Group Discussion or GD is a type of discussion that involves people sharing ideas or activities. People in the group discussion are connected with one basic idea. Based on that idea, everyone in the group represents his/her perspective.
GD is a discussion that tests the candidate's skills, such as leadership skills, communication skills, social skills and behavior, politeness, teamwork, listening ability, General awareness, confidence, problem-solving skills, etc.
The Group Discussion is generally the next level after the entrance exam to pursue a professional degree. In the case of recruitments, Group Discussion can be the starting or at the end, depending on different companies or organizations.
It is not fixed that the group discussion is always performed around the table. People can sit in any arrangement, but everyone should be able to see every face. It is not only the usual discussion, but it is also a discussion with knowledge and facts.
In this topic, we have included:
What is Group Discussion?
Group Discussion is a combination of two words 'Group' and 'Discussion.' Let's discuss it in detail.
A group means many people are working together to achieve some targets. The performance of a group depends on the collaborative work of the individuals. The team of three or more than three people is considered as a group.
Discussion means exchanging ideas between two or more than two people, which is generally a face-to-face interaction. It is a process of talking between people to reach a specific decision. It is also defined as a conversation about a specific topic.
The result or end product of group discussion can be a particular decision, enhanced knowledge, actions, an argument, doubt-clearing, disagreement, etc.
Over the last years, GD is used to test the soft skills of the candidates. It is used as a quick method to shortlist a few candidates from the massive strength. The written exam tests the knowledge and aptitude. Organizations check the social skills, technical, and communication skills so that a candidate can work effectively without any obstacle in between his/her skills.
The GD or Group Discussion is used as an exam for many organizations and schools. It tests the personality skills, communication skills, teamwork, confidence, problem-solving skills, social skills, behavior, and leadership abilities of a candidate. It is also an essential part of short-listing candidates for a job or admission to a university.
An intelligent candidate with good knowledge and skills sometimes lacks communication skills, which can be a lack of confidence, hesitation in speaking, unable to explain his/her point of view, etc. Due to this, Group Discussion nowadays has become an essential part of most of the organization and institutes.
Knowledge and technical skills are essential things for a candidate, but in an organization, he/she might have to face the meetings, discussing technical issues, handling new employees, etc. Here, a lack of communication skills becomes the disadvantage of that candidate. Hence, organizations and institutes ensure that the candidate must possess all the qualities before joining.
Who are Panelists?
Panelists are the people who judge the Group Discussion. Evaluation parameters are different for every company, but the general procedure remains the same.
Let's discuss how GD or Group discussion is conducted.
The participants can range from 7 to 12 in a group. The number of candidates in a Group Discussion depends on the available strength. If the strength is low, the number of participants can range from 5 to 7.
Duration of a GD
The average duration of a Group Discussion is 15 minutes. But, it may vary depending on the number of candidates in a group. Sometimes, the panelist or judges can extend the discussion for more than 15 minutes. They can also end the discussion in between. The participants should not consider any assumption that the GD will be conducted only for 15 minutes.
In some cases (IIFT), the duration of a Group Discussion can extend upto 45 minutes.
- The process of a Group Discussion starts with the announcement of the topic. The given topic could be technical, factual, or case study.
- Before beginning with the discussion, the preparation time of 3 minutes is given. The time can also extend in case of a long case statement.
- Any participant in the group can initiate the discussion. After the lead participant, anyone in the group can continue the discussion. Similarly, everyone gets the chance to speak. One after another, participants in the group expresses their views on the given topic.
- It ends when the panelist stops the discussion or may ask one or more than one participant to summarize the GD. Whenever you are asked for the summary, remember to cover the discussed points. The summary cannot include the words that were not part of the discussion. The participants that were quite among the discussion are generally asked to summarize it, which is a good opportunity to present their views. But, it does not mean that everyone should be quite. The summary should include the essential discussed points and the conclusion of the discussion.
- The final scores are calculated. Based on the performance of each participant, the panelist gives the scores. The panelists are usually four to five to judge the performance of candidates in the Group Discussion.
Importance of Group Discussion
Group Discussions are an essential part of testing candidates in the organizations, recruitment process, etc. It also plays an important role in improving the skills of a candidate.
So, let's discuss the importance of Group Discussion.
- Increases confidence
The GD allows the participants to speak in public, which increases their confidence to speak without any hesitation.
