Role of Communication Skills in GD

The first aspect is one’s power of expression. In a group discussion, a candidate has to talk effectively so that he is able to convince others. For convincing, one has to speak forcefully and at the same time create an impact by his knowledge of the subject. A candidate who is successful in holding the attention of the audience creates a positive impact.

It is necessary that you should be precise and clear. As a rule evaluators do not look for the wordage produced. Your knowledge on a given subject, your precision and clarity of thought are the things that are evaluated. Irrelevant talks lead you nowhere. You should speak as much as necessary, neither more nor less. Group discussions are not debating stages.

Ability to listen is also what evaluator’s judge. They look for your ability to react on what other participants say. Hence, it is necessary that you listen carefully to others and then react or proceed to add some more points. Your behavior in the group is also put to test to judge whether you are a loner or can work in a group.

You should be able to convey your thoughts satisfactorily and convincingly before a group of people. Confidence and level headedness in doing so is necessary. These add value to your presentation. In case you are not good at it, you might gain by joining an institute that offers specialized courses in public speaking.

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Why GD?

Why is there a Group Discussion (GD) round?
If you have been called for the GD round, then it is evident that you have cleared the first hurdle of the admission round- the Entrance Test. Then, why is there a need for a second round? Doesn’t the entrance exam test a candidate’s aptitude and logical reasoning and his ability to understand and make sense of a concept/statement? The answer is yes. The entrance exam does all this and more. But, what it doesn’t judge is the candidate’s interpersonal skills, his leadership traits and his communication abilities. And, the Group Discussion does just that. Here are a few preparation tips for the Group Discussion round:

What skills are evaluated in the Group Discussion round?
During the GD round, the interviewer looks at various factors, such as:

  • Applicant’s self-confidence
  • Depth of knowledge
  • Consistency and development of thought
  • Communication skills
  • Presentation of ideas
  • Value addition to the group
  • Interaction between members of the group
  • Leadership traits

How to prepare for the Group Discussion round?
Besides being able to grasp the fundamentals of Finance, Marketing, and Strategic Planning, good interpersonal skills and leadership qualities are the main criteria on which students are hired by big companies. Personal skills are not developed in a day. It’s a gradual process that needs regular polishing so that at the GD round, your communication and interactive skills look natural and effortless instead of forced and pretentious. Given below are a few guidelines that can help you prepare for this screening round:
Start the discussion
Try to initiate the discussion with logic and reasoning. Don’t quote or state facts unless you are absolutely sure about their accuracy.

Content Vs Process
Content indicates understanding of the topic, organized thought, and the ability to build up and innovate on the idea. Process indicates the attitude and body language, and the communication skills of the candidate. Give equal attention to both the elements.

Be a good listener
A good communicator must also be a good listener. Listen carefully and jot down the main points that are being covered by the other group members. This helps you in avoiding repetition, collaboration of ideas, and summarising the discussion.

Clarity of speech
It’s very important to speak clearly so that everyone understands what you are saying. In a country like India, most English speaking candidates will by default betray a Mother Tongue Influence (MTI). Try to neutralise your accent and express your thoughts clearly.

Don’t get distracted
Stick to the topic that is being discussed and avoid irrelevant points. Deal with over talkative members tactfully. If the conversation goes off track, bring it back to the subject.

Assertive Vs Aggressive
Don’t make the mistake of being aggressive. The GD conductors will be evaluating your interaction with the other group members. You can assert your view but, don’t impose it on others.

Encourage everyone to participate. One of the traits of being a leader is to encourage co-operation in a group/organisation.

Value addition to the discussion
Try to add value to the conversation by contributing original points and discussing other angles to the topic.

Don’t get argumentative
Avoid personal arguments at all costs. Not only will it harm you, it will go against the entire group. On the other hand, if some other group members enter into a verbal fight, step in, stop it, and get the discussion back to the topic. This will win you big points.

Avoid groupism
It’s a good idea to become familiar with the other members of the group before the discussion starts. But, avoid groupism during the GD round.

Activate the discussion
Help start the thinking process in the group and encourage candidates lacking in self confidence to contribute their viewpoints. This way, you will be able to generate different opinions and ideas that will add to your discussion.

Try to work out a solution
Besides discussing the pros and cons of an issue, try to provide a solution or an alternative to the problem. This indicates that you are a result oriented person.

Conclude each argument at the right time in the right manner. You should be able to review the different points discussed and build upon the valid points.

Keep the time frame in mind
Take care to initiate, develop and conclude the discussion within the time frame. The time limit is fixed keeping in mind the number of candidates in a group. So, if there are 8 members, each candidate will have approximately 3 minutes to put across his/her view. The last 5 minutes is usually left for summarising and concluding of the discussion.


Common mistakes during a GD

1. Emotional outbursts:

This is the biggest mistakes done by students during Group Discussion. Sometimes topic is close to their heart and hence they sway from the topic. They usually get emotional while discussing such topics and thus, tend to forget for a while that they are being evaluated. They aggravate other members on purpose, once they find out what a person is particularly touchy about. This is one of the common mistakes done in group discussion and personal interview.

2. Talking endlessly:

In some cases students enter the room determined to talk non-stop without considering what they are saying. Other candidates do not get a chance. But they end up forming a negative impression upon the panelists and sometimes the rest of the group. Moreover, unless you make a meaningful contribution to the Group Discussion, the panelists know that you are speaking just for the sake of it. You cannot prioritize quantity over quality.

3. Insecurities:

Sometimes student show that they have a good knowledge about topic and they underestimate other students. Hence ensure that you are not among those students who get plagued with their own insecurities and consequently do not give themselves a fair shot. Students usually complain that the other participants were too good and they could not even think of competing with them. Have some faith in your capabilities and do not let such thoughts keep you down.

4. Language:

Many students participate in GD and PI without working on their language, accent, grammar and communication skills. Sometimes even if students study hard, they are not able to talk properly which makes it impossible for them to communicate the knowledge they have. Students lacking communication skills are nervous in their GD and PI rounds. To make a valuable and meaningful contribution you need to work on your communication skills.

5. Quantity vs Quantity:

Assessment is not only on your communication skills but also on your ability to be a team player. Evaluation is based on quality, and not on quantity. Your contribution must be relevant.

Learn to perform better from the common mistakes. Avoid all these common mistakes in group discussion and personal interview.