Group Discussion (G.D.) is a common occurrence in our day to day life, however when local chipmunks like us are put to squabble in front of suits draped in black, it becomes an entirely different scenario. Yea, you heard me right, I did say squabble, because that’s what every novice of every block thinks it is!
To excel in a Group Discussion, to get highlighted, and hence increase chances to gain recognition from the judging panel, would require some efforts on your part.
Here are the 10 tips that you might find extremely useful:
1. First off draw a distinction between Group Discussion and
The most misunderstood notion held by a newbie, to everyone’s amazement, does not even begin to relate to any of the core practices and principles of G.D. but is a result of an added external, an entirely different form of interaction, called “Debate.” The overlap in the knowing of a G.D. and a debate is essentially responsible for the squabbling, that many mistakenly assume is very important. It is a requirement of debate to hold on to one’s chosen point of view, i.e., the two individuals cannot change their viewpoint, and can only provide arguments that make strong their assertion and in turn weaken that of the opponent. However, in a Group Discussion, to reach consensus is the lone requirement. Thus, the purpose is not to blankly counter viewpoints of others, but to have a good ear and hence, provide constructive views that help reach a common opinion.
2. It’s not a competition. It’s co-operation.
With G.D. becoming one of the stages in selection of candidate by a company, it is obvious that a person who appears most talented and showcases ideas in most appealing manner would qualify for the next level. The educated guess that is made by almost all, turns the group into a bunch of brats, where every individual tries to push and lay emphasis on opinion that is his own. In the process, only the most persistent, neither capable of compromise nor devoid of words, continue, defeating the sole imperative of a Group Discussion. A G.D. is more on the lines of conversation, where conversance of an individual is put to the benefit of the group, i.e., every opinion of every member of the group is listened to, thought upon, adjudged, and only then does one propose to reject or accept, which again is a consensus. Thus, it is not about self, but self and the group, keeping at all times, the group a preference.
3. Take initiative when an opportunity presents itself.
One of the most significant moments while in a G.D. is the start. My school time habit was to start with an idiom “To break the ice …. Blah! Blah! Blah! …..” It was indeed the only time I could use and that, I most often did. The silence was the span, in-between allotment of topic for the discussion and the start of discussion, i.e., the time given to the group, to the individual members to collect and assimilate their ideas. Hence, the first words marking the start tuned in with what idiom implies.
The two contradictory cases:
Starting discussion provides an opportunity to the speaker, to define direction that the group would take, and chain of opinions that would follow. Also, since none of the ideas have been articulated, speaking initially is most rewarding. Further, while others present their own ideas, it gives the first speaker enough time to come up with fresher idea, stepping ahead all the way.
There is again hesitation to start first, and many shrug off the opportunity, for they fear someone might counter their direction sought, leading to complete dismissal of their opinion. It is thus, advised to not present an idea if what one has is limited knowledge on the subject. In such cases, it is better to listen and reason with the group regarding certainty or uncertainty of applicability of idea presented.
4. It’s not a group, it’s a team. Act like one of the Team members. Act
Importance at all times must be given to group, and less to immodest boasting of one’s sheer knowledge. Although, one might have tons of opinion, all should not be purported at once, instead group members must be asked to ponder over one of the significant one’s, otherwise it won’t reflect onto team playing. A team player does not just pitch ideas. To listen intently to others and engaging with them in relevance to their views makes up for best participation. Also, it asserts that one’s attitude towards group members and their opinions is respectful.
5. Don’t just be another member, arise to the occasion. Be a leader!
Role of a leader in Group Discussion is most talked about and followed up very little. The reason being it’s not easy to identify as to when one must sit back and participate, and when to take a stand. Though G.D. is a team game where everyone can participate and no one must be discouraged, the time frame is limited and a final conclusion must be drawn. Thus, a wannabe leader must always ensure that the discussion does not deviate from topic at hand. Though a leader must promote participation, it is required that at times when none of the members are agreeing to act in one specific direction and randomness is apparent, a stand must be taken to bar unwarranted discussion by suggesting answer supported by compelling reasoning. It greatly speaks of judgment on part of the speaker.
6. Just listening won’t do. Try to remember and hold onto all of it. Helps conclude.
If you are one of those, who could not speak because of a blatant speaker, or better orator, or lack of ideas, it becomes increasingly important to listen every little detail. Further, remembering it all, and creating a mental note by assimilating ideas helps one conclude. Not all remember all of it, some remember fifty percent, others eighty, thus reminding essential points if forgotten helps greatly. Also, one could prevent redundancy of ideas, i.e., if a point has already been covered, then remembering all would preclude unnecessary discussion and save time. It is also a good leadership trait.
7. Think thoroughly before presenting an idea or commenting on one. Reasoning is paramount.
It indeed takes courage to admit mistake, but why make one. The more flawed your reasoning, the more it would attract critique, and not in a good way. Questions would be raised, even from those who never spoke before. Though this might help someone else countering you, but you don’t have to be that generous, do you? It further weakens authority and assertiveness of your yet-to-come opinions, and decreases the likelihood of people considering your viewpoint with seriousness.
8. Don’t be that guy.
Often people believe they can get by being clamorous. This might work on a street discussion, or at an orthodox family discussion, but the added presence of judges might not serve your cause. The difference is in change of rules. The fact remains, companies look for emotional stability, they might compromise to some extent with intellectual might but if you provide even the slightest of hints of mental breakdown, you might regret it. Being quiet the whole time is also not appreciated, for an extrovert has better chances of catering to interpersonal roles than an introvert. Thus, don’t be that guy, one who resides at extremes, nobody likes extremes, a temporary blip is sometimes excusable but an intermediate is the clear choice.
9. Although is taken for granted, but still, don’t stammer! You have played JAM, haven’t you?
A momentary pause sometimes results in a long waiting time, when someone cuts you in middle and leaves you with words still in your mouth. The disadvantage may or may not be to the participant who interrupted, but if your opinion is averred by someone else in the mean time, then you remain one idea short. Also importance of an idea is underrated, for an idea can many a times strike balance between you and the goal. Also, play Jest A Minute, it’s a cool fun leisure activity.
10. What’s your risk taking propensity? Go for broke. If all of the participants share same viewpoint, twitch it!
There are instances, when all of the group members agree on a single viewpoint at the very beginning of G.D. Thus, everyone presents some or other supporting argument leading to unlikelihood of any more arguments. If you have not stated any opinion of your own, going the opposite lane might be the perfect way to get highlighted in front of Judges. By providing satisfactory explanations, and handling the questions that might come your way, scoring in a G.D. is more likely for you, than any other participant who merely supported, but then again, I did say it’s a risk, but can definitely pay rich dividends just like risks are, risky but rich dividends.
G.D. at most times represents a vociferous mob, but then again if you do your part well, you can score high. It is indeed never wrong to say,
The rampant aggression, chaos and restlessness is part of G.D., and to overcome is the art of G.D.