How to prepare for Group Discussion
How to prepare for Group Discussion (GD) would be an obvious question popping in your mind whether you have just taken the MBA entrance exam or you are preparing for the upcoming admission process. GD is a very critical and crucial step in ensuring success in a candidate’s journey. Since GD is a test of your attitude and personality, it will be beneficial to start your preparation for GD at the earliest.
Why GD became mandatory?
Before GD the candidate has to undergo the written exam which covers different subject levels such as quantitative aptitude, logical reasoning, general English and computer-based questions. Based on the cut-off, after qualifying the first round the candidate has to undergo the second round i.e group discussion. Group discussion became mandatory to filter the candidate’s soft skills and whether the candidate has the ability to cope up with different scenarios.
Who conducts a group discussion?
Generally, group discussion is conducted by large bodies such as universities, top-rated b-schools, management institutions & colleges and even by MNC’s. To get admission in top B-schools GD round is one of the most important & crucial rounds. This round is conducted to analyze the skills from different parameters and to select the right candidate for the right position so that it meets the company’s requirement.
Why do students fail to perform well in GD?
In today’s scenario most of the students fail to perform well in a group discussion because of the below three reasons:
1. Due to the fear of speaking in public.
2. Lack of knowledge on the topic.
3. No proper command on language.
Purpose or objectives of group discussion:
- To shortlist candidates for the next level of the selection process.
- Assessment of communication and technical skills in one go.
- Getting fresh input and ideas.
- Identify the solution(s) to any issues.
The process followed in GD:
In any B-schools or MNC’s, the selectors will select the students randomly based on the number. For a group usually, 8-10 members were selected. A topic is given and around 3-5 minutes of time is given to prepare. The duration of the discussion is based on the group, topic, college to college and organization to organization. Only on a few parameters, the assessment is done. The parameters such as content, supporting others point, giving relevant examples, latest updates or news, eye-contact, conclusion and behavioral traits.
There is no secret or any rules for preparing GD. Before going for GD one has to consider a few points.
1. Be up-to-date on the latest information such as news and trending topics in the market.
2. Make a habit of reading newspapers, books and magazines so that in-detail information is provided.
3. The simple way to remember the content for a longer period is to watch videos for 2-3 times.
4. Later on, select a topic and speak for yourself in front of the mirror. (Make assessment for yourself).
5. Even be aware of different topics such as sports, political news, technology news, economics and market-related news.
How to prepare for Group Discussion(GD)?
Over the years, majority of management b-schools have inculcated this tool in their selection process to assess overall personality traits of the aspirants. GD is test that not only judges the knowledge but more importantly the character of an individual. Since character traits cannot be shaped in a few days, it is never too early or too late to begin preparing for GD. Follow the given steps to kick-start your preparation:
Step 1: Self-AssessmentThe first step in preparing for GD is a true self-assessment to know your inner strengths and weaknesses. For instance, it is pertinent to be aware of your level of comfort in public speaking. If this is an area that gives you jitters, it will be more relevant to build confidence through mock group discussions and practise.
Step 2: Building your own repertoire of knowledgeYou can be confident in speaking if you have well-prepared knowledge of relevant facts and opinions on diverse topics. The GD topic given on that day could be from any field – economics, management, environment, socio-cultural issues, etc. Therefore, it is advisable to prepare your key content beforehand. Go through common GK and keep track of major current events. Do a lot of reading around diverse topics to gather information and facts. It is also important to form your own opinion on major issues.
Step 3: Go through previous year GD TopicsThis will help you understand the different kinds of GD topics that are given and be better prepared for them. The GD topics can be broadly divided into three categories: (1) Factual Topics that based on static or dynamic knowledge of specific concepts; (2) Abstract Topics that assess your creative thinking by judging the way you perceive something; and (3) Case-based Topics that seek a solution to a given problem in a realistic situation with constraints and conditions. You can also go through important topics expected in the upcoming GDPI session.
Step 4: Building necessary Personality TraitsWhile one cannot acquire virtues of character such as humility and patience, there are certain personality traits that can be inculcated through deliberate attempt. For instance, building communication skill is crucial for GD preparation. ‘Good communication skills’ require a person to be more tolerant of diverse opinions. Only those who make efforts to understand the entirety of any issue will be receptive of new and opposing ideas. Similarly, if you practise solving multiple case-studies using different methods, you can intentionally inherit ‘problem-solving skills’ and ‘creative thinking’.
