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.

Source: Internet

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.


Tips to answer “Tell me about yourself”

While describing yourself in an interview, the answer should always be related to the job. Remember, although the employer is asking personal questions, they are still all related to “what can you bring to the company?” So, I usually give adjectives like reliable, loyal, etc., but make sure you back these with supporting examples. The most important thing is to make sure you boil it all down to presenting the answer in a way that it matches the things the employer is looking for.

Here is more advice

  • Think about what kind of person you would like working for you and convey that to the employer. The best advice I can give to a job seeker is first aim high, well as high as you are capable of and realize the more you are willing to learn through experience or school is valuable. See yourself as a commodity. Be honest about your capabilities, if you don’t know how to do something, say you don’t know but let the employer know you are capable of learning and even give an example of something else you learned to do, maybe at another job or even a hobby. Most jobs will have to train you to their way and processes so don’t undermine your capability and be proud of your accomplishments in life because they will only bring you up.
  • Just list off a few characteristics that you see yourself as having. Make all of the characteristics sound as positive as possible. This question is usually asked in order to gauge how a person perceives him- or herself. Just be honest. Are you outgoing? Shy? Diligent? Stubborn? Clever? Passionate? Level-headed? Easy-going? etc., etc. Don’t stress too much.
    • If you can’t think of anything, think of a few people who know you and imagine how they would describe you. Pretend that your mom, a sibling, a good friend, a co-worker, and your spouse or significant other are all sitting down in a room making a list of your characteristics and then use the things you think they would say.


  • A job interview is NO TIME to be shy. Brag about yourself. It’s expected. Brag about all of your good points and don’t mention anything negative or anything you “can’t do.” Be positive and upbeat.
  • With complete honesty, don’t try to make yourself better than you are, but don’t yourself down, either.
  • Employers love to ask you questions that get to your perception of yourself. These may come in several forms – “How do you describe yourself”; “What are the qualities you possess that make you the best candidate for this job”; “What do you bring to this company that will make this company stronger” or a variation on these are commonly asked.
  • Your resume should already have a personal statement that discusses your qualities – in the most positive terms possible. Make sure you are familiar with your resume. VERY familiar. This is especially important if you didn’t write it yourself, or if you have multiple resumes tailored to different positions.
  • Because this is such a common question, it may be a good idea to sit down ahead of time and list 4-5 qualities and examples in your previous experience where these qualities allowed you to overcome a problem or succeed at a task.
  • Remember, the interview is not a “game”
    where you are trying to outsmart the interviewer to get the job. Your best strategy is to honestly sell yourself and your abilities to an employer to get a job that is a good fit for you, in a company that is a good fit for you. Outsmarting an interviewer to get a job in a company or position that ultimately leads to unhappiness on either or both sides is really outsmarting yourself.
  • Give a fair answer, tell them about your strong and weak points, but try to emphasize some of your qualities. For example, you could say that you are a hard-working, responsible, serious person, you are able to handle with people, able to work under stress, you are an easy learner. Don’t be shy to talk about your creative “side”. But be honest, admit that you also had some “bad moments” in your past jobs.
  • Your answer should be relevant to the job for which you are being interviews. Do not start going into your personal life. Keep your self-introduction professional!
  • A person is defined in three ways: (1) who he is right now, (2) what he has done in the past, and (3) what he will become in the future. So, here is how you answer: (1) I am a [the job title for which you are applying or something very close.] (2) I have [how many years of experience] in [what field, what subject]. (3) I want to be [a job title that is a couple or a few levels above the current position for which you are applying in 5 to 10 years.] Close your answer with an affirmative question: “Is there anything else you want to know?”
  • You should be very straightforward and honest in replying to this question. The interviewer wants to check if what you have mentioned in your resume is correct or not.
  • I would answer the question based on who is interviewing me? If it’s a sales manager/Technical Manager/Human resources manager? Depending on the person’s field I’ll have to mend the answer to please him… I feel that everyone’s goals are different… so analyze that and then answer.
  • Answer this question with your 30-second “elevator speech” about yourself. The standard format for this speech is… “I am a (BLANK), who does (WHAT).” In my case… I am a PROJECT MANAGER, who PROVIDES QUALITY MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS, Blah, Blah, Blah. (you get the idea).
  • Let me share what my recruiting office tells its candidates as they head out for that crucial face-to-face interview. When asked to “tell me about yourself,” say, “I will gladly answer that question, but may I first ask you a question? (They ALWAYS say yes) So that I may better focus my answer, what are the issues you want me to address should you hire me? Once they share with you what they need to have you do, then proceed to address how your training, education, skills, and experience can best resolve these issues. By answering in this fashion, you have proven that you know how to focus … and that you have what’s needed to fix the issues they need to have fixed. It’s always a winner … and beats the heck out of, “Well, let’s see, I was born on a small farm in Idaho …”
  • I suggest you go into the interview with a few “talking points” about yourself, in other words things you want the interviewer to know about you. Then you try to hit those points in response to any questions you are asked, such as “tell us about yourself.” Also be sure to have copies of your resume with you and offer them. In general, interviews go better when you spend them listening and don’t talk. If the interviewer is just telling you about the job, you might have a good shot at it.
  • This is the chance for you to run down a 30-60 second sales pitch for yourself. The employer doesn’t want to know that you like gardening or have four dogs. Here’s where you start usually with your education and highlight selling points about your skills, experience and goals.


