The real rat (read CAT) race has just begun; it’s now time to crack the GROUP DISCUSSION.Posted by Raunika Sood on Jan. 21, 2012, 10:17 a.m.
About Group Discussion:
Group Discussion is a process where exchange of ideas and opinions are debated upon. This process is mostly used for selecting candidates for admission to management schools basically for MBA.
A typical GD comprises of a small group of candidates. Each group is then given a topic for discussion. The topic can be general or specific. Example: Kashmir Conflict or just a phrase saying "Where there's a will there's a way".
Remember to take a stand during the discussion. It is not necessary that you conclude by a positive or a negative viewpoint, but to summarize the discussion well and being neutral gives you an edge over others. The candidates are given a time limit for discussing this topic. Each participant has to give his or her views about this topic. The panelists are there to judge the discussion. After the time limit is over, the best candidate from the group is selected. The same process is followed for other groups.
Tips on GROUP DISCUSSION
To help you better we have compiled a list of points that you should keep in mind while you participate in a group discussion.
Group discussions are an important part of the selection process for admission into a B-School of your choice. You have passed the intelligence test, with GD, your oratory and communication skills along with your problem solving skills will be tested.
Let’s read about the points that you should keep in mind:
1)Adequate matter/ Subject matter is essential : You should have subject knowledge and be well aware of the latest happenings around you, not just in India but around the world as well. To be in a better position, make sure that you have in-depth knowledge on the subject. Subject knowledge is a pre-requisite while you are preparing for a group discussion because you will then have the power to steer the conversation to whichever direction you want to. If you can memorize some relevant data, it will be an added advantage.
2) Make Sure you Read Widely: Being an avid reader will help you in group discussions. Last minute preparations you are strictly a no no, while you are preparing for group discussions. You should read over a period of time. Reading not only adds to your knowledge database, but enhances your vocabulary skills as well. Plus reading over a period of time, helps in your understanding of a particular subject/ topic better.
3) Choose Magazines that are Rich in Content: Always opt for magazines that are content rich and not just full of advertisements. Often magazines have columns which are promoting a particular institute etc. Avoid such magazines, do some research and buy the best that will be beneficial for you in the long run.
4) Be Aware of Topics that are Repeated: Often, there are topics which re-appear with minute changes and minor variations. Be aware of such topics well in advance so that you have ample time to prepare for the same. For example the issues of terrorism, gender inequality, poverty, Ayodhya conflict, liberalization and privatization, reservations in educational institutions etc often appear as GD topics. Make sure you know these topics well and can come up with some unique, insightful points along with dates, stating facts.
5) Work on your Communication Skills: You should be well versed in your communication skills. You should have a good vocabulary and a decent command over English. Much before your actual group discussion, rehearse well. You can sit with a group of friends and choose a topic and indulge in a friendly banter. Not only will this increase your knowledge, you will be a better speaker by the time it is time for your GD.
6) Listen to the Topic Given During GD Carefully: Listen to the topic carefully and understand it... Be alert and vigilant. Sometimes, the topic may be really simple but the manner in which it is presented to you, can be baffling. The first thing that you should do after hearing the topic is by structuring it on the sheet that is given to you to make notes. Make a rough sketch of the points that you would like to speak aloud. You will be at an advantage if you open the discussion, but then beware of what you speak. Deviating from the main topic, or passing strong statements like ‘I agree/ or disagree …’ should be avoided. Your strategy should be to test the waters and make a generic statement relevant to the topic. If you can, back it up by relevant data.
7) Try and Maintain a Balance in your Tone: Besides what you are saying, remember that the panelists are observing your body language as well. If you do not agree with the other student’s point of view, do not raise your tone in objection. Listen to his point of view and instead of dismissing it upfront, try and draw a common ground. .
8) Listening Skills are Essential: Carefully listen to what others have to say. Just speaking throughout the discussion doesn’t make you smart, you should also give others a chance to speak. Try and listen to him/her, respect their view point too. If the speaker is making an eye-contact with you remember to acknowledge him by saying “yes, you agree” or just by nodding your head, so that the speaker is aware that his listeners are listening to him and paying full attention. This will also show that you are vigilant and are an active participant in the discussion.
9) Body Gestures are very Important: The panelists observe the way you sit and react in the course of the discussion. . Body gestures are very important, because your body language says a lot about you.In a GD, sit straight, avoid leaning back on to the chair or knocking the table with pen or your fingers. Also, do not get distracted easily. For example, if the door in room you are sitting in opens, do not look back to see who it is , this will show how distracted you are.
10) Be the first and also the Last to Speak: As mentioned earlier, initiating a GD is an advantage. Closing it too also adds brownie points. If you can grab the opportunity to close the discussion, then you should summarize it. If the group has not reached a conclusion try concluding it .
Imagine you are driving and you have the power to accelerate or brake according to the situation on the road and avoid any accidents. Try to be that conscientious driver in a GD. Take the initiative, know when to apply your brakes and when to seize the opportunity and accelerate the conversation to reach to a desired destination; conclusion in your case.