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.
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.