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How to crack the GD, Group Discussion

Many companies and institutes are making group discussion as the first criteria for screening the candidates for face-to-face interviews. And there is reason too for giving huge importance for Group Discussion. First thing Group Discussion is used for mass elimination! And second thing group discussion selection criterias are based on actual company requirements. Communication and Group Discussion skill are two relevant soft skills that are must for software testers. Why group discussion should be the first criteria for selecting software testers? Software tester requires communication with different people like team members, managers and customers. So interpersonal skill is very important for tester. Yesterday one of our readers mailed me about her problem. She is very good at work but when it comes to taking credit for her work, someone else is taking the credit. Why this is happening? She is lagging in interpersonal skills. Lagging in communication. She might be proficient in many skills, but what if she isnt able to communicate her thoughts in front of her seniors or evaluators? Simply, she will lose the credits of her own work! Making a good impression while speaking in meetings or interviews is the basic skill every professional should have. Lets see how you can make this impression. What skills are judged in group discussion? How good you are at communication with others. How you behave and interact with group. How open minded are you. Your listening skill. How you put forward your views. Your leadership and decision making skills.

Your analysis skill and subject knowledge. Problem solving and critical thinking skill. Your attitude and confidence.

Dos and Donts of Group discussion: 1) Keep eye contact while speaking: Do not look at the evaluators only. Keep eye contact with every team member while speaking. 2) Initiate the GD: Initiating the GD is a big plus. But keep in mind Initiate the group discussion only when you understood the GD topic clearly and have some topic knowledge. Speaking without proper subject knowledge is bad impression. 3) Allow others to speak: Do not interrupt anyone in-between while speaking. Even if you dont agree with his/her thoughts do not snatch their chance to speak. Instead make some notes and clear the points when its your turn. 4) Speak clearly: Speak politely and clearly. Use simple and understandable words while speaking. Dont be too aggressive if you are disagreeing with someone. Express your feelings calmly and politely. 5) Make sure to bring the discussion on track: If by any means group is distracting from the topic or goal then simply take initiative to bring the discussion on the track. Make all group members aware that you all need to come to some conclusion at the end of the discussion. So stick to the topic. 6) Positive attitude: Be confident. Do not try to dominate anyone. Keep positive body language. Show interest in discussion. 7) Speak sensibly: Do not speak just to increase your speaking time. Dont worry even if you speak less. Your thoughts should be sensible and relevant instead of irrelevant speech.

8 ) Listen carefully to others: Speak less and listen more! Pay attention while others are speaking. This will make coherent discussion and you will get involved in the group positively. You will surely make people agree with you. 9) No need to go into much details: Some basic subject analysis is sufficient. No need to mention exact figures while giving any reference. You have limited time so be precise and convey your thoughts in short and simple language. 10) Formal dressing: Do not take it casually. No fancy and funny dressing. You should be comfortable while speaking in group. Positive gesture and body language will make your work easy. Follow these 10 simple rules to easily crack the GD. A Group Discussion can be defined as a formal discussion involving ten to 12 participants in a group. It is a methodology used by an organization to gauge whether the candidate has certain personality traits and/or skills that it desires in its members. In this methodology, the group of candidates is given a topic or a situation, given a few minutes to think about the same, and then asked to discuss the it among themselves for 15-20 minutes. As in a football game, where you play like a team, passing the ball to each team member and aim for a common goal, GD is also based on team work, incorporating views of different team members to reach a common goal. Here are some of the most important personality traits that a candidate should possess to do well at a GD:

