I was sitting on a chair with other weird looking creatures around me, staring at each other, preparing to attack when I was suddenly shocked by the sound of a bell. The bell was the indication to start our Group Discussion round. Just as I began to gather my thoughts on the topic, one of the creatures got up from his seat and started shouting (and not speaking) his point. The other creature picked up his chair and threw at the person shouting. Soon, the GD room turned into a war ground with people attacking each other by throwing anything they could get their hands on. Now, these creatures started coming towards me. I tried to save myself from the attacks but I was victimised!!!
Unfortunately, I was not in a Roadies GD or a World war ground and this did not actually happen to me. But these are exactly the kinds of thoughts and visualizations I used to have whenever I thought about a Group Discussion round. I used to fear the Group Discussion round so much that it gave me nightmarish imaginations of monsters, wars and any other scary thing. In simpler words, Group Discussion Round was the monster of my life.
But, almost every company these days uses GD as the first criteria for selection. This helps them in mass elimination of people. Also, they are able to test the basic skill required for recruiting people- ‘the ability to communicate’.
Here, I’m going to share some basic things I learnt from my experiences of Group Discussions and how you can tame this monster and make it your little pet!
1. It’s just a discussion!
First of all, you need to realize that a GD is exactly what the term itself says – a discussion among a group of people! We have discussions every day – with friends, parents, relatives, partners etc. This is no different – you’re going to have a discussion on some topic with your colleagues. Doesn’t this sound ridiculously easy? It’s supposed to be easy! So people, do not be afraid!
2. Sit comfortably and prepare yourself mentally
Make sure you are comfortable where you’re sitting and you’re not moving and fidgeting all the time. Don’t play with your hair, or rub your nails together, or any other thing that shows you’re nervous. Prepare yourself mentally to speak in front of everyone.
3. Gather your thoughts
Once the topic is given and the participants are given some time before the discussion is started, try to gather your thoughts on the given topic. Think about the points you’re going to say and preferably write them down on a piece of paper.
4. Keep an eye contact while speaking
Making an eye contact is important. This should be done not only with the evaluator but with every team member while you speak. This helps you to grab personal attention of every member in the room giving you extra ‘brownie points’ in the discussion.
5. Want to be the first to speak?
Starting the group discussion by being the first person to speak on the topic is a very risky avenue. It’s like they say – ‘a make or break situation’. If you start off well, you would instantly impress your judges. Start the discussion in a not-so-good way, however, and you would immediately be pointed out to the judges as a weak candidate. If you’re confident enough about yourself, and about the topic, there is no reason you shouldn’t try to be the first speaker.
Typically, the first speaker should introduce the topic rather than obstinately taking one side or the other.
6. Be confident!
Do you feel shy or doubt yourself when talking to friends? You don’t! Why feel shy here, then? Be confident about yourself and your thought process. You don’t have to worry about what anyone thinks of you. Trust your instincts, say what you feel, and say it boldly and clearly.
7. Don’t shout
It is often said – ‘Raise the quality of your argument, not your voice.” This is what you must follow. Shouting will not get you anything but frowns of your colleagues and negative marks from the judges. This is not a terribly futile ‘Roadies’ group discussion you’re preparing for! So, just say a little calm and control your exuberance and excitement. Don’t start jumping around like a 5-year-old!
8. It’s a discussion, not a debate
Don’t make the group discussion a heated debate. It is supposed to be a calm discussion and that is how it must stay. Don’t start cross questioning every person without putting forward your own points on the topic. No matter how terribly you hate a fellow participant’s face, don’t start fighting with him/her!
9. Take your opportunity to speak
People will ask you to be polite and wait for someone to finish their argument before you start speaking. However, in my experience, this doesn’t really work. If you let someone speak, they won’t stop until the time for the group discussion is over! So, you need to know how to cheekily take your opportunity to speak. Be polite, but whenever the person speaking pauses somewhere, or has a break in his thought process and takes a second to think, take your chance and put forward your opinion. You don’t want to be waiting all the time to just get your turn.
10. Have a solid premise to every argument you make
Let’s consider two sets of discussions –
1. PERSON A – Ram is a good boy.
PERSON B – Ram is a bad boy.
PERSON A replies – No, Ram is a good boy.
PERSON B – You are mad, Ram is a bad boy.
PERSON A – You retarded person, Ram is a good boy.
PERSON B – You are foolish! Ram is bad!
They keep doing this for hours.
2. PERSON A – Ram is a good boy because he helped an old woman cross the road.
PERSON B – No, Ram is a bad boy because the old woman didn’t even want to cross the road and he made her do it anyway!
PERSON A – No B, Ram is a good boy since he collected donations for the homeless.
PERSON B – But A, Ram spent all the donations to buy alcohol for himself so he is a bad boy!
Do you realize the difference between the two arguments? In the second case, the people involved are giving reasons for their opinions. And that is what makes a sound argument! Don’t just keep shouting out your opinions without any reason to back them up. Have solid premises to support your conclusions.
This monster of GD would be present inside everyone. But if we are well prepared for it, the monster would just vanish away opening the stairs to success.
Good Luck with your GDs…..
- Recommended Read: Job Interview Etiquettes- 10 Tips to Success
This article has been authored by Hency Batheja