Group Discussion (GD) Tips to Help you Succeed

Nitin Rao updated on : 17 Jul 2017

Here are some important Group Discussion tips that you should keep in mind while participating in a GD and know how to handle group discussions!

Group Discussion Tips

Group Discussion is a process where the 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. There are some group discussion tips that will assist you to get rid of the major hurdles of the selection process of any B-School.

Remember to take a stand during the discussion. It is not necessary that you conclude by a positive or a negative viewpoint, but to summarise 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 panellists 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.

Group Discussion Tips

To help you better, we have compiled a list of points that you should keep in mind while participating 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. Here are 10 points to keep in mind during a GD:

  • Adequate matter / Subject matter is essential
  • Make sure you read widely
  • Choose magazines that are rich in content
  • Be aware of the topics that are repeated
  • Work on your communication skills
  • Listen to the topic given during GD carefully
  • Try and maintain a balance in your tone
  • Listening skills are essential
  • Body gestures are very important
  • Try and be the first and the last to speak

Know More - How to Start, Lead and Conclude a Group Discussion?

1)  Adequate matter / Subject matter is essential

Subject Matter Knowledge


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 memorise some relevant data, it will be an added advantage.

2)  Make Sure You Read Widely

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

Choose Magazine

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. Since magazines are published every month, sometimes every week too, it provides all the latest information and information that you can bank on.

4)  Be Aware of Topics that are Repeated

Common Topics


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, liberalisation and privatisation, 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

Communication Skills


You should be well versed in your communication skills. You should have a good vocabulary and a good 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 you appear for your GD.

6) Listen to the Topic Given During a GD Carefully

Listening Skills


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 with relevant data.

7) Try and Maintain a Balance in your Tone

Balance Tone


Besides what you are saying, remember that the panellists 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

Listening Skill


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 viewpoint 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

Hitler Speech Body Language


The panellists 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 a pen or your fingers. Also, do not get distracted easily. For example, if the door in the 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

Brad Pitt Speech


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 summarise it. If the group has not reached a conclusion try concluding it.

Accomplishing in a group discussion is like driving a car. You have the control and power to accelerate or brake as per the situation you come across to reach your destination. Just try to be that conscientious driver in a GD. You should be aware when to apply brakes or accelerate depends on the conversation to turn onto your side.

Also See - Why is GD an important part of MBA Admissions?

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