- Focuses on Deep thinking
It tests the knowledge of a candidate. The participants get only a few minutes (3 to 5) for the preparation. In such a small duration, they have to make a list of points to speak. The participants in a group listen and understand other participants points of view, making them think deeply about the topic.
- Improves Communication Skills
GD helps the students to represent their views and ask the questions. It not only increases the confidence of a candidate but also enhances their communication skills.
- Removes hesitation of speaking
Some candidates usually have hesitation in speaking in public. At starting, such candidates might face difficulty while speaking. But, after two or three Group Discussion, it improves. Group Discussion helps such candidates to speak loudly and express their views on the topic. It further removes their hesitation in speaking.
- Team Work
Group Discussion is also based on teamwork. In a company, it is very important to work as a team for the assigned project. Due to this, the quality of working together with team members is checked in the Group Discussion. The panelist also judges the cooperation of participants in the group. It allows participants to share their views with other participants in the group.
It helps to understand the attitude and behavior of the candidates towards other participants in a group.
- Listening Skills
GD improves the listening skills of the candidates. For example, the panelist may ask any candidate in a group to summarize the discussion. A candidate can only summarize if he/she has good listening skills. Due to this, every candidate presents in the discussion listens carefully. It further improves the listening skills of the candidates.
- Diversity in the Ideas
The Group Discussion involves sharing ideas with other participants in the group. Every participant shares his/her thoughts in the group, which makes the diversities in the ideas.
Group Discussion is widely used for the recruitment process. It helps panelist to select a few candidates from the group. It also helps them to judge that the candidate is suitable for the organization or not.
Types of Group Discussion
There are two types of Group Discussion, which are listed below:
- Topic-Based Group Discussion
- Case Study Based Group Discussion
Topic-Based Group Discussion
There are few candidates in a group, where each group is given any topic. The group members discuss the topic, which is called a Group Discussion.
The topic-based Group Discussion can be further classified as:
- Controversial Topics
- Knowledge-Based topics
- Abstract Topics
- Conceptual topics
Let's discuss the above topics in detail.
The discussion on controversial topics becomes a debate. Such topics are given to judge the participants' temper and how they can handle the discussion without losing their calm. It shows that how a candidate can represent his/her views without arguing with other participants.
The example of the controversial topics can be Reservation System, Religion equality, etc.
The participants should have a proper understanding of the topic before proceeding for a discussion. The information should be enough to convince the panelists. The essential thing is to be confident. Do not initiate the discussion if you are not aware of the topic.
The examples of Knowledge-Based topics can be 'CAT vs. GATE' and 'Government jobs vs. Private jobs'.
The abstract topics test the creativity and thinking of a candidate. It also tests the communication skills.
The example of Abstracts topics can be 'A walk to remember'.
The conceptual topics are widely used today by companies. It tests the knowledge, logical, and aptitude skills of a candidate. The topic for the discussion is randomly selected, giving panelists a space to judge the participants' creative thinking and ability to handle the situation.
The example of Conceptual topics can be 'Life is a Puzzle.'
Case Study Based Group Discussion
The Case study based Group Discussion is generally followed by the MBA Institutes, such as IIM, etc. In such a discussion, a problem is given, and the participants are asked to resolve them. The preparation time is also higher as compared to other discussions. The panelists test the teamwork and decision-making skills of the participants.
The participants need to active and updated with the things around them. It also tests the observation capability of the participants.
The example of Case study based topics can be 'Discussion between boss and manager'.
Rules of Group Discussion
There are some rules of a Group Discussion. The rules of Group Discussion are listed below:
- Prepare well for the topic.
The quick trick is to note all the important points during the preparation time. Do not write brief paragraphs. Try to write short points and explain them briefly in the discussion.
- Be confident about your content
It would help if you always were confident about your content. If you are not confident, you may hesitate while speaking, which will create a negative impression.
- Participants Introduction
Most participants only focus on their content. You should be aware during the introduction of all the participants in your group. To get attention, you can call out the person's name when the discussion gets diverted.
- Body Language
Always take care of your body language. Do not focus only on the content.
Try to take the lead in the group if you are confident about the topic and the knowledge.
- Avoid false starts or commitments
Do not initiate the discussion if you are not sure about your content. Do not present any wrong information.
- Follow your Domain
Every company has its own culture. Prepare your content according to the company requirements. For example, industrial companies will focus more on technical talks, while marketing companies seek the combination of creative and oriented content.
- Do not fight
In the Group Discussion, some candidates often get aggressive. Do not fight during the discussion. Most of the companies require sensitive and polite candidates rather than aggressive ones.