Team Player Reasoning Ability Leadership Flexibility Assertiveness Initiative

Creativity/ Out of the box thinking Inspiring ability Listening

Awareness 1. Team Player It is essential for managers to be team players. The reason: Managers always work in teams. At the beginning of his(manager) career, a manager works as a team member. And, later, as a team leader. Management aspirants who lack team skills cannot be good managers. 2. Reasoning Ability Reasoning ability plays an important role while expressing your opinions or ideas at a GD. For example, on India's growth and its effect's: Any Answer for this should be based on reasons, not assumptions. 3. Leadership There are three types of situations that can arise in a GD: ~ A GD where participants are unable to establish a proper rapport and do not speak much. ~ A GD where participants get emotionally charged and the GD gets chaotic. ~ A GD where participants discuss the topic assertively by touching on all its nuances and try to reach the objective. Here, a leader would be someone who facilitates the third situation at a GD. A leader would have the following qualities: ~S/he shows direction to the group whenever group moves away from the topic. ~S/he coordinates the effort of the different team members in the GD. ~S/he contributes to the GD at regular intervals with valuable insights. ~S/he also inspires and motivates team members to express their views. Caution: Being a mere coordinator in a GD does not help, because it is a secondary role. Contribute to the GD with your ideas and opinions, but also try and steer the

conversation towards a goal. 4. Flexibility You must be open to other ideas as well as to the evaluation of your ideas: That is what flexibility is all about. But first, remember: Never ever start your GD with a stand or a conclusion. Say the topic of a GD is, 'Should India Ban night work for Women at night hours?' Some participants tend to get emotionally attached to the topic and take a stand either in favour or against the topic, ie 'Yes, India should', or, 'No, India should not'. By taking a stand, you have already given your decision without discussing the topic at hand or listening to the views of your team members. Also, if you encounter an opposition with a very strong point at the 11th hour, you end up in a typical catch-22 situation: ~If you change your stand, you are seen as a fickle-minded or a whimsical person. ~If you do not change your stand, you are seen as an inflexible, stubborn and obstinate person. 5. Assertiveness You must put forth your point to the group in a very emphatic, positive and confident manner. Participants often confuse assertiveness with aggressiveness. Aggressiveness is all about forcing your point on the other person, and can be a threat to the group. An aggressive person can also demonstrate negative body language, whereas an assertive person displays positive body language. 6. Initiative A general trend amongst students is to start a GD and get the initial kitty of points earmarked for the initiator. But that is a high risk-high return strategy. Initiate a GD only if you are well versed with the topic. If you start and fail to contribute at regular intervals, it gives the impression that you started the GD just for the sake of the initial points. Also, if you fumble, stammer or misquote facts, it may work against you. Remember: You never ever get a second chance to create a first impression. 7. Creativity/ Out of the box thinking

An idea or a perspective which opens new horizons for discussion on the GD topic is always highly appreciated. When you put across a new idea convincingly, such that it is discussed at length by the group, it can only be positive. You will find yourself in the good books of the examiner. 8. Inspiring ability A good group discussion should incorporate views of all the team members. If some team members want to express their ideas but are not getting the opportunity to do so, giving them an opportunity to express their ideas or opinions will be seen as a positive trait. Caution: If a participant is not willing to speak, you need not necessarily go out of the way to ask him to express his views. This may insult him and hamper the flow of the GD. 9. Listening Always try and strike a proper balance between expressing your ideas and imbibing ideas. 10. Awareness You must be well versed with both the micro and macro environment. Your awareness about your environment helps a lot in your GD content, which carries maximum weightage.

Group Discussion Common Tips From Team! The tips given below are applicable in any GD. The only difference between most other GDs and the GDs conducted by the IIMs after CAT or other top B Schools is the intensity of the competition. Be as natural as possible. Do not try and be someone you are not. Be yourself. A group discussion is your chance to be more vocal. The evaluator wants to hear you speak. Take time to organize your thoughts. Think of what you are going to say. Seek clarification if you have any doubts regarding the subject.

