A group discussion is mostly used to screen applicants, particularly for educational institutions and entry-level positions. The general discussion (GD) round evaluates candidates based on their speaking, communication skills, ideas, and personalities. It shows the candidate’s capacity for interaction and performance in a large group.
A topic is allotted to the candidates on which they have to speak for a fixed duration of time. Before the GD round commences, the candidates are given a few minutes for preparation and to consolidate their ideas on the topic.
The GD topics revolve around current affairs, business, economy, and other abstract themes. However current affairs make up the majority of the topics, and the finest resources for preparation are newspapers and magazines. Therefore, it is important to read magazines and newspapers regularly in order to be informed about current events.
Newspapers and periodicals will undoubtedly provide you with profound knowledge, but having knowledge be enough to get you selected for the group discussion round?
The answer is “NO”.
In addition to knowledge, the GD is dependent on a number of other crucial factors. And it is quite challenging to influence other candidates without them.
Here are a few of those key points:
- Speaking skills
- Listening skills
- Attitude toward other candidates
- Thinking ability
- Problem-solving skills
- Interaction with the group
One must engage in peer-to-peer GD practice in order to have a full grasp of all of the above elements.
To move on to the personal interview round, one must clear the GD first. And while appearing for the GD, a candidate needs to focus on a couple of the points listed below in order to pass it:
- Give everyone a fair chance to speak: In the GD round, not only your speaking skills are evaluated but also your listening skills. So, you should not only speak but also let others speak.
- Listen actively to all the other member’s opinions: To evaluate the points you have kept forward; you should listen to others also. It can also be the case that the other person’s points are stronger than yours. Therefore, actively listening to others’ points will help you in adding to your points.
- Avoid using offensive language: GD round is meant for keeping your views in the discussion. However, it is never appropriate to communicate in an offensive manner, the opinions might be different.
- Try to initiate the discussion: One should always try to initiate the discussion. But this initiative should only be taken when you are well aware of the topic. Because a poor start can also reduce your chances of being chosen.
- Be confident: Always appear like you are well-prepared, unnerved, and capable of handling any situation.
- Always maintain eye contact: Maintaining eye contact with the team members will speak of your confidence.
- Allow other team members to speak: Never interrupt anyone speaking. Write down the point you have and speak out when the person finishes. You may use the phrases like, ‘To add on to your point’, ‘ I also agree to the point….’, ‘I have a different viewpoint…’ etc.
- Involve other members too: For members who are not involved in the conversation or not getting a chance, try to involve them. This will show your leadership qualities.
- Keep the discussion on track: If members are diverging from the topic, remind them of what they have to discuss, and bring them back on track. This will show that you have the power to lead the team, and how focused you are.
- Speak sensibly and only as much as required: Do not speak unnecessarily or go in depth about the topic than required just for increasing your speaking time.
- Summarize the GD: Once all the points are covered, one should always summarize the GD in the end by clubbing all other members’ opinions.
During GD, a candidate may ask the other candidate a question if he doesn’t understand any of the points, and this way he can even smoothly enter into the conversation.
Keep in mind that this is a conversation, not a monologue. If you don’t understand something, you can clarify and ask questions.
Example: ‘Hey, it seems quite intriguing. Could you provide an example?’
Can you elaborate a little more on your point?
This will give the impression to the person evaluating you that you are actively participating in the GD while you are also gathering information on the subject.
GD is not just about how much you know about the topic. It’s a situation that candidates are put in. It is more about how each candidate responds to the situation. Does he have the ability to come out as a winner even in difficult circumstances? That is what is more important.
Last, but not least, the important point is to PRACTICE. You may practice for different topics along with your peers. The more you practice, the more confident you will become.