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.


Techniques to initialize a GD

Initiating a GD is a high profit-high loss strategy. When you initiate a GD, you not only grab the opportunity to speak, you also grab the attention of the examiner and your fellow candidates. If you can make a favorable first impression with your content and communication skills after you initiate a GD, it will help you sail through the discussion.

But if you initiate a GD and stammer/ stutter/ quote wrong facts and figures, the damage might be irreparable.

If you initiate a GD impeccably but don’t speak much after that, it gives the impression that you started the GD for the sake of starting it or getting those initial kitty of points earmarked for an initiator!

When you start a GD, you are responsible for putting it into the right perspective or framework. So initiate one only if you have in-depth knowledge about the topic at hand.

There are different techniques to initiate a GD and make a good first impression:

i. Quotes
ii. Definition
iii. Question
iv. Shock statement
v. Facts, figures and statistics
vi. Short story
vii. General statement

~ Quotes

Quotes are an effective way of initiating a GD.

If the topic of a GD is: Should the Censor Board be abolished?, you could start with a quote like, ‘Hidden apples are always sweet’.

For a GD topic like, Customer is King, you could quote Sam (Wal-mart) Walton’s famous saying, ‘There is only one boss: the customer. And he can fire everybody in the company — from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.’

~ Definition

Start a GD by defining the topic or an important term in the topic.

For example, if the topic of the GD is Advertising is a Diplomatic Way of Telling a Lie, why not start the GD by defining advertising as, ‘Any paid form of non-personal presentation and promotion of ideas, goods or services through mass media like newspapers, magazines, television or radio by an identified sponsor’?

For a topic like The Malthusian Economic Prophecy is no longer relevant, you could start by explaining the definition of the Malthusian Economic Prophecy.

~ Question

Asking a question is an impactful way of starting a GD.

It does not signify asking a question to any of the candidates in a GD so as to hamper the flow. It implies asking a question, and answering it yourself.

Any question that might hamper the flow of a GD or insult a participant or play devil’s advocate must be discouraged.

Questions that promote a flow of ideas are always appreciated.

For a topic like, Should India go to war with Pakistan, you could start by asking, ‘What does war bring to the people of a nation? We have had four clashes with Pakistan. The pertinent question is: what have we achieved?’

Shock statement

Initiating a GD with a shocking statement is the best way to grab immediate attention and put forth your point.

If a GD topic is, The Impact of Population on the Indian Economy, you could start with, ‘At the centre of the Indian capital stands a population clock that ticks away relentlessly. It tracks 33 births a minute, 2,000 an hour, 48,000 a day. Which calculates to about 12 million every year. That is roughly the size of Australia. As a current political slogan puts it, ‘Nothing’s impossible when 1 billion Indians work together’.’

~ Facts, figures and statistics

If you decide to initiate your GD with facts, figure and statistics, make sure to quote them accurately.