Don't start speaking until you have clearly understood and analysed the subject. Work out various strategies to help you make an entry: initiate the discussion or agree with someone else's point and then move onto express your views. Opening the discussion is not the only way of gaining attention and recognition. If you do not give valuable insights during the discussion, all your efforts of initiating the discussion will be in vain. Your body language says a lot about you - your gestures and mannerisms are more likely to reflect your attitude than what you say. Language skills are important only to the effect as to how you get your points across clearly and fluently. Be assertive not dominating; try to maintain a balanced tone in your discussion and analysis. Don't lose your cool if anyone says anything you object to. The key is to stay objective: Don't take the discussion personally. Always be polite: Try to avoid using extreme phrases like: `I strongly object' or `I disagree'. Instead try phrases like: `I would like to share my views on' or `One difference between your point and mine' or "I beg to differ with you" Brush up on your leadership skills; motivate the other members of the team to speak (this surely does not mean that the only thing that you do in the GD is to say "let us hear what the young lady with the blue scarf has to say," or "Raghu, let us hear your views" - Essentially be subtle), and listen to their views. Be receptive to others' opinions and do not be abrasive or aggressive. If you have a group of like-minded friends, you can have a mock group discussion where you can learn from each other through giving and receiving feedback. Apart from the above points, the panel will also judge team members for their alertness and presence of mind, problem-solving abilities, ability to work as a team without alienating certain members, and creativity.

What is the normal duration of a GD? A GD is generally of 15-20 minutes duration. How many panel members are there to evaluate? There are usually 3-4 panel members to evaluate. Is there time given for preparation after the topic is given and before starting the GD? Usually some time (2-5 minutes) is given to collect one's thoughts, but there could be instances when this does not happen, so it is best not to bank on this. Should I address the panel or the group members? Don't ever make the mistake of addressing the panel members. The GD is between you and the other members, not the panel members. You must avoid even looking at the panel members while the GD is in progress. Just ignore their existence. What is the seating arrangement like? It could be semi-circular, or circular, or seating along side a rectangular table, depending upon the venue. It is best not to bother about trivial issues like this, which you have no control over. How should I address the other group members? If you are initiating the discussion, you could do so by collectively addressing the group as "Friends". Subsequently, you could use names (if the group has had a round of self-introduction prior to starting the discussion and you remember the names) or simply use pronouns like "he" or "she". Suppose I have a lot to say on the topic, should I say all of it? You would not be looked upon favourably if you kept speaking all the time and did not listen to anyone else. Contrary to the misconception, the person who talks the most is not necessarily the one who is judged the best. The quality and not the quantity of your contribution is the success factor. Should I encourage others to speak up? Do not directly put someone who is consistently silent on the spot by asking him/her to speak up. If someone has been trying to speak and has a good point but is cut off constantly, you may encourage him/her to continue with her point as you would like to hear her out.

Are the group members supposed to keep track of the time or will the panel keep track? It would be good if you are conscious of the time, but not to the point of getting so distracted looking at your watch that you do not contribute to the discussion. Are we allowed to carry a piece of paper during the GD for noting down important points? Normally you are, but there may be instances when it is specifically forbidden to carry paper. Is there any particular seating arrangement, which is favourable to the participants? If participants are asked to sit in a circle or a semi circle, one position is as good as another. But if you are asked to sit on either side of a rectangular table, then choose a position as close to the centre as possible. Should we begin the GD by appointing a leader amongst ourselves? No. You should not. Leadership in a GD is established implicitly through one's performance in a GD. Should we distribute the total time available to all the participants to ensure that everybody gets a chance to speak? Since a GD is not a debate or elocution, the participants should not resort to the strategy of distributing time amongst themselves. Can we take a definite stand in the GD and then later on during the GD, switch over to another stand? Yes, provided you do it the right way. In a GD it is quite likely that some other participant's counter-argument convinces you to your point. If this happens, then it is best if you accept his argument and explain to the group how your previous argument was true within a narrow range, and how the new argument is applicable to a broader range. Naturally, it is safer not to make any rash statements for or against a topic before you learn the facts of the argument. Blindly taking a stand will definitely lead you to trouble. This does not mean you should sit on the fence. You may participate actively by pointing out both sides of the issue in a reasonable and logical manner. If we do not understand the meaning of the topic, should we ask the moderator to explain it to us? No. You cannot. Instead of displaying your ignorance in this manner, it is better to wait for some other participant to explain the meaning of the topic. So listen to the discussion carefully for the first few minutes and when you have figured out what

