Group discussion, more commonly known as GD has become an important part of many competitive and placement exams. It gives the insight of a person on many levels, like, speaking skills, confidence, team spirit, leadership qualities, knowledge, art of conversation and understanding and handling a situation.
Participating in a group discussion is not as tough as it is projected by people. If you just take care of a few basic things, you can rock it easily.
First of all we should understand, what a group discussion is?
Speaking simply, group discussion is an activity in which 6 to 10 people (usually) participate to discuss a topic. And everyone wants to be the star performer of their group! So, what can be done?
Well, first things first, the basics:
1. Speaking skills: You should make sure to have decent speaking skills. Right language, right pronunciation and right grammar. Speak in English and listen to people carefully while they speak. Once you are good with the language, you need to jump on the second level.
2. Knowledge of your niche: Whenever you are about to participate in a group discussion, you know for what purpose are you participating and what are the possible topics that can be given for discussion. Make sure to read about all such possible topics so that you are not out of words.
Once we are ready with the basics, we now move to the next and the most significant level, how to perform in a group discussion:
1. Body language: The way you sit, makes a huge difference. Ya, seriously! Sit straight, never cross your legs or hands and keep your facial expressions calm.
2. Write: You can take a paper and a pen in a group discussion. So make sure you are taking one. It will help you to jot down your ideas as well as the ones given by others.
3. Speak up first: Want some brownie points? Try to be the initiator of the discussion. And if not the initiator, be among the first three speakers (in a group of 8 to 10).
4. Look at the people and not the judges: Always remember in a discussion you are addressing the people of the group and not the panel of judges. So while speaking always look at the members of the group.
5. It’s a discussion and not a debate: Many people forget that a group discussion should involve both, the negative and the positive points. You don’t have to take sides, rather you should discuss the over all subject. In fact an impressive speaker is the one who discusses both the sides of the coin.
6. Mind your tone: Your tone also defines you a lot. Make sure that neither you are too loud nor too soft while speaking. You should be authoritative while speaking, neither dominating nor yielding.
7. Let others speak: Maybe you know everything about your topic but it’s your duty to give chance to others to speak. Also never interrupt anyone while they are presenting their point. Let them finish and then start with your points and ideas.
8. No no to negative words: Never use negative words like, “I disagree”, “This is not right in my view”, etc., in the discussion. Always remember it’s a discussion, and negative words create a negative impact of your personality.
9. Support, involve and appreciate people: Support and involve others with words like, “my worthy opponent”, “as my friend said”, “I would like to add my view to John’s point”, etc. Using the names of people and supporting their points, creates a positive impact and shows that you are attentive and have team spirit.
10. Conclude: Always conclude the group discussion with the significant points in both, favor and against the topic. Try to make it 4 points for each. Also mention and appreciate the people while mentioning their points in the conclusion. This gives you an edge and presents you as a confident leader who always gives the deserved credit to the worthy ones.
Be prepared for the Worst Case Scenario
There may be chances in your life when even after preparing well you get dashed into a topic that you have no idea of. Now what? Are you doomed? No, never! There is always a way out. This is what you can do:
- Write down the points mentioned by others.
Try to be the 4th or the 5th speaker (in a group pf 8 to 10 people) with the points that you have made.
You still have the ACE of Hearts in your deck, if you manage to conclude the discussion.
Follow all other points mentioned above about body language, speaking skills and etiquette.
I can assure you that if take care of all the above mentioned aspects, then you are set to the blast away any group discussion anytime and anywhere!
All the best!!!
How do you prepare yourself before facing a group discussion? What more do you think can be added? Share your views and ideas with me.