Before getting ready how to start the Group Discussion, you need to understand the Group Discussion Rules and improve and focus on Group Discussion skills. Accordingly, it is very important to know and follow certain basic tips for Group discussion to become well versed about the entire GD process. So prior to getting down to learn top basic Group Discussion Tips, the advice by the experts in regard to GD tips is that you should be aware ‘what and how do you speak in the group discussion’; Whether your Communication skills are good; whether your behavior during Group Discussion is positive on the expected lines; whether you are ready to show your leadership skills in the group without being arrogant.
The article below prepared by experts share basic tips for Group Discussion to help you emerge as winner in GD round for MBA admission.
Top 10 basic group discussion tips
Top basic Group Discussion tips include tips to Prepare For Group Discussions before and during the Group Discussion round and important Do’s and Don’ts. Below are shared the Group Discussion Tips to hone your Group Discussion skills:
1. Rich Content with good subject knowledge
Having good subject knowledge and rich content is the first and foremost GD tip to enter the Group Discussion Round. Following are the key steps to improve your Group discussion skills in regard to GD content preparation:
- You should prepare on variety of topics as rich and right subject knowledge will be required during GD round.
- You should have subject knowledge and be well aware of the latest happenings around you, not just in India but around the world as well.
- Subject knowledge is a pre-requisite while you are preparing for a group discussion because you will then have the power to steer the conversation to whichever direction you want to. If you can memorize some relevant data, it will be an added advantage.
- If you are a good reader and read on variety of topics, it will help you in group discussion round. There is no need for last minute preparation. You should read over a period of time. Reading not only adds to your knowledge database, but enhances your vocabulary skills as well.
- Always choose the magazines that are content rich and not just full of advertisements. Often magazines have columns which are promoting a particular institute etc. Avoid such magazines, do some research and buy the best that will be beneficial for you.
2. Be a Leader
There is no doubt that to emerge a winner in GD round you should speak after getting a grasp on the given topic. But it also gives you opportunity to take lead. So be a leader to begin the Group Discussion. Key tips are:
- Usually when the moderator announces the GD topic, for a minute there is silence all round.
- If possible, gather your thoughts in a few seconds and start the Group discussion with positive impact and be a leader.
- If you find that it is taking time to gather ideas, let others begin, and then enter the GD round by agreeing/disagreeing with previous speakers
- Beginning the Group Discussion gives the opportunity to make an impact but if you are not able to make your point well, it will create negative effect
- Therefore, it is not necessary to speak first but it is necessary that when you speak you are heard and are able to make your point well
- If you are able to speak out the name of your previous speaker and then present your views, it will mark a good impact.
3. Be relevant
- When you speak you should speak to the point without any ambiguity of thought
- Express your ideas at length. If you simply follow the other speaker or his ideas, remember your elimination is imminent
- Wherever possible, emphasize your point with facts and figures
4. Be a good Listener
- Learn to be a good listener. Listening Skills are Essential for GD round, so carefully listen to what others have to say.
- Just speaking throughout the discussion doesn’t make you better. You should learn to give others a chance to speak. Try and listen to others.
- If the speaker is making an eye-contact with you remember to acknowledge him by nodding your head, so that the speaker is aware that his listeners are listening to him and paying full attention. This will also show that you are vigilant and are an active participant in the discussion.
- Unless you listen well, it will not be possible for you to add value to your content and communication
- Listening offers you the opportunity to summarise the Group Discussion on each and every aspect.
5. Improve your Communication Skills
You may have good and rich content with lot of ideas but if you are not able to communicate well your thoughts and opinions, all is useless. The need is now to improve your communication skills with following GD tips:
- Be well versed in your communication skills.
- You should have a good vocabulary and a decent command over English.
- Much before your actual group discussion, rehearse well.
- You can sit with a group of friends and choose a topic and indulge in a friendly GD.
- Not only will this increase your knowledge, you will be a better speaker by the time it is time for your GD.
- In case you are not sure about something, you can use phrases such as: “I think” or “Probably/Approximately” or “If I remember correctly”
6. Body gestures: Very important tool for Group Discussion
The panelists observe the way you sit and react in the course of the discussion. Body gestures are very important, because your body language says a lot about you. In a GD, sit straight, avoid leaning back on to the chair or knocking the table with pen or your fingers. Also, do not get distracted easily. Nervous body movements, folding your hands across your chest, having skeptical expression, constantly moving, evading eye movements are the indicators of a negative personality and should be avoided at all costs.
7. No Aggressive Move
It is expected during the Group Discussion that you are firm on your ideas and are audible enough to make an impact on the group. But being aggressive, shouting and not allowing others in the group to speak, is not appreciated. So be careful and don’t be a bully.
8. Don’t Crisscross on your Ideas
Don’t crisscross your ideas. The topics given in Group Discussion are debatable, you might like to speak for or against the topic and while speaking don’t forget that you may be crossing your own lines. It gives a bad impact and you are judged a person who has no stand for his own thought.
9. Don’t be a part of fish market
As a team player, your ability to lead and play in team is measured in the GD. During the Group Discussion there are many instances where you will find every one is saying something and no one is heard. It is better to be quiet for a while and then after gathering your thoughts, raise your voice initially and make your point.