the topic is about, start participating in the discussion. Should we address the other participants by their names or their assigned numbers? As far as possible, you should try and avoid names or numbers. It is better to use pronouns such as "he", "she", "you" etc. while referring to the members of the group. Are we expected to stick to the normally accepted line of thought or can we come up with something radical? By all means you can. It would demonstrate your creativity and originality. Just make sure it is relevant to the topic. If I feel strongly about an issue, should I voice my feelings? It is important to be cool and emotionally objective in a GD. If you react emotionally you are likely to lose control over yourself during the group discussion. You have to be calm and logical, not emotional in a GD. Can I use technical terms or jargon, which is clear to me, but not to the group? If you have to use technical terms, please do not use abbreviations. After mentioning the term in full take time out to explain to the group what it means. It is quite likely that other participants of the group have a different academic background from you, and you should make sure you are all on a level playing field. Do I begin my participation by requesting the group's permission to do so? It is not likely that you will get a chance to ask for such permission. It may also go against you (as appearing weak on your part). What is the right time to enter a GD to ensure that I am heard properly? In any GD, there are crests and troughs during the discussion. The crest is when the noise level is at its peak. The trough is when there is almost total silence. Ideally, you should enter the GD during the trough period. But in competitive GDs, the crests occur more often and troughs may not occur at all. In such cases, you could identify the stages in the GD, where ideas dear to you are being discussed and enter the GD irrespective of the noise level. How do I participate when the noise level is too high? You could try the following strategy - Identify the most powerful speaker in the group, and note down the points that he/she is making. The moment the noise level reduces a little, enter supporting the powerful speaker. You will have made a

strong ally who will carry you through the noise. Do I have to be cautious about other participants' feelings (on sensitive issues like religion, caste etc)? You certainly do. Insensitivity to others displays a lack of maturity and viciousness. It will act against your favour. Is it beneficial to be the first speaker in a group discussion? Being the first speaker is a high risk, high return strategy. If you can make a good opening statement, which is relevant and sets the tone for the GD, it will go in your favour. If you do this well, you may automatically become the group leader. However if you bungle it up (by speaking for the sake of speaking, not really having anything pertinent to say), it will be remembered and will go against your favour. How critical is my fluency in English to my performance? Command over English is certainly advantageous but will not compensate for lack of good content. If your content is good, then even if your English might not be great, you must speak it out, rather than be inhibited by lack of good English. You will get credit for soundness of ideas. How necessary is it to use examples for illustrating an idea? Use of examples is helpful in elaborating your point, and helping others understand your idea better. But please remember to keep it short and simple because in a competitive GD nobody has the patience to listen to long, drawn out examples. {mospagebreak} How much or for how long should I participate? In a 20 minute GD with 10-12 participants, you should try and participate at least 4 times with each entry lasting at least 25-30 seconds. You could participate more depending on your comfort level and the need for participation. Is it good to be humorous in a GD? Depends on the situation. In a GD that is fairly relaxed, it may be acceptable. But in a competitive situation, where the participants are tensed up, your attempts at humour may fall flat. Should we make an interim summary? An interim summary is a way of directing the group mid-way through the GD. It helps the group to pick out and focus on the most important points and thus use the remaining time more effectively. However it is not necessary to make an interim summary, if the discussion is already well focused.

What do I do if someone else has already said what I wanted to say? You have two choices: Agree with the point made by that person and add on to it by displaying the applicability of the argument to different situations. By doing this you will have broadened the scope of the argument. Drop the point and think of fresh points. To avoid getting into a situation where someone else has already spoken your points, do speak up in the first 4-5 minutes of the GD. If you wait longer, it is almost inevitable that someone would have spoken your points. Is the use of slang/colloquialism permitted? It is best to avoid using slang. Can I use a language other than English to drive home my point? No. You will have to stick to English. How is aggression taken and measured in a GD? The moment you notice people reacting to you negatively or strongly, you may take it that you are being too aggressive. The degree of the reaction is the measure of your aggression. What level of aggression is seen acceptable? There is a very thin line between aggression and assertiveness. You should always aim to sound assertive and not stubborn. Is it true that the person who speaks the most in a GD is the one who is most successful? This is a myth. Generally the person who has a sound knowledge of the topic and is a clear thinker speaks more. This leads the students into believing that whoever speaks most is successful. But just speaking for the sake of speaking will not take you far. Will I be quizzed about my (or others) participation in the GD? You may be. Therefore it helps to be alert all through the GD. Is it true that the GD is used more as an elimination technique rather than as a selection tool? Depends on the institute. In most premier institutes it is used as a selection tool, not as an elimination technique. What is the level of accuracy desired in the facts and figures you quote during the GD?