Step 5: Clarity of thought and expressionLastly, clear thinking and presentation of ideas is the key to success. There are several tools that can be learnt and adopted for creating ideas and content for GDs. However, the way to set forth your ideas is an art. “Practice, Practice and Practice” is the mantra to swear by if you wish to learn the art of structuring and presenting your ideas at the right time and right moment. You can rehearse through mock-GDs or with a group of friends/ colleagues, but practice if you want to prepare for GD!
Preparing for Group Discussion
There are no specific rules to prepare for a GD. However, below are few points that a person can keep in mind while preparing for a GD.
BEFORE THE GROUP DISCUSSION
Stock yourself with information
No one knows what the topic of GD is going to be. Hence, it will be a good idea to keep yourself abreast with topics like:
Current Affairs is something that you have to be thorough with. For this, read newspapers regularly and watch news on the television. Understand the recent crises that the world is reeling under, the latest developmental initiatives, the ties between various countries and the like.
Have a fair knowledge about the countrys history and also the history of other countries. The topics may not be specifically from this area, but having historical information will help you cite examples and make references whenever needed.
Sports, Arts & Literature
In these topics, try to have a decent idea about what is popular, who are the leaders in each area, the latest that has happened in these areas. If the topic for GD is from these areas, then you will be in control of the situation, or else you can definitely use the information to draw references.
Do familiarize yourself with important data. Throwing in some data if required in your GD will definitely create an impression among the assessors.
AT THE GROUP DISCUSSION
Understanding the topic
When the topic is given, understand the topic carefully. If it is not clear initially or you have some doubt regarding the topic, ask immediately. Clarity of the topic is of utmost importance to ensure that you perform well in the GD.
Precise and sharp thoughts
As you are gathering thoughts, try to stick to precise and concise thoughts. Remember, when you are communicating, what is more important is what you are communicating rather than how much you are communicating. In a Group Discussion, it is always quality over quantity. Let your views be relevant and to the point. To a great extent, try to do some out-of-the-box thinking so that your view stands out from the rest.
Communicating your views
You may have excellent views on the topic, but are you able to communicate them in an effective manner is the question. Here, is where your communication skills will come to your rescue. If you have good communication skills, well and good, or else you will have to work on developing the same. To develop communication skills, you can choose a topic, stand before the mirror and start talking about it. As you are talking, anticipate few questions from an imaginary audience and try replying them. Analyse what you are doing, try to spot flaws, if any, in your communication and then start working on them. This will help you come across as a confident person during the GD. On the day of the Group Discussion, your aim should be to collate your thoughts in a structured manner and put them across to the team and the assessors in an effective way.
Taking the initiative
Try to initiate the Group Discussion, if possible. By taking the initiative, you will be giving a structure to the discussion and defining the manner in which the discussion will progress. This will exhibit your quality as a person who can facilitate actions by breaking the ice. A little word of caution here, attempt being the lead only if you have a fair amount of knowledge about the topic and you know exactly what you are speaking. If you take the initiative of being the lead and somehow you are unable to pull it through, then it will backfire completely. So, act wisely.
Knowledge about the topic
When you are talking on the topic, choose your points in a manner that they convey the depth of knowledge that you possess. Superficial talk is going to be a strict no-no here as the assessors will be easily able to see through. Try to have abstract thoughts around the topic and also try to draw references to different situations or incidents. Citing relevant examples will also help to a great extent.
Understanding dynamics in the group
In a group discussion, try to be in control of the discussion. This is easier said than done, because most of the group members would be trying to do the same. What you can do is follow the discussion keenly and try to pitch in wherever relevant. If you have some good points, try to put them forth and steer the discussion. Do not be aggressive. Do not force your points. If there is a disagreement on the points that you have made, try to counter them with even more valid points. This will not only exhibit your knowledge but also show that you are a good listener. Try to fuel the discussion whenever possible. Give everyone a chance to speak. If someone has not contributed, ask the person to speak up. This will showcase your ability as a team player.
When the discussion is about to end, try to conclude it by taking in the points that everyone has made and coming to a decent conclusion. This will indicate your analytical skills and also the way you structure your thoughts.