What is group discussion:comprehensive GD tips (2019 Update)

Today group discussion or GD has become one of the most important components of a interview process.A group discussion or GD can be used to see if you are a team player,have good listening skills,can you interpret others opinion,summarize the points.Group discussion or GD is a one stop solution to a lot of evaluation in interview process.

In olden Times, when there was no team,no committees and no associations. Those who thought on their feet survived and people those who did notl think on their feet, perished.

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    What is Group Discussion
  1. Qualities of a good professional
  2. Important points in Group Discussion
  3. Confidence in a Group Discussion
  4. Regulated Group Discussion
  5. Unregulated Group Discussion
  6. Communication Skills
  7. Content in a Group Discussion
  8. Clarity during group discussion
  9. Control during a group discussion
  10. Compromise during a group discussion
  11. Conclusion in a group discussion
  12. Cautions to be followed

Number of aspirants for lesser number of vacancies have pushed the HR teams to adopt and innovate new yardsticks for selection. In the earlier days, the following were the main criteria for selection: .

Key points to define what is group discussion

Qualities of a good professional

  • Good education background

  • Good communication skills – more particularly English

  • Good presentation skills

  • Good thinking ability (by IQ testing)

  • Good technical knowledge (again by written tests)

  • Good family

  • Educated parents

  • No location constraints

  • Open on package

  • Growth in the previous organisation

  • Quality of experience before this interview

Nowadays two / three steps are clubbed into one:

  • Good education, thinking, technical (identified from test or mark sheets)
  • Good experience more by current employer
  • Screening by Consultants and major work load is removed
  • For the shortlisted ones as above, still there will be a large number to be seen. Group Discussion is one of the most efficient filtering process to select a few candidates from many. Rather than interviewing all these shortlisted candidates for weeks, one more but very prominent process has been introduced and the tool is so good that even little average in education candidates also get through to the next level of screening (personal or even offers). You are tested in all the above factors and come out successfully. You are shortlisted and join the organization. In a very short span of time, the organization would rue that they selected the wrong person – or their interview process had a great flaw and they overlooked that quality before offering you employment.

  • You have done exceedingly well in your previous organization and even got faster growth rate. Based on this background, you are into this organization – in your previous organization you were individually responsible for all your actions and decisions. You have a great bio data and a greater career graph! But you have enough enemies and not so many well wishers – including at times your bosses also – desperate to move out.
  • Your previous organization found a great flaw in your mental make up that they had no other go but to send you out though your skill and technical knowledge have no parallel. Now we have given enough briefing on that one skill which in absence will make or break a career – at any level – not necessarily the lower level. Even CEOs fail if they do not have right blend of this skill with people skill and technical know-how skill.
  • Yes we are discussing the skill that allows people to work with others – in groups – may even be just two members – to a large posse of staff.

Important points in Group Discussion

You are generally very friendly, move with friends and family very well – rather you are the 'eye' of the group and eye sour for others to appreciate your jolly good demeanour. You enter the room designated for a group discussion – suddenly you are awe-stuck and your mouth becomes dry and words fail to get out. You sweat and fret and do not know where to begin and how to begin. Relax – cool – all of us get to this situation, get out with lot of confidence and little commotion. There is no substitute for hard work and practice. Ensure you just do not rote this and keep in memory. Start practicing this – even with friends and the best group always will be your family (where people are there to motivate you not to jeer at you or get to your seat by demotivating you).

Confidence in a Group Discussion

Confidence can be defined as a frame of mind where you are relaxed and have this feeling that you can handle the situation without being perturbed. Initially the butterfly in your stomach will overwhelm you. Relax and count to 10 or even 20 in the initial stages of practice. Say to yourself that you are in your comfort zone and feel confident and can come out unscathed. Move in with assured steps, identify the seat and sit or sit wherever they have assigned you to. Initial setback for a specific seat preference will vanish once confidence overtakes these locus issues.

Do not expect people to be there in the hall to invite you and ask you to be seated. Situations can be different – can be whacky with no person around. May have CCTV for viewing all round rather than from one angle and viewing all members at once.

We are giving this scene also so that always be ready to expect the unexpected.

In a college / University atmosphere, you may have your colleagues as co-contestants for the positions available. When you enter the hall, you feel relaxed since the atmosphere is familiar. Is this possible if the interview is for positions where contests may be from different walks of life and not necessarily familiar to you. Always on the date of this exercise, tell yourself very clearly that you are going to be contesting with rank outsiders and total strangers – your mind works and will be ready for this scene.

In case there are two / three familiar faces, it will only help boost your confidence and will add weight to your confidence.

Following “A”s will sum it up for a good group discussion prelude:
  • Accept First try and understand the topic and then come up with the facts.
  • Accumulate - bring in all points / ideas that hit you on the topic.Try to absorb the topic and to come up with various points that are facts leading to the effective outcome of the discussion.
  • Assimilate - remove the more irrelevant ones and bring to the fore the good ones.It is better to use the best ones that come to your mind in the beginning.This way we are able to create a first impression on the interviewer or observer conducting the group discussion.
  • Articulate - put across in a way that reaches the audience in full and as intended by you.In most group discussions it is more important to see the way we put forth the points rather than what points we make.It is very important to see the clarity with which we can put forth our points for the discussion.
  • Attentive - not crossing words or line with other participants.Group discussion is not just about talking,but about listening to others and conducting a constructive discussion.
  • Accredit – appreciate the good speaker and applaud in public.We all are part of the same discussion,so it is good to appreciate some of our peers for their good points.
  • Ascertain - ensure you have covered all points that you had assimilated and add in the last “sum up” time.It always gives you an upper hand when you are capable of summing up the entire group discussion.If you can summarize the gd that means you have not only contributed really good points but also listened to everyone speak.