Estimated criteria for a Group Discussion
The performance of an effective Group discussion depends on individual skills and group coordination.
Let's discuss it in detail.
The individual skills are listed below:
- Communication Skills
All the participants in the Group Discussion present their views on the given topic. The language used should be simple so that everyone present in the discussion can easily understand.
The content is an essential part of the discussion. The content is the words spoken by every candidate. The content should not be copied, repetitive, and wrong. It creates a negative impression. The candidate should not get diverted from the topic. If the content is correct and relevant to the topic, the panelists examine the content and give scores based on your content. They also check that the content is in-depth or superficial.
- Analytical Skills
The analytical skills include the exploration of the asked question. Such skills are more focused on a case study Group Discussion. It primarily includes exploring 'how' and 'why' of the subject content.
It includes how you can think differently from other participants or present your views in different ways. You can also abstract the topic differently. All these points will make you unique.
It will also gain more focus from the panelists on you.
- Decision Making
GD helps in evaluation of the topic and reaching towards the specific decision. It is based on the suggestions given by the members of the group. The task of selecting suitable candidates from the group also becomes easy for the panelist or boss.
- Covering Mistakes
The panelists give the topic at the time of the Group Discussion. You usually get a few minutes to prepare. Sometimes while speaking, mistakes often happen. But, it does not mean that we should stop the discussion in between and get nervous. In such cases, never lose confidence. Always correct the mistakes and come back with confidence.
- Reasoning Skills
The panelist checks how much a participant is right in his/her logical skills. They also check how good you are in supporting standpoints, how you respond to the other participants, and weaken or strengthen other arguments in the discussion.
Voice can range from high-pitch to low-pitch. A high-pitch sometimes seems irritating, while low-pitch may not be understood by everyone present in the discussion. So, voice plays a very important role.
High-pitch is useful when the Group discussion becomes a market where everyone is speaking, and no one is audible. At that time, your high-pitch can calm the participants. So, you should adjust your voice and pitch as per the circumstances.
A participant of a Group Discussion should have fluency in his/her spoken English. Everyone in the discussion listens to you carefully. Improper fluency will distract the listeners. So, it is essential to be fluent while speaking.
Group Discussions are generally unpredictable. Various candidates are keen to share their views with others. The more enjoyment you feel while sharing views, the better will be your performance in the discussion. If you are not interested in the Group Discussion, you may not be able to express your views clearly.
Initiative means to take the lead in the discussion. If you are confident and have good knowledge about the topic, take action. Do not hesitate and be the first one to start the discussion. It will get you the bonus points.
You can also take the initiative between when the discussion is diverted or going out of the topic.
The group coordination includes the qualities that are evaluated based on group situations, which are listed below:
- Body Language
The panelists mainly focus on eye contact and hand movements. Your way of sitting is also essential. Hand movements are the sign of your keen interest in the discussion. You cannot sit randomly as you are in your home. You have to be very careful about the ways you sit, speak, etc. The speaker should maintain eye contact with every participant in the discussion. But, it does not mean that you should not maintain eye contact when you are not speaking. You are required to be aware of the whole discussion period.
The improper body language is considered as a lack of interest or a lack of confidence. It will also distract the attention of panelists from your words. Do not participate in the unusual activities, such as playing with pens and hairs, tapping on the desks, and laughing. You should grab your focus only on the topic.
The behavior of the candidate in the Group Discussion should not be aggressive. It should be polite. Remember that the B-schools or organizations are looking for sensitive and polite candidates, not violent bouncers.
- Listening Skills
The panelist observes that every candidate is listening to the discussion or not. They can also ask any candidate to summarize the discussion at the end. The panelist may infer the poor listener in many ways, such as lack of confidence, poor eye contact, or poor summary at the end. Hence, it is a rarest and essential skill to be a good participant in a Group Discussion.
- Leadership Quality
In a group, one or two participants play the role of a lead. They define the essential points of a topic and try to hold the grip of the group to achieve a common goal. Such candidates often score bonus points. But it does not mean that the candidate who spokes first will get bonus points while others not. It mainly depends on the content. If the first person's content is not impressive compared to the other candidates, he/she will get fewer scores.
- Team Work
In any company, we need to work as a team for the projects. Due to this reason, penalists also check the coordination of the participants in a team. You should not infer any participant while speaking. Do not try to prove that other participants are not speaking correctly.
