener and a speaker, the top qualities of a leader.

2) Good communication skills emphasises clarity of thought, hence leaving less scope for misunderstandings.

3) Good communication skills will help MBA students grab the attention of the panelists.

4) The MBA candidate should be well conversant with whatever medium of communication the candidate is comfortable with in order to get an edge over other candidates. Also, giving a others a chance to speak or acknowledging others’ opinions also works in your favour.

5) How well you can drive your point across in a simple language, supported by data and information will help you get an edge over other participants of the MBA GD.


B) Cooperation Skills

Say you are someone who knows everything about the Group discussion topic given and has performed well too (spoken enough to make it to the PI round). But when the results are out, you are shocked to see that your name is not even there in spite of the fact that you were most knowledgeable in your entire group!

Well, a true leader does not bash others to become successful, but carries his team along to climb the ladders of success. And here’s where your co-operation skills will come to the fore. There are some things you should do in a GD. Some of these include:

1) Acknowledging other’s point of view

2) Giving others a chance to speak

3) If someone has said something that you agree with, re-phrase it coherently giving that person due credit

4) If someone is struggling to speak up, give that person an opening ti speak up boasts your knowledge in a GD or you are someone who continuously jabbers throughout the course of the  GD without giving others the opportunity to speak up, will definitely



C) Leadership Qualities

As said earlier, a true leader takes his team through the maze of success. In a Group Discussion too, you should display true leadership qualities:

1) Give others an opportunity to speak

2) Acknowledge other’s points with due credit

3) If you disagree, put your point through politely stating the reasons

4) Don’t lose your temper or insult anyone

5) Display a pleasing personality trait and uphold the etiquette of a group discussion


D) Analytical Skills

A true leader never believes blindly. He/ she assesses, verifies and then takes a decision. In the group discussion too, you should:

1) First analyse the topic and then speak up with a relevant statement, fact or statement.

2) Blabbering without making any point will definitely take you to the bad books of the panelists. Make sure that whatever point you make has a direction.

3) Be open to suggestions and different opinions.

3) When the discussion is nearing its end, make sure to summarise/ conclude the group discussion with relevant points (inputs from all the members) and come to a conclusion.


E) Subject Knowledge

In a group discussion, panelists see how well you are aware of things/ events happening or taking place around you. Hence:

1) You should read a lot and gain significant knowledge on various topics spanning commerce, politics, arts, law, media, social causes etc. so that speaking up in the discussion come naturally to you.

2) Providing facts and figures (in numbers) give you an added advantage over other candidates in a group discussion.


F) Attitude and Confidence


Besides the above, be smart and pleasant. Your confidence during a GD can get you in the good books of the panelists.

1) Smile while you greet everyone in the room (both panelists and your fellow students)

2) Convey your point to other candidates coherently If you disagree, express the same, but politely citing the reasons.

3) Never try and dominate other candidates. Let them speak without getting into a fight.

4) Maintain your body posture, tapping you fist on the desk in anger.


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