Group Discussion Skills

The reason why institutes put you through a Group discussion and an interview, after testing your technical and conceptual skills in an exam, is to get to know you as a person and gauge how well you will fit in their institute. The Group discussion tests how you function as a part of a team. As a manager, you will always be working in teams, as a member or as a leader. Therefore how you interact in a team becomes an important criterion for your selection. Managers have to work in a team and get best results out of teamwork. That is the reason why management institutes include GD as a component of the selection procedure.

Tips to Improve on GD skills

  • Tip 1 : Brushing up on your general awareness is a must. Being aware of current affairs and issues and happenings, which affect our lives, however remotely, shows a well-rounded personality. Interest in one’s environment is an essential quality for a agent, as only when he is well informed about all the facets is he able to take correct decisions. Make a habit of reading newspapers like TOI and Economic Times and general interest and business magazines like Frontline, Outlook and Business India.
  • Tip 2 :  Being aware of current happenings is not enough. One must also form opinions on those happenings and issues that arise. Think about what you feel about different issues, say, terrorism .Write down your thoughts. Ask yourself why you feel that way, what are the premises underlying your thoughts and beliefs. Also question whether your point of view is based on facts, or on opinions.
  • Tip 3 : The process of opinion formation is incomplete without getting inputs from others. Get into the habit of discussing issues with your friends and family. Hear multiple points of view. Listen, question and argue. Express your opinion. If you are proven wrong, accept it with good grace. Modify your opinions as you go along. This will help you clear your own thought process plus it will get you into the habit of discussion.
  • Tip 4 : While discussing, learn to check your temper. Maybe you’ll find others holding view which are disagreeable to you. But remember that they have a right to their opinions. Everyone does. Learn to respect their points of views even if you don’t accept them. It shows maturity on your part. This will be a good training for controlling your emotions, which is of utmost importance in a GD.
  • Tip 5 : Practice: Try and mobilize other people who are interested in GDs and simulate GDs. Get someone who has been through GDs before to observe it and give you feedback on your performance. It is better if the group consists of people who you don’t know too well.

Group Discussion Etiquette

Do’s

  • Respect the contribution of other speakers.
  • Speak pleasantly and with courtesy to all members of the group
  • Listen well to the ideas of other speakers; you will learn something
  • Remember that a discussion is not a fight. Learn to disagree politely.
  • Respect that others have differing views and are not necessarily `wrong’.
  • Think about your contribution before you speak. How best can you answer the question/ contribute to the topic?
  • Try to stick to the discussion topic. Don’t introduce irrelevant information.
  • Be aware of your body language when you are speaking. Keep it `open’ and friendly.
  • Avoid gestures that appear aggressive.
  • Agree with and acknowledge what you find interesting.
  • Stay with the topic. If the discussion does waiver, bring it back on topic by saying something like this a final point about the last topic before we move on’ or `that’s an interesting point, can we come back to that later?
  • Try to speak clearly. Don’t whisper; even if you’re feeling uncertain about your ideas or language.

Don’ts

  • Don’t take offence if another speaker disagrees with you. Putting forward differing points of view is an important part of any discussion. Others may disagree with your ideas, and they are entitled to do so.
  • Never try to intimidate or insult another speaker or ridicule the contribution of others.
  • Don’t use comments like ‘that’s stupid’ or ‘you’re wrong’.
  • Take care to use a moderate tone of voice. If you sound angry or aggressive others will not want to listen to you.
  • Be aware of your body language. Gestures like finger-pointing can appear aggressive.
  • If you are a confident speaker, try not to dominate the discussion. Pause to allow quieter students a chance to contribute.
  • Avoid drawing too much on personal experience or anecdote. Although some tutors encourage students to reflection their own experience, remember not to generalize too much.
  • Don’t interrupt or talk over another speaker. Let them finish their point before you start. Listening to others earns you the right to be heard.
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