10. Don’t give up: Make multiple entries
Don’t be content with one round of one minute or half a minute speaking in the group. Focus on key points, form the ideas and opinions to enter again based on the views presented by others to further strengthen your view point.
The Group Discussion round passes through highs and lows. So it is a good opportunity to re-enter the Group Discussion after gathering more ideas coming out of others’ view and make an entry when the noise level is low in Group Discussion.
Purpose of Group Discussion
The very purpose of conducting Group Discussion (GD) round for MBA admission by top MBA colleges is to test the applicants’ communication skills, topic knowledge, thought process and their leadership impact on the audience before finalizing their merit lists and offering admission.
Composition & expectation from the Group in GD round
Before learning the Group discussion tips and tricks to crack the GD round, one must be aware what in fact is Group Discussion, how many candidates are there in a group, what skills are expected by the MBA College from you in the Group Discussion round before offering you admission.
- Healthy debate leading to selection of one or more candidates from the group on a given topic is conducted in GD round.
- Around 8 to12 candidates are included in a group
- Group Discussion time duration is about 12-15 minutes
- During the Group Discussion (GD) round strong exchange of opinions with logical and thoughtful arguments is anticipated.
- Group Discussion is supposed to be an indicator of your leadership qualities, judgement of knowledge domain and communication skill.
- Out of these 8-12 candidates, selection goes in favour of the one or two while others get eliminated either due to their inadvertent mistakes or because they do not follow the Group Discussion rules.
4 Group Discussion Tricks to be a winner
To emerge a winner in GD round a candidate should speak after getting a grasp on the given topic. Irrelevant speaking is not good. The 4 Group Discussion tricks to crack the GD round are:
- Follow the Group Discussion Rules
- Key Group Discussion skills are - speak logically, be audible, present your idea firmly and be a leader
- Use every opportunity to enter discussion to strengthen your point further
- Read a few model and actual Group Discussion rounds
Tips To Prepare For Group Discussions
GD Preparation should begin along with your written exam preparation like CAT/XAT/SNAP/NMAT/CMAT. Immediately after the written exam is over, you should focus on preparing for Group Discussion round which commands 10 to 15 percent weightage in final selection round.
Following are the key expert tips to prepare for Group Discussion:
- To prepare for a group discussion, keep track of happenings around the world.
- Being aware of current affairs and issues and happenings, which affect our lives, however remotely, shows a well-rounded personality.
- Make a habit of reading English newspapers and magazines, watch interesting documentaries and profiles on television to get a wider perspective on issues.
- Group Discussion topics can be from a wide range of issues. It could be a topic on current events, business news, sports or anything very general. The wider your reading interests, the better prepared you will be to face the group discussion.
- Prepare the topics that are Repeated. There are topics which re-appear with minute changes and minor variations. Be aware of such topics well in advance so that you have ample time to prepare for the same. For example the issues of terrorism, gender inequality, poverty, liberalization and privatization, reservations in educational institutions etc often appear as GD topics. Make sure you know these topics well and can come up with some unique, insightful points along with some data.
- Controversial and political topics do not figure in Group Discussions. So there is no need to waste your time on them.
Types of Group Discussion
Group Discussions is the test of knowledge and communication skills with coherent flow of thought necessary for a leadership role of a candidate on a topical issue. There are other Group Discussions which are designed to test the ‘lateral thinking’ of candidate. Another type of Group Discussion comes in form of a short ‘case-study’ where applicants are asked to analyze a situation and frame responses. Yet another type of a Group Discussion is a ‘group exercise’.
Group Discussion (GD) is an important testing tool of participants’ skills in final admission round for MBA/PGDM after getting shortlisted by the B school. Most of the top MBA colleges including a few IIMs conduct GD along with Personal Interview in the final admission round.
10 roles participants play during Group Discussion
Following are the roles that participants in GD round play. While some of the roles lead to selection, others invite elimination. Carefully choose the right role in your Group Discussion round:
Beginner: The candidate who starts Group Discussion. He may suggest new ideas, define the GD topic but may not necessarily have sufficient subject knowledge to present effectively his view point.
- Facilitator: He is leading GD while keeping track of Group Discussion
- Seeker of Information– He tries to gather and solicit information from others.
- Disseminator of Information – He prefers to share information and facts.
- Seeker of Opinion- He tries to gather some opinion from others and ask the fellow participants for their opinion.
- Giver of Opinion – Promptly jumps to give his opinion on the views shared by the other participant.
- Analyst – He analyses and clarifies the ideas and opinions discussed during the group discussion
- Community Supporter – He supports the ideas of all participants but has none of his own
- Reliever – He presents and discusses the problem with a broader perspective and makes mountain out of a mole hill and relieves all of any tension.
- Energy spreader – This participant can be seen encouraging other participants to explore some new ideas during a GD.
- Bridge creator – He creates harmony between different opinions by giving a solution with different ways of compromise.
- Summary maker – He summarizes and concludes a GD by including all important points discussed during a GD.