Now to the real process of Group Discussion. It can be in two ways:

  • Regulated Group Discussion

    In this group discussion,all the participants are given a topic .Then all the participants are given some time to prepare their points about the topic.When the group discussion commences,all the participants are given an opportunity to put forth their points.In this gd,there is usually no interruption by other participants of the gd.

  • Unregulated Group Discussion

    In this form of group discussion,all the participants are given a certain amount of time to prepare for the topic.All the participants are then allowed to discuss about the topic.The interviewer is merely a silent spectator in the entire process of the group discussion.The advantage of this form of the gd is that,the flow is unregulated.There are a lot of chances in which participants may end up interrupting each other.We should make sure we never interrupt each other.

Observers may be present with you or can see you remotely. Should not matter as you will ignore those as a “given” and give your best shot. Now off to the arena – where you perform and bag the prize:

Communication Skills

What is communication ? Why is it important? Go supra and you will find the yonder and today situations. More than one in any form – has to communicate – to pass on the feelings be it by word, letter or sign or through somebody. Is lecturing communication? Is talking communication? Simply put, communication can be:

  • Comm -in English com means more than one (combine, committee)
  • uni - same or similar
  • (ca)action - act in the same way or similar way

When two people exchange ideas, both agree to the content and act in a similar way – then communication has happened and is successful.

Ensure to communicate and communicate clearly. Do not be too fast as if you would otherwise forget. Do not be very deliberate – lest people think that you think of them as less intelligent and you would like them to understand you.

Await expression of others to know that you are communicating and they are understanding. In case you notice a frown, wrinkle and an inquisitive participant, then paraphrase to make it abundantly clear to them.

The second part of communication is listening! Without this aspect, the communication definition is not complete. Ensure to keep your mouth shut when your ears are open and vice versa.

Content in a Group Discussion

Some times, we would be attending to speeches by certain people for 10 to 15 minutes. At the end of it, we will not be sure as to what was said. What was the purpose of their speech. What points were made from and what did we miss? We should ensure that we touch on the topic, choose our points, rehearse them, enumerate them and rephrase them.

Ensure also that the points that we make are relevant, succinct and timely. As far as possible, ensure not to repeat points and even if it happens, ensure to dovetail and not the same words or style.

Clarity during group discussion

As the heading goes, ensure that the contents that you communicated with confidence are having the same meaning as you intended in the first place.

As in communication process, ensure to look at faces around – look for any frown, wrinkle or doubt – and paraphrase the word or statement where this confusion occurred in the minds of people around you.

Never every get into verbose – so many words and less substance! Cover the points that you envisaged and cover them well with clarity.

Control during a group discussion

Control of time, substance and emotions is essential when you play the role. Verbose and exceeding time limit will not fetch the same point as compared to contents and clarity and crispier delivery.

Control over emotions when others speak / communicate – cannot be irksome, sarcastic or even uninterested. Smile or smirk when there is sense of humor in their speech is welcome but only to the point – then back to your attentive best.

Exercise control even over proceedings if nobody else is aspiring to be leader. This showcases your ability as a Leader and gives impression that you are ready for the slot. But ensure it does not end up in farce since interviewers generally note this tendency to dominate in case you have other weaknesses. Show you care and give opportunity to the person or participant who has not spoken at all or is shy sort of and did not take off when the chance came to them.

Compromise during a group discussion

Never ever listen to oppose – listen always to understand and even rebuttal when the opportunity comes will have to be controlled and compromised. Do not pour your feelings if it hurts the other person's ego or makes fun of his views.

Control on the tendency to argue or to throw his views away as junk or useless. Digest this – what you have noticed would have noticed by the conductor of the test also – hence leave it to their best judgment. Show that you are polite and can stand somebody's foolish act nonchalantly.

Conclusion in a group discussion

Do not every get out of a discussion without closing the points. Ensure to summarize your views clearly and if time and opportunity is given, even give a gist of all that has been spoken to by others in your own words.

While all these “C”s will be watched, more care and attention will be given to your 'control' and 'compromise' aspects which indicate that you are a good team man and even a good leader.

Thank the interviews and say “all the best” to all participants when you exit – gives a contended feeling and makes you confident that you have done your part well.

Cautions to be followed

Topic given is vague and you do not seem to have any good points

If you are the first speaker, do not jump into mumbling. Keep your poise and politely tell the group that you are working on the topic and pick it up in between and to proceed with the next in line. Ensure to pick up good points spoken – without exactly repeating, you may in your own words accept their theory or give the negatives as appealing to you.

Never ever allow for cross talk – even when somebody tries when you are at it, politely but firmly tell them to wait for their turn to note down and give their views.

Never fidget or bite your nails – or stare at the ceiling. All these do not add up to a good team man – shows your lack of interest or uncomfortable you are in this kind of environment.

Do not stare at or stare down people around you. Allow the sweep as good tactic rather than focusing on one individual (generally the smiling or perceived weak link for you)

Help somebody who is stuttering and only just – not to the extent that you give your points to them to knock you down.

Wish you the very best!