Seven Mistakes to avoid in a Group Discussion
Most of the candidates in a Group Discussion are not aware of some mistakes. Little mistakes can have an adverse impact on our impression towards the judges, which are listed below:
- Stop taking leads if you do not know much
We should not take the lead in a Group Discussion if we are not much aware of the topic. If we are confident and have much knowledge about the topic, we can initiate the discussion of that group. Otherwise, wait for others to start.
Being second, third, or fourth in the group helps you better understand the topic by listening to other candidates.
- Do not hesitate to initiate the discussion
If you have much knowledge and are confident about the topic, try to take the lead.
- Do not copy anyone else ideas or comments
You should not copy the ideas and comments of other participants in the group. It creates a negative impression. In case you do not have any idea about the topic, it's better to act smart. Analyze and listen to other participants, add some points, and convert it in your own words.
- Do not avoid eye contact with other participants while speaking
When you start a discussion, you should not forget that it is a discussion with multiple candidates. It means that you are not only speaking but having conversations or debates with them. Avoiding eye contact is considered a sign of disrespect and a lack of confidence.
- Do not lose confidence in the whole discussion
The group discussion is not carried for a long duration. It is just for a short span of time. Try always being confident. Do not get nervous if some point goes wrong. Mistakes often happen, but how to recover is more important. Take a challenge to correct your mistakes and come back again with confidence.
- Do not speak slowly
You should always speak loudly in a Group discussion so that everyone can hear and understand your words. Sometimes, the scene of a GD becomes like a market where everyone speaks, but no one is clearly audible. If you have a low voice, there is no chance for you to stand. You can increase your volume and try to settle down the commotion. It will also leave a good impression.
- Try to contribute in a discussion rather than just speaking
Some candidates often speak continuously in a single go. The reason may be the fear of not getting another chance. You should try to cover one keyword at a time by breaking the points into two or three different parts. The words we speak should be valuable without any repetition.
Simple hacks to crack a group discussion for beginners
It might be complicated for a beginner to crack a Group Discussion. Let's discuss some simple hacks to crack a Group Discussion for beginners, which are listed below:
- Create a structure before beginning
During the preparation time, prepare a structure of your discussion. As soon as your discussion starts, look at your structure, and start speaking serially. You can also discuss the agenda with your group and work together on it. It gives a logical flow to your discussion. In this way, you and your group mates can together plan the discussion. To avoid the off-track discussion, keep summarizing in between so that everyone remains on track.
The structure can be in the form of:
- A flowchart
- A block diagram
- Simple steps
- Speak point to point
The organizations are interested in hiring candidates who speak point to point and have effective communication. They do not want to hire those who just beat the rush only to leave a good impression. You should be confident about your words, prepare the discussion according to the topic, and do not hesitate.
Your points should be clear and precise. Do not include large paragraphs in your discussion.
- Be yourself
Do not compare yourself with others. When you apply for an organization or a company, you know that the work culture will fit your needs. Do not speak to create an impression. Speak that you feel correct.
During the discussion, if you found any incorrect statements, inequality to someone, disrespects, comments, ethnicity, etc. that you are not satisfied with, start and present your views. Do not focus on what others will think or say. Raise your voice and hold the chance to speak. But be polite while objecting to someone's point of view. Always be friendly and kind to your group mates.
You should be clear with your words. Your voice should be audible to everyone present in the discussion. Do not speak fast to cover all the points. You should always be confident even if you make mistakes.
- Maintain eye contact
A beginner often feels nervous in a Group Discussion, due to which he/she is unable to keep eye contact with other group members. It makes a negative impression that the candidate is not confident.
So, always maintain eye contact with other group members in the whole discussion.
- Be formal
You may be confident while speaking in a Group Discussion. But, always take care of your body language, dressing style, and gestures. Remember, it is a formal discussion, not a casual discussion.
- Be careful
Sometimes, candidates only focus on their speech and matter. Do not concentrate only on yourself. You should always be careful in a Group Discussion. Listen to other participants as well. The panelists at the end can ask anyone to summarize the discussion. The summarization includes all the essential points discussed by everyone in the discussion. If you are unable to summarize, it will create a negative impression.
- Include examples
You should always try to include examples in the Group discussion. Such candidates are awarded bonus points.
Group Discussion for Competitive exams
Group Discussion has become an important part of various competitive exams, such as CAT, Bank, PO, SSC, Railways, etc. Let's discuss some of the exams with the tips.
