GROUP DISCUSSION HOW TO SUCCEED GROUP DISCUSSION? Group Discussion is to check how you behave, participate and contribute in a group, how much important do you give to the group objective as well as your own, how well do you listen to viewpoints of others and how open -minded are you in accepting views contrary to your own. Group Discussion (GDs) forms one of the most crucial phase for selection to any MBA institute. With the ever increasing rush of aspirants for leading MBA institute in the country, its is both useful and necessary to focus Our attention on this most widely used screening methodology called Group Discussion (GDs). The term Group Discussion is usually used to refer to a planned conversation between like minded persons meeting face to face and through free oral interaction among themselves exchange information or attempt to reach a decision on the given shared problems. Group Discussion is an effective way to share ideas and broaden viewpoints, stimulate interest in problem, help participate express their ideas, identify and explore a Problems, create and informal atmosphere and get opinions from person who hesitate to speak For GD, a batch of 8 to 10 students are called in and identified with a group number. They are made to sit in formation of circle, semi circle or hollow square to enable them to see, hear and observe one another freely and also address the group as a whole. The selection panel/examiner will announce a topic or give a case study or may be situation to analyze and ask the group to start the discussion as leaderless group for 20-25 minutes. The examiner will usually withdraw from the proceedings and becomes a silent spectator after the discussion begins. With almost every aspirant giving their very best in group discussion and interviews, the selection panel find it extremely difficult to select the right candidates fitting the profiles of future managers/executive. During the GD, the selection panel will essentially focus on the following specific skills of the aspirants: Personal skills: The panel would evaluate each aspirant for their analytical ability, knowledge base bad under standing of the subject being discussed simultaneously keeping an eye on their body language, presentation and communication techniques. Candidate’s consistency of thoughts, their confidence level and willingness to take initiative and assertiveness would also carry weightage in selection. Group skills: Value addition to group thoughts would be one of the key factors in evaluating group skills of MBA aspirants. Panel would be also evaluating through written examination or personal interviews such as ability to listen actively to other members and openness to other viewpoints. Leadership Skills: The aspirant’s ability to influence and persuade other members in a group, his leadership qualities, coordination and summarising capabilities will be kept in mind while selecting right candidates. Other leadership qualities such as motivation and boosting morale of the group, giving discussion anew direction with your thoughts, forcefulness, and encouraging silent speakers would also add on to the candidate’s chances for selection. Guidelines to succeed in Group Discussions Adopt the following positive roles to ensure success. Always try to bean initiator, an information seeker, an information seeker, an opinion giver, an opinion giver, a clarifier, a summarizer, a harmonizer and a compromiser and an aggressive attacker. Do’s for a Group Discussion Be an attentive listener. Keep your language simple, direct and straight forward. Ensure that you make original points backed by substantial reasoning for your belief to steeker the group in to discussing other angles to the topic. If the points has already been covered, you can go ahead and either, support or oppose the point provided you can give can give substantial reasoning for your belief. Follow a logical flow in whatever you speak. Make use examples to substantiate your point. Modulate your voice, viz, volume, pitch and tone so as to suite the nature of the point that you are making and ensure you are audible to all the group members. Your posture should be straight and upfront. Make use of body language while presenting your ideas to make them more forceful. Eye contact plays a major role. Non – verbal gesture, such as listening intently or nodding while appreciating someone’s view point speak of you positively. While speaking, maintain eye contact with each and every one in the group. When not speaking, ensure that you are looking at the person who is speaking. Give credit to other members for what he is speaking by use of non verbal communication methods like nodding your head, etc even if you do not agree with him. Try opening the discussion but ensure that you are able to put a good show. The opening has to be a general introduction to the topic briefly laying the scope of the discussion. In case of chaos, try settling things out and continuing the discussion at the earliest. If the discussion is straying from its main idea. Get it back on track by giving a new directional point. Try to get noticed by the panel through your ideas. You have to be assertive. Try and take your chances to speak. Your contribution has to be meaningful and related to the topic. You are able to put forth your argument logically and are good communicator. The quality of what you said is more valuable than the quality. Always take a piece of paper and a pen to jot down as many ideas as you can. Take down both side of argument, in case the topic requires you to take a stand, it will help you on two counts: (i) if you are not initiator and find that everyone in the groups is talking for the topic, then you can take the alternate approach to approach to oppose the topic even if you initially intended to talk for the topic; and (ii) it enables you to understand the opposite of your views put forth by other participants and to be prepared with counter arguments. Try demonstrating your capability to work as part of a team. Power to convince effectively is another quality that makes you stand out among others. Clarity in speech and expression is yet another essential quality. Adopt the wait and watch attitude in case you are not able to understand the topic than speaking something not relevant. Listen attentively to others views to gather your points later. Don’ts for a group discussion. Do not waste time on futile arguments that do not contribute to the topic under discussion. Avoid personal comments and arguments. Do not take the discussion on a wrong track by adding irrelevant points. Do not waste time on small points thereby ignoring the critical and vital issues. Avoid sub- grouping tendencies. Candidates lacking self- confidence, tend to converse with other members instead of addressing the group directly. Making yourself heard is important but do not try to become a dictator all the time. Do not make the use the gestures excessively. Do not maintain an awkward posture indicating your nervousness or discomfort. Do not act restless. Do not stare at the floor or roof or stare at the floor or roof or out of the door and windows Portraying yourself as uninterested or inattentive. Do not convert group discussion in a debate. Suggested GD Topics: Topic for GD is usually not technical but a general topic or anything related to current affairs on which, All the members of the group are expected to share their views easily. I am listing few topic which cam enable to put your thinking caps on. These are topics that are generally asked or are tentatively to be asked for MBA admission. The future of coalition politics in India. Borderless words –Dream or reality? Should Disinvestment continued or stopped? Management Education – is it necessary to succeed in business. Whether India should sign the controversial CTBT? Repeated elections – should taxpayers pay for it ? Do we need a cut in the defense budget? The rise and rise of feminist power. Is India unfit for democracy? Should beauty pageants be banned? India and the WTO Voting age for Indians should not be lowered to 18 years. Students must take active interest in politics. India should follow a two – party system like the U.S. Corruption is a necessary evil for success in any sphere. Modern management education is perfect example of old wine in new bottles. Public sector in India is a white elephant. Advertising is a wasteful expenditure. Exploitation of the female anatomy should be banned in advertising. Love marriage is the best from of marriage. Autonomy of the Indian press and media. Ragging is necessary evil. Value based politics has no place in Indian politics. Indian film industry is on its deathbed. Women Reservation- is it really possible? US and allies invasion of Iraq was justified. Knowledge is the basic strength. An aspirant with good reading habits has more chance of success. In other words, sound knowledge on different topics like politics, finance, economy, science and technology will be immensely helpful and handy for your success in Group Discussion.
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