How to prepare for a Group Discussion?

What is Group Discussion?

Group Discussion comprises of group of individuals who discuss a topic of similar interest, either formally or informally. Group Discussion tests the individual’s leadership skills, general awareness, communication skills, social skills and behavior, listening skills, confidence and problem solving skills. Formal Group Discussion normally comprises 10-15 members and lasts for 15-20 minutes. The seating arrangement for a group discussion is circular, semi- circular, horseshoe or rectangular. Usually 3-5 minutes are given for preparation after the topic is given by the moderator. After the start of the discussion, the moderator(s) silently observes the speakers and judges them on various parameters. Anyone can start or end the discussion and moderator doesn’t help anyone with the topic.

How to prepare for a Group Discussion?

  • Reading: Reading is a never ending process. The more you read the better. Reading helps you in gaining knowledge on various topics. Its important to be in touch with current affairs, debate topics, etc. It is also important to read different articles on same topic to know various perspectives about the topic.
  • Mocks: We all are aware of the fact that practice makes a man perfect. Forming a group discussion group and practicing helps to overcome shyness and confident. Also, it improves the communication skills.

Initiating a Group Discussion

Initiating a Group Discussion is the best way to grab moderator’s attention. It is a high profit- high loss strategy. Initiating a group discussion grabs the attention of moderator and fellow candidates however stuttering or stammering while initiating causes irreparable damage, that is why it is important to initiate only when there is in-depth knowledge about the topic. However, make sure to participate later also even if you initiate.

Techniques to initiate a Group Discussion:

1. Quotes: Starting with a quote is an effective way to start the group discussion. Quoting something catchy which is relevant to the topic grabs the attention of fellow candidates and moderator. For example, Customer is King- There is one boss: the customer.

2. Definition: Defining the topic is also an effective way. Any discussion should always start with definition of the topic. You can always start a group discussion by giving introduction or by defining the topic. For example, Advertising is a diplomatic way of telling a lie- define advertising.

3. Question: Asking a question related to the topic and then answering it yourself is also an effective way to start a group discussion. Also, it promotes a flow of ideas. For example, “What does war bring to the people of the nation”?

4. Shock Statement: Starting a group discussion about the topic with a shock statement immediately grabs the attention. For example, Impact of population on Indian Economy- “At the center of the Indian capital stands a population clock that ticks away relentlessly, It tracks 33 births a minute.”

5. Facts, figures and statistics: Telling a facts, figures and statistics about a topic shows your knowledge about the topic and can give you an advantage if you start with it. However, make sure you quote only correct facts because wrong facts adds to disadvantage.

6. Short story: Initiating with a short story is also an effective way to start a group discussion.

7. General Statement: You can also start group discussion with a general statement to put it in the right perspective. For example, Should Sonia Gandhi be the Prime Minister of India? – Before jumping into conclusions like, “Yes Sonia Gandhi should be…”

How to interrupt someone in Group Discussion?

  • “Excuse me, but I feel that what you are saying isn’t universally true..
  • “Yes, I agree with your idea, and I would like to further add to it..”
  • “Yes, I think you are right when you say that, but could you clarify what if…”

How to ward off stubbornness and aggressiveness in Group Discussion?

  • Ignore the person and address the others.
  • Be assertive and inform the person that he is wrong.
  • Point out to him that his point is well taken and the group must progress and discuss other views.

How to conclude in a Group Discussion?

Most group discussions do not have any conclusions but it is important to summarize a group discussion. A group discussion can be summarized if the time is available on hand otherwise no summary is needed.

How to summarize a group discussion:-
– Avoiding raising new points
– Avoid stating only your views
– Avoid concentrating on only one aspect of group discussion
– Keep it brief and concise
– Include/Incorporate all important points
– Summarization includes end of Group Discussion
– Do not add anything after Summarization.