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Group Discussion

Now a days, most of the companies have added Group Discussion as their 2nd round after the written round. Comapnies like TCS, Wipro , MindTree etc has GD as a surprise round! and hence the candidates are unable to prepare for it. Group Discussions are meant to check a number of qualities in a candidate like:

  1. Communication Skills
  2. How you behave with other candidates.
  3. How much do you contribute to the discussion.
  4. Leadership Qualities, and
  5. Quality of your statements
  6. How well do you co-operate
  7. How do you react to views that are opposite to yours ? How well do you accept them?
  8. Can you restore order when the discussion becomes chaotic?
  9. How well do you manage the time and conclude at the right time.

The main motto of a Group Discussion round is to find candidates who can work in a team, If you try to be dominant in a group discussion, you would be the first one to be rejected. Be a team player, just pretend that you are with your friends discussing over a topic, Let the nervousness inside you go away and relax, now listen to what others are saying. Thing logically before you open your mouth and then present your view politely and at times ask others too to present their views. But remember, do not be the one who just encourages others but do not make any meaningful and productive contributions.


Mark Your Presence in a discussion

While you are presenting you views you have to be noticed by the Evaluator as well as by other group members. While you are speaking people should listen to you. In other words you must make sure that you are being heard by the group. Ifother candidates hear you, so will the evaluator. On the other hand, if you get cowed down easily in an aggressive group, it shows your inability to express yourself which will for sure send you out. Many candidates complain that they did not get a chance to speak in the discussion, but it is after all a competitive round and nobody would let you speak by keeping their selection on stake. Remember, you won't get a chance to speak, "You have to MAKE your chances".



Quality of your contribution

Group Discussion is a delicate balance between the "Quantity of your contribution" and the "Quality of your contribution". You have to speak enough to be noticed and at the same time you have to make statements that show how creatively you think. Many candidated feel that speaking frequently in a discussin will get them through, But the most important thing to notice is that making just any sort of contribution is not enough. Your contribution has to be meaningful. A meaningful contribution suggests that you have a good knowledge base, are able to structure arguments logically and are a good communicator. These are qualities that are desired by all GD evaluators. The first 2 minutes are very crucial when you are given the topic and asked to think about it. Get your pen and notebook to work and write down as many ideas as you can so that you have some topics to speak about when the discussion starts. It pays to think out of the box. Everybody else will state the obvious points but can you state something different that would make others listen to you? Try to use examples to explain a scenario and after making your statement ask others what they think about it. Remember, if other candidates start supporting the point that you raised, Bingo!
Such instances indicate that you have Leadership Qualities and people follow you without hurting their own ego.


Leadership Qualities

As mentioned earlier,leadership qualities like steering the group when they are stuck at a point or take the discussion to a relevant and fresh direction are the desired traits in a group discussion.
You should be able to bring order when the group turns in to a fish market.
You should be able to give a fresh direction to the group when the group is floundering.
And last but most importantly, you must attempt to build a consensus. Consensus is a general agreement among a group of people discussing over something. Nobody expects a group of ten people, where everyone has a different point of view to actually achieve a consensus on a controversial subject . But an attempt to build a consensus is highly appreciated. The reason is that in a working environment you will have to work with your team and at many situations you will have to arrive at a solution which everyone agrees upon. An attempt to arrive at a mutual agreement shows that you are capable of working in a team and take decisions.



Do's and Don'ts

Here are a few tips that you should try to follow in a GD, even though many people forget what they initially thought they would do in a GD and get carried away with the flow , you must take care of some Do's and Don'ts.
Do's

  1. You Should not just talk, you should listen to others too.
  2. You must realize that other people are also important and also have valid points to make. You should not just try to persuade other people , but also emerge as a person who has an open mind and appreciates the valid points of others.
  3. You must try and resolve contradictions and arguments of others in the group.
  4. Try to create the boundaries of the discussion, and make sure that the discussion does not wander away from the main theme. Discuss how the group should proceed and what should be discussed before actually beginning the discussion.
  5. Try to summarize the discussion at the end. While summarizing do not merely restate your point of view but also accommodate dissenting viewpoints. Discuss if you appreciate a certain point that was raised by someone. If the group did not reach a consensus, mention it in your summary.

Dont's

  1. Do not try to be dominant or rule the group. Give importance to everyone.
  2. Do not get emotional and start shouting.
  3. Giving chance to others is good but do not over do it!
  4. Do not offer a chance to anyone who is not trying to speak. He may not have anything to say at that point and you will just end up looking foolish.
  5. Do not try to impose a system whereby everyone gets a chance to speak in turn. A GD is not meant to be a systematic speech of individuals but a discussion.
  6. If you start the discussion, do not jump to conclusions right away. Present the problem and discuss the issues and how can we approach the solution.Only then logically state your point and then invite others to the discussion.
  7. Do not just talk to only one or two persons when speaking, try to maintain eye contact with as many members of the group as possible. This will involve others in what you are saying and increase your chances of carrying them with you.

Is it good to be the first speaker in a GD?

In most GD's the opening speaker is the person who is likely to get the maximum uninterrupted airtime. The reason is simple - at the start most other participants in the GD are still trying to understand the basic issues in the topic, or are too nervous to speak and are waiting for someone else to start. Therefore the evaluators get the best chance to observe the opening speaker. But this is a double edged sword. If the opening speaker talks sense naturally he will get credit because he opened and took the group in the right direction. If on the other hand the first speaker doesn't have too much sense to say, he will attract the undivided attention of the evaluators to his shortcomings. He will be marked as a person who speaks without thinking merely for the sake of speaking. As someone who leads the group in the wrong direction and does not make a positive contribution to the group. So remember speaking first is a high risk high return strategy. It can make or mar your GD performance depending how you handle it. Speak first only if you have something sensible to say. Otherwise keep shut and let someone else start.

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