Sunday, November 23, 2014

Group Discussion Tips & Approaches

What is Group Discussion?
Group Discussion is a modern, yet common method of candidate elimination conducted in MBA Admissions. It is typically conducted as a second round of elimination for candidates who cleared the written tests. Over here, a small group (typically 5-10 members) is created and a topic is given for discussion. The candidates in the group are then asked to discuss the topic and share their opinions. Read more below or Click here to prepare for CAT & other MBA exams.

Flow of Group Discussion: 

DOs & DONTs:-
1.      Between the announcement of the topic and the beginning of the discussion, make sure you note down all the important points you want to make. Make sure you are carrying a pen & paper. If you have any doubts and seek clarification, do so in the preparation period.
Do not try to make mental notes only assuming you will be able to remember all the points you have thought of during the discussion.

2.      If the topic requires you to take one point of view or another, remember to decide on your stand and prepare as many points as possible to justify your stand.
Do not waste time trying to frame points in the best possible language you can.

3.      Grab the opportunity to speak first in the discussion. There are always extra points to be scored if you speak first. But do so only if you have good points to make.
Speaking first can be a double edged sword. If you do not feel like you are ready to make the first point, then do not. It can completely backfire if you speak first without making any valid points resulting in a poor first impression being made in front of the judges.

4.      Ensure you put forth your view in an assertive (but not aggressive), confident manner and support your views with factual data and reasoning. Providing facts, quotes & real examples to support your argument creates a strong positive impact on listeners and indicates strong reasoning and chain of thought in the views you present.
Do not make an argument based on subjective likes/dislikes or ones that cannot be defended by reason. For eg: “I believe Narendra Modi will be a good leader because he is from the BJP”. Instead you can say “I believe Narendra Modi will be a good leader because he has a proven track record of leadership & economic development for over a decade in Gujarat.”

5.      Respect all participants and facilitate discussion from other participants as well (remember it is a ‘group’ discussion) without only talking yourself and be polite when you are providing a counter argument to a point made by another participant. When you raise an objection (just like in point #4 above), make sure you back it up with good reason to get the point across.
Do not raise your voice, laugh, ridicule or show anger at a point made by another person even if it is something that does not make sense in your opinion. Even if another person shouts, laughs or ridicules a point you made, do not react in an aggressive or negative manner but calmly defend your point. Similarly do not interrupt another person but wait for him/her to complete his/her point.

6.      Body Language is very important and make sure you are projecting yourself in the right manner. Be confident in your posture while sitting and make eye contact with ALL participants while making your point. Listening skills are also important - Nod your head if you agree with a point as this shows the judges that you are not just waiting to speak but also are an active listener.
Do not lean back in your chair in an overly casual manner or keep fidgeting with your pen or knocking the table. Do not look on the floor or the walls while making your point.

7.      Grab the opportunity to make the concluding point. There are extra brownie points for a good conclusion as well. If you do get the opportunity during the dying seconds of the GD, then you should try and summarize the discussion. If the group has not reached any conclusion, you should try and conclude it.
Like in point #3, do not force yourself to say something last if you feel you cannot leave a good last impression with your final views.

How to prepare for Group Discussions:-
Most GD topics are ones which have been in the news recently. Read the news regularly and keep yourself abreast of all major world and national news. Keeping abreast of the news helps one in quoting facts and figures which leave a very strong impression in the minds of the judges. Last minute preparation on topics will not help one much in the Group Discussion and hence it is important to read newspapers regularly. The candidates who do well in this round are generally those who are very well read.

However, many topics for Group Discussions are popular and repeat in the evaluation rounds of many companies/colleges. Hence, making a list of the popular GD topics and thinking through some of the points for each of these topics will help you be better prepared. For eg: Issues of terrorism, gender inequality, poverty, Hindu-Muslim conflicts, liberalization and privatization, reservations in educational institutions etc. often appear as GD topics. A sample list of popular topics is given below.

All the above are basic yet vital tips to help you crack the GD round.

Sample Topics for Group Discussion:-
1)      Mangalyaan Mars Mission
2)      Space missions are a waste of money for a country like India
3)      Is Democracy hampering India’s progress?
4)      Nothing is wrong in live-in relationships
5)      Should Private tuitions be banned?
6)      Dress Code should be made mandatory in educational institutions
7)      Opportunities are more in the western countries than in India
8)      Compare Rural & Urban life
9)      Reservations in Educational Institutions
10)  Should the number of Political Parties in India be restricted by law?
11)  Capital Punishment should be banned
12)  FDI in retail is good for India
13)  Globalization vs Nationalism
14)  Terrorism is growing at an unprecedented rate
15)  Influence of social media is bad.


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