An error margin of 5% is acceptable. Is motivating other people in the group to speak looked upon favourably? Depends on how it is done. If you openly request someone to speak, you may be putting the other person in a difficult spot, and the evaluators will not look that upon favourably. It is therefore better to use other means of motivation, such as agreeing with a halting speaker, adding on to their points, implicitly supporting and giving them direction. Does the moderator have any biases or preconceived notions about the topic? Ideally the moderator is supposed to be unbiased and neutral. But being a human being, the moderator cannot be totally free from bias. Since this is not a factor within your control, there isn't much point losing sleep over it. Can we expect the moderator to stop or cut short the GD much before the stipulated time is over? This may happen if the GD becomes too noisy and if the level of discussion deteriorates abysmally. Can I be aggressive with a lady participant? A GD is not the place to demonstrate chivalry. Being rude to any participant (male or female) is downright unacceptable. You need not extend any special privileges to a lady. Is it all right to ask pointed questions to other participants during a GD? It is alright to ask questions for the purpose of clarification but not for the purpose of playing the devil's advocate and proving them wrong. By playing the devil's advocate you hamper the flow of the GD. The pointed questions unsettle the other participant and the quality of the GD deteriorates. This would reflect badly on you and will go against your favour. Is it necessary that a group should arrive at a conclusion in the stipulated time? Ideally a group is supposed to reach a conclusion. Normally the time constraints do not allow the group to do so. Is an end-summary absolutely essential? No. If the group has not reached a conclusion, then it would be good if someone puts the whole discussion into perspective by summarizing. But if there isn't sufficient time, a summary may be avoided. Do we have to write a synopsis of the GD once it is over? Some institutes insist on this, but it is not universal.

Is voting an acceptable method of reaching a consensus? Certainly not. A GD is not a debate. How should a group select a topic if asked to? The group should brainstorm for about two minutes and narrow down the list of topics to 3-4. After this the group should prioritize them based on the comfort level and ease of discussion of the topics. This could be done by asking each participant to rank the 4 topics and the most popular choice should be taken. Are the topics decided on the basis of the academic background of the participant? No. Topics are usually general in nature to give a level playing field to everyone. What do I do if one member is very stubborn and aggressive? You could use any of the following methods. Ignore him and address the other members of the group. Be assertive and tell him that his argument is faulty. Point out to him that his point is well taken and that the group must progress further by discussing the ideas presented by others. What are the acceptable ways of interrupting somebody else, so that I may make my point? You can interrupt in any of the following ways: "Excuse me, but I feel that what you are saying isn't universally true.." "Yes, I agree with your idea, and I would like to add on to it" "Yes, I think you are right when you say that, but could you clarify what if."

Who Learns from mistake's is the one who has the wisdom, and who repeats mistake is the one who does not. Here's a list of the most common mistakes made at group discussions Emotional outburst Rashmi was offended when one of the male participants in a group discussion

made a statement on women generally being submissive while explaining his point of view. When Rashmi finally got an opportunity to speak, instead of focussing on the topic, she vented her anger by accusing the other candidate for being a male chauvinist and went on to defend women in general. What Rashmi essentially did was to Deviate from the subject. Treat the discussion as a forum to air her own views. Lose objectivity and make personal attacks. Her behaviour would have been perceived as immature and demotivating to the rest of the team. Quality Vs Quantity Gautam believed that the more he talked, the more likely he was to get through the GD. So, he interrupted other people at every opportunity. He did this so often that the other candidates got together to prevent him from participating in the rest of the discussion. Assessment is not only on your communication skills but also on your ability to be a team player. Evaluation is based on quality, and not on quantity. Your contribution must be relevant.

The mantra is "Contributing meaningfully to the team's success." Domination is frowned upon.