CAT stands for Common Admission Test. It is the test conducted for the admissions in business programs (MBA and PGDM). The shortlisted candidates are eligible for admission in the IIMs.
Let's discuss Group Discussion for CAT exams.
The GD in CATs has become an integral part of admissions to IIM and other MBA institutes. It is the best way to study the attitude and behavior of the participants. Most times, you may found a Group Discussion like a market, but it is a systematic discussion. The types, rules, hacks, processes, tips, etc. are similar to other Group Discussions. For any clarity, you can consider the entire topic discussed here.
The CA (Character Accountant) is the accounting specification for various Accountant professionals all over the world.
The Group Discussion for CA is classified as a topic-based group discussion or case-study based Group Discussion. The candidates hired for high-paying jobs are generally given case study Group Discussion. The preparation time is also long for case study Group Discussion.
Other Competitive exams
Let's discuss Group Discussion for other competitive exams, such as Bank, PO, SSC, Railways, etc.
The Group Discussion for Banks is carried to judge the kindness and politeness towards customers. It also tests your patience, pressure that you can handle, and the listening skills. The topics for GD might be based on current affairs or events.
The examples of Group Discussion for Railways can be 'Do Countries Really need a Bullet Train.'
Similarly, Group Discussions are carried for the other competitive exams as well.
Rejection in Group Discussion
Most of the people are confused about their rejection in the Group Discussion. Let's understand that rejection does not mean that you are not capable of doing anything. Every successful person begins his/her journey with rejections. You should always consider rejection a lesson to start with more confidence and learning.
Rejection means that you have got an opportunity to improve your personality. Prepare the Group Discussion according to all the steps discussed in this topic. You can also score yourself and prepare again and again till you scores yourself best. The more confident you feel about your preparations, the better will be your performance in the discussion.
Let's discuss some ten questions. Assess honestly based on the given questions. At last, calculate your total score. You will automatically find your mistakes. Work on them, and you will surely crack the Group Discussion next time.
So, let's start.
- Did you represent the information correctly as per the given topic?
You should have proper knowledge of the topic given in the discussion. Incorrect and repetitive information about the topic creates a negative impression. If you do not know much about the topic, do not initiate the discussion, listen to others carefully, add your points, convert it into your words, and represent the information confidently.
- Were you polite with your group mates?
Teamwork is the skill judged in most of the Group Discussions. If you were not polite with your group mates, it seems that you cannot work together with your colleagues in the company.
- Be positive
Try to always be positive during the discussion. Let's understand by an example, women empowerment. It would help if you were not negative that why there are separate facilities for women.
You should think positively that due to current differences between men and women, it is a better option. It will allow more women to continue their studies, pursuing different career options, etc.
- Were you confident during the whole discussion?
If your heartbeat suddenly increased during the discussion, your hands and feet were shivering, it means that you were not confident. Always think that it is your own place and speak with confidence. No one will scold and laugh at you.
If you know much about the topic, do not wait for others to start. Be confident and start your discussion.
Do not take any pressure. Be calm and participate in the group discussion without any hesitation.
- Have you included examples in your discussion?
Examples are the best way to make your discussion impressive. It also hides your little mistakes. You can also use some famous quotes and statistical data.
- Have you focused on your voice and fluency?
Your voice should reach every comer of the room. It should not be very loud but at a medium pitch. If your voice is not audible to everyone, you may lose some points. You should always focus on your fluency. Do not take many breaks between your discussions.
- Behavior issues
Do not suffer from arguing, attitude, and arrogant problems. It always creates a negative impression. Always remember that companies are hiring for the candidates who can handle every situation without misbehaving. Some candidates also argue on an inevitable fact, due to overconfidence that they will be highlighted, which is not true.
Some candidates do not know about the company, organization, or institute. Whenever you go for any selection round, always go for research about the company, organization, or institute.
- Focus on your body gestures
Do not sit randomly in a Group Discussion. The panelists always focus on how you sit and how you react to different situations during the discussion. In a Group Discussion, sit straight, do not lean back on the chair, and don't play with your pens. Don't get easily distracted when someone opens the door or comes to discuss anything with the panelists. Do not look back, see here and there to see who is coming in the room or not.
You should avoid other gestures like shaking or swinging legs, yawning, etc. Always dress-up properly for a Group Discussion.
- Were you active during the discussion?
You should always be attentive during the discussion. Focus on your listening skills. Sometimes, candidates are not aware about the GD's topic, because they were not active when the topic was given.