“The aim of group discussion or argument should not be victory, but progress.”-Joseph Joubert
“Group discussion is very valuable; group drafting is less productive.”-Jon Postel
Effective group discussion may be useful to:
♦ To be a good team member
♦ Assess communication skills
♦ Reasoning ability
♦ Leadership skills
♦ Ability to think on one’s feet
The first aspect of the group discussion is communication skills. A candidate has to speak thoroughly to convince other members of the group. Grabbing the attention of the audience creates a positive impact.
The judges evaluate on the basis of listening. It is necessary that it should be precise and clear. Evaluators look on the candidate’s knowledge in the subject, precision and clarity of the thoughts. Never focus on irrelevant talks in the discussion and speak forcefully to create impact on the subject.
Listening is also important and based on that the judges evaluate. It is also necessary that you should be able to convey your thoughts convincingly to others. If you are not good at speaking, join a crash course of public speaking which may be offered by many institutes. This course is designed to improve communication skills, conversation skills, business writing, negotiation skills and presentation skills. In depth knowledge on the topic being discussed makes one confident and enthusiastic.
Addressing the group as a whole:
In a group discussion it is not nessacary to address the members by their name. It is advisable to address the group as a whole. Use very formal language but not as used in normal conversations. Never use words or phrases like “Yar”, “Chalta Hai”,”CP”,”I Donno”etc. There is no need to speak in highly textured English. Use formal, plain and simple English. Don’t mix-up Hindi and English in group discussion.
Types of the topics given in a group discussion:
1. Factual topics
Factual topics are the contemporary issues related to an ordinary man. They may include social economic issues or current issues related to day to day life. A factual topic discussion gives a chance to prove the awareness of the candidate on the particular issue.
Ex: Child labour, Literacy rate in India and Tourism in India
2. Controversial topics
These are the topics which lead to controversial arguments. These topics are given with a motto to check the maturity levels, personal and emotional controlling power of the candidate.
Ex: Reservations and Political issues
3. Abstract topics
Abstract topics are related to intangible things. These topics are not given frequently for discussion. But these topics are given to address your creativity and lateral thinking.
Ex: Number 10, Twinkle little start and A is an alphabet.
A candidate’s performance in a Group Discussion is rated on the basis of below aspects:
♦ A candidate who expresses his ideas well
♦ Who shows interest and command over the subject while discussing
♦ Who has a thorough knowledge on the subject and convinces the group by his argumentative presentation
♦ One who has a logical and systematic approach
● GD helps you understand a subject better
● GD improves your thinking abilities in a critical way
● GD provides solutions for a particular problem
● GD helps the group make a particular decision
● You can also share your thoughts with other students
● You can also improve your listening skills
● You can increase your confidence while speaking in public
● You can change your attitude
Some frequently given GD topics during the interviews:
1. How to Deal with High Oil Prices?
2. Are Indians Less Quality Conscious?
3. Is the Consumer really the King in India?
4. Commercialization of Health Care: Good or Bad?
5. Is there any Point in having a Business Strategy when the World changes from Month to Month?
6. Is the Patents Bill Good for India?
7. Capitalism is a very Flawed System but the others are so much worse
8. How can a Business get rid of the Bad Name that it has earned?
9. Government Pumping Money into the Economy is not the Solution for our Economic Problems
10. Is the Budgeting Exercise of any Use?
11. Should Agricultural Subsidies be stopped?
12. Are MNC’s Superior to Indian Companies?
13. Advertising is a Waste of Resources
14. Privatization will lead to Less Corruption
15. Use of Force by Banks to Recover Loans
16. Skilled Manpower Shortage in India
17. Technology Creates Income Disparities
18. In our economic matters, there is an excessive tendency towards the thinking rather than doing
19. Is disinvestment really that good for India or is a rethink in order?
20. Are co-operatives relevant in today’s globalised environment?
21. Indian villages – our strength or our weakness?
22. Space Missions are a Wastage of Resources for a Resource-Starved Nation like India
23. Satyam Scandal would Impact Foreign Investments in India
24. Private Participation in Infrastructure is Highly Desirable
25. Developing Countries need Trade, not Aid
26. Poverty in Third World Countries is due to Prosperity in First World Countries
27. Indian Economy: Old Wine in New Bottle!
28. Is Globalization Really Necessary?
29. What shall we do about our Ever-Increasing Population?
30. Banning of Trade Unions will be Beneficial in Growth of the Economy
31. Why can’t India be a World-Class Player in Manufacturing Industry as it is in IT & BPO Sectors?
32. We Need Drinking Water and Not Coke & Pepsi in Rural India
33. Rise of Regional Blocs Threatens Independent Nations like India
34. Should the public sector be privatized?
Below group discussion tips can be useful for freshers:
1. Attend the group discussion with a formal dress and make sure that your language is formal too. Don’t use normal phrases like “yar”,”chalta hai”,”CP”,”I dunno” etc.
2. Don’t mix-up Hindi and English while speaking. Use formal, plain and simple language.
3. Use your power of expression as a weapon to attract the target audience.
4. Utilize the time given to you and memorize your thoughts on the particular subject to convince group members.
5. Be precise and clear while talking.
6. Try to hold the attention of the audience.
7. Body language and eye contact are also considered to be important.
8. It is not nessacary to address with a person’s name…target the group.
9. Listen carefully when others speak. Don’t interrupt them.
10. Convey your thoughts convincingly before a group of people.
11. Explore your skills; gain knowledge on varied topics, enterprise, forcefulness and other leadership qualities to make a difference among the equally competent candidates
12. Starting and concluding the discussion score additional marks.
Dos of participating in a GD:
► Listen to the subject carefully
► Put down your thoughts on a paper
► Initiate the discussion if you know the subject well
► Listening is important when you don’t know the subject
► Always support your point with some facts and examples
► Make a short contribution of 25-30 seconds 3-4 times
► Give others a chance to speak
► Respect others and speak pleasantly
► Disagree politely and agree with what is right
► Summarize the discussion if the group has not reached a conclusion
Don’ts of participating in a GD:
► Don’t initiate the discussion if you do not have sufficient knowledge about the given topic
► Don’t over speak, intervene and snatch other’s chance to speak
► Don’t argue and shout during the GD
► Never speak by targeting a particular member or evaluator
► Don’t discuss on irrelevant things and distract the discussion
► Never pose a negative body gestures like touching the nose, leaning back on the chair, knocking the table with a pen etc
► Never display low self confidence with shaky voice and trembling hands
► Don’t dominate the discussion
► Never create an embarrassing situation by asking others to speak if they don’t want to.