Approximation is allowed in macro level figures, but micro level figures need to be correct and accurate.

For example, you can say, approximately 70 per cent of the Indian population stays in rural areas (macro figures, approximation allowed).

But you cannot say 30 states of India instead of 28 (micro figures, no approximations).

Stating wrong facts works to your disadvantage.

For a GD topic like, China, a Rising Tiger, you could start with, ‘In 1983, when China was still in its initial stages of reform and opening up, China’s real use of Foreign Direct Investment only stood at $636 million. China actually utilised $60 billion of FDI in 2004, which is almost 100 times that of its 1983 statistics.”

~ Short story

Use a short story in a GD topic like, Attitude is Everything.

This can be initiated with, ‘A child once asked a balloon vendor, who was selling helium gas-filled balloons, whether a blue-coloured balloon will go as high in the sky as a green-coloured balloon. The balloon vendor told the child, it is not the colour of the balloon but what is inside it that makes it go high.’

~ General statement

Use a general statement to put the GD in proper perspective.

For example, if the topic is, Should Sonia Gandhi be the prime minister of India?, you could start by saying, ‘Before jumping to conclusions like, ‘Yes, Sonia Gandhi should be’, or ‘No, Sonia Gandhi should not be’, let’s first find out the qualities one needs to be  a good prime minister of India. Then we can compare these qualities with those that Mrs Gandhi possesses. This will help us reach the conclusion in a more objective and effective manner.’


10 tips to crack through a GD

Many companies and institutes are making group discussion as the first criteria for screening the candidates for face-to-face interviews. And there is reason too for giving huge importance for Group Discussion. First thing Group Discussion is used for mass elimination! And second thing group discussion selection criteria’s are based on actual company requirements.

Communication and Group Discussion skill are two relevant soft skills that are must.

Why group discussion should be the first criteria for selection?

Employees requires communication with different people like team members, managers and customers. So interpersonal skill is very important for tester.

Making a good impression while speaking in meetings or interviews is the basic skill every professional should have. Let’s see how you can make this impression.

What skills are judged in group discussion?

  • How good you are at communication with others.
  • How you behave and interact with group.
  • How open minded are you.
  • Your listening skill.
  • How you put forward your views.
  • Your leadership and decision making skills.
  • Your analysis skill and subject knowledge.
  • Problem solving and critical thinking skill.
  • Your attitude and confidence.

Do’s and Don’ts of Group discussion:

1) Keep eye contact while speaking:
Do not look at the evaluators only. Keep eye contact with every team member while speaking.

2) Initiate the GD:
Initiating the GD is a big plus. But keep in mind – Initiate the group discussion only when you understood the GD topic clearly and have some topic knowledge. Speaking without proper subject knowledge is bad impression.

3) Allow others to speak:
Do not interrupt anyone in-between while speaking. Even if you don’t agree with his/her thoughts do not snatch their chance to speak. Instead make some notes and clear the points when it’s your turn.

4) Speak clearly:
Speak politely and clearly. Use simple and understandable words while speaking. Don’t be too aggressive if you are disagreeing with someone. Express your feelings calmly and politely.

5) Make sure to bring the discussion on track:
If by any means group is distracting from the topic or goal then simply take initiative to bring the discussion on the track. Make all group members aware that you all need to come to some conclusion at the end of the discussion. So stick to the topic.

6) Positive attitude:
Be confident. Do not try to dominate anyone. Keep positive body language. Show interest in discussion.

7) Speak sensibly:
Do not speak just to increase your speaking time. Don’t worry even if you speak less. Your thoughts should be sensible and relevant instead of irrelevant speech.

8 ) Listen carefully to others:
Speak less and listen more! Pay attention while others are speaking. This will make coherent discussion and you will get involved in the group positively. You will surely make people agree with you.

9) No need to go into much details:
Some basic subject analysis is sufficient. No need to mention exact figures while giving any reference. You have limited time so be precise and convey your thoughts in short and simple language.

10) Formal dressing:
Do not take it casually. No fancy and funny dressing. You should be comfortable while speaking in group. Positive gesture and body language will make your work easy.

Source: Internet