Egotism Showing off Krishna was happy to have got a group discussion topic he had prepared for. So, he took pains to project his vast knowledge of the topic. Every other sentence of his contained statistical data - "20% of companies; 24.27% of parliamentarians felt that; I recently read in a Jupiter Report that..." and so on so forth. Soon, the rest of the team either laughed at him or ignored his attempts to enlighten them as they perceived that he was cooking up the data. Exercise restraint in anything. You will end up being frowned upon if you attempt showing-off your knowledge. Facts and figures need not validate all your statements.

Its your analysis and interpretation that are equally important - not just facts and figures.

You might be appreciated for your in-depth knowledge. But you will fail miserably in your people skills.

Such a behaviour indicates how self-cantered you are and highlights your inability to work in an atmosphere where different opinions are expressed. Get noticed - But for the right reasons Sri kumar knew that everyone would compete to initiate the discussion. So as soon as the topic - "Discuss the negative effects of India joining the WTO" - was read out, he began talking. In his anxiety to be the first to start speaking, he did not hear the word "negative" in the topic. He began discussing the ways in which the country had benefited by joining WTO, only to be stopped by the evaluator, who then corrected his mistake. False starts are extremely expensive. They cost you your admission. It is very important to listen and understand the topic before you air your opinions. Spending a little time analyzing the topic may provide you with insights which others may not have thought about. Use a pen and paper to jot down your ideas. Listen! It gives you the time to conceptualize and present the information in a better manner. Some mistakes are irreparable. Starting off the group discussion with a mistake is one such mistake, unless you have a great sense of humour. Managing one's insecurities Sumati was very nervous. She thought that some of the other candidates were exceptionally good. Thanks to her insecurity, she contributed little to the discussion. Even when she was asked to comment on a particular point, she preferred to remain silent. Your personality is also being evaluated. Your verbal and non verbal cues are being read. Remember, you are the participant in the GD; not the evaluator. So, rather than evaluating others and your performance, participate in the discussion.

Your confidence level is being evaluated. Decent communication skills with good confidence is a must to crack the GDs. Focus on your strengths and do not spend too much time thinking about how others are superior or inferior to you. It is easy to pick up these cues from your body language. While selection tools and techniques like tests, interviews etc. provide good data about an individual, they fall short in providing real life data of how an individual would be performing in a real life situation especially a group situation. Team work being an integral part of the BPO work profile, it is important to ascertain group and inter-personal qualities of an individual. Group discussion is a useful tool to ascertain these qualities and many organizations use GDs as a selection tool along with Personal Interviews, aptitude tests etc. A GD is an activity where Groups of 8-10 candidates are formed into a leaderless group, and are given a specific situation to analyse and discuss within a given time limit, which may vary between twenty minutes and forty-five minutes, or They may be given a case study and asked to come out with a solution for a problem They may be given a topic and are asked to discuss the same 1. Preparing for a Group Discussion: While GD reflects the inherent qualities of an individual, appearing for it unprepared may not augur well for you. These tips would help you prepare for GDs: Reading: This is the first and the most crucial step in preparation. This is a never ending process and the more you read, the better you are in your thoughts. While you may read anything to everything, you must ensure that you are in good touch with current affairs, the debates and hot topics of discussion and also with the latest in the IT and ITES industry. Chances are the topics would be around these. Read both for the thoughts as well as for data. Also read multiple view points on the same topic and then create your point of view with rationale. Also create answers for counter arguments for your point of view. The electronic media also will be of good use here. Mocks: Create an informal GD group and meet regularly to discuss and exchange feedback. This is the best way to prepare. This would give you a good idea about your thoughts and how well can you convince. Remember, it is important that you are able to express your thoughts well. The better you perform in these mocks the

better would be you chances to perform on the final day. Also try to interact and participate in other GD groups. This will develop in you a skill to discuss with unknown people as well. 2. During the Group Discussion: What do the panellists assess: Some of the qualities assessed in a GD are: Leadership Skills - Ability to take leadership roles and be able to lead, inspire and carry the team along to help them achieve the group's objectives. Communication Skills - Candidates will be assessed in terms of clarity of thought, expression and aptness of language. One key aspect is listening. It indicates a willingness to accommodate others views. Interpersonal Skills - People skills are an important aspect of any job. They are reflected in the ability to interact with other members of the group in a brief situation. Emotional maturity and balance promotes good interpersonal relationships. The person has to be more people centric and less self-centered. Persuasive Skills - The ability to analyze and persuade others to see the problem from multiple perspectives. GD is a test of your ability to think, your analytical capabilities and your ability to make your point in a team-based environment. These are some of the sub-skills that also get assessed with the skills mentioned above: Clarity of thought Group working skills (especially during a group task of case study discussion) Conflict handling Listening and probing skills Knowledge about the subject and individual point of view Ability to create a consensus

Openness and flexibility towards new ideas

Data based approach to decision making

While, it is not possible to reflect all these qualities in a short time, you would do well if you are able to show a couple or more qualities and avoid giving negative evidence on others.

How do I take my chance to speak: Trying to interrupt others while speaking would only harm your chances. Instead, you may try to maintain an eye-contact with the speaker. This would show your listening skills also and would help you gauge from his eye-movement and pitch of voice that he is about to close his inputs. You can quickly take it from there. Also, try and link your inputs with what he has spoken whether you are adding to or opposing his arguments. This would reflect that you are actually being participative rather than just doing a collective monologue.

How to I communicate in a GD: Be crisp and to the point. Be fact based and avoid making individual opinions that do not have a factual base. Make eye contact with all the members in the group and avoid looking at the panellists while speaking. The average duration of the group discussion provides an average of about 2-3 minutes per participant to speak and you should try to speak about 3-4 times. Hence, you need to be really crisp to reflect the most in those 30-40 sec. slots. How do I convince others and make them agree to my view point: A lot of candidates make it their mission to make the group reach to a conclusion on the topic. Do not forget that some of the topics have been eternal debates and there is no way you can get an agreement in 15 mins. on them. The objective is not to make others toe your line but to provide fact based, convincing arguments which create an impact. Stick to this approach. Do leadership skills include moderating the group discussion: This is a myth and many people do try to impose their order on the GD, ordering people when to speak and when not to. This only reflects poor leadership. Leadership in a GD would be reflected by your clarity of thought, ability to expand the topic in its different dimensions, providing an opportunity to a silent participant to speak, listening to others and probing them to provide more information. Hence, work on these areas rather than be a selfappointed moderator of the group. Listening: This is a key quality assessed during the GD about which many

participants forget. Active listening can fetch you credit points and would also provide you with data to discuss. Also, if you have an average of 2-3 minutes to speak, the rest of the 20-25 minutes is required to spent in active listening. For this, maintain eye contact with the speakers, attend to them (like nodding, using acknowledging words like -I see ok, fine, great etc.). This would also make you be the centre of attraction as you would appear non-threatening to the speakers.

Behaviour during the GD: Be patient; don't get upset if anyone says anything you object to. Stay objective and don't take the discussion personally. Also, remember the six C's of communication - Clarity, Completeness, Conciseness, Confidence, Correctness and Courtesy. Be appreciative & receptive to ideas from other people and open-minded but do not let others to change your own viewpoint. Be active and interested throughout. It is better to participate less if you have no clue of the topic. You may listen to others and take clues from there and speak. You would be assessed on a range of different skills and you may think that leadership is key, you need to be careful that you don't dominate the discussion. Quality Vs Quantity: Often, participants think that success in group discussions depends on how much and how loudly they speak. Interestingly, it's the opposite. Also, making your point on the topic, your views are important and the group needs to know. This will tell you are knowledgeable and that you participate in groups Summarizing: If you have not been able to initiate the discussion, try to summaries and close it. Good summarizing would get you good reward points. A conclusion is where the whole group decides in favour or against the topic and most GDs do not have a closure. But every GD can be summarized by putting forth what the group has discussed in a nutshell. Keep the following points in mind while summarizing a discussion: Avoid raising new points. Avoid stating only your viewpoint. Avoid dwelling only on one aspect of the GD Keep it brief and concise. It must include all the important points that came out during the GD If you are asked to summarise a GD, it means the GD has come to an

end. Do not add anything once the GD has been summarised. Some Positive Task Roles in a Group Discussion:You may want to play one or more of them:

Initiator Information seeker Information giver Procedure facilitator Opinion seeker Opinion giver Clarifier Social Supporter Harmonizer Tension Reliever Energizer Compromiser Gatekeeper Summarizer

Negative Roles to be Avoided

Disgruntled non-participant Attacker Dominator Patronize Clown

Feedback template: While doing mocks for GD preparation, you would get

benefited by the feedback of others. For the purpose, we are providing a template for feedback - both quantitative and qualitative. The items described over there are a suggested list and not a complete one. You may make changes in it depending upon your need.

Some GD Topics Social Topics: Bride burning and dowry may look bad, but are an integral part of India. Our Culture is Decaying We are not serious about saving Wildlife/Environment Are Big Dams Necessary? Films are corrupting the Indian Youth A Gandhian State selling liquor is an anomaly Impact of Television on Children? Do Elections have any meaning? Why do we need democracy? The education system needs serious reforms. The impact of MTV on our psyche Showing Violence and Crimes should not be allowed in films and on television. Let us legalise gambling

Hot Topics: How to deal with international terrorism. Should we pursue our policy of dialogue with Pakistan? Is peace and non-violence out dated concepts? Management Topics:

Is management an art or a science? The Rush for MBA is really a rush for big money Ethics in Business are just a passing fashion Family owned business vs professionally run businesses Smaller businesses and start-ups have more scope for professional growth. Dot com or doubt com? The objective of Management is to maximise profits Do professional managers have a chance in our family run businesses? The Internet is an exercise in hype Is an MBA necessary to succeed in life? Nature Topics: Why do we care for Nature? Impact of Smoking on Global Warming? Can we live without Fuel? Do we need to protect Endangeruod species? Polictic Topics: Reserving seats for women in Panchayat has not only been a farce but has distracted from developing a more genuine voice of women. Have the nuclear tests of 1998 benefited or harmed India? Voters, not, political parties are responsible for the criminalisation of politics. The voters are required to be well informed and educated about their candidates so that they can elect the right aspirant by their own assessment. India should go for the presidential form of democracy. Economic Topics: In our economic matters, there is an excessive tendency towards the thinking rather than doing.

Every cloud has a silver lining Can the economy achieve an 8 percent growth rate?. Is disinvestment really that good for India or is a rethink in order ? Are co-operatives relevant in today's globalised environment?. Foreign aid is a dangerous drug that can stimulate in small doses but become fatally addictive in larger doses. Modern day sport in industrialised society is an industry, as anything else. Government should clean its own hands before pointing finger at the private sector for corruption. Is the NPA ordinance too harsh? Reforms have to grow up. The future lies with glocalisation . Developing countries need trade, not aid. Why do we lag behind China? Capitalism is a very flawed system but the others are so much worse. Flexibility of labour laws is the key to attracting more Foreign Direct Investment. Is the business of business only business? Is the consumer really the king in India?. Globalisation versus nationalism Conditional access system for cable TV watchers: boon or bane? If India is poorly governed, the reason is that we have designed our system of governance for protecting, if not encouraging, corruption? Commercialisation of health care : Good or Bad ? For globalisation to succeed in India people must be able to see what is in it for them Is the US economy headed the Japanese economy way?

Economic freedom not old fashioned theories of development will lead to growth and prosperity Markets left to themselves encourage greed. For globalisation to succeed in India people must be able to see what is in it for them Should businessmen run the finance ministry Should important services like transport be left to market forces?. Is there any point in having a business strategy when the world changes from month to month? Is the patents bill good for India? . Is the business of business only business?. Globalisation is good for developing countries Public sector being a guarantor of job security is a myth. Is industryless growth here to stay ? Capitalism is a very flawed system but the others are so much worse ? How can business get rid of the bad name that it has earned? Government pumping money into the economy is not the solution for our economic problems Business ethics are no longer a luxury for corporates but a necessity? How should privatisation proceeds be utilised ? Is the budgeting exercise of any use? Should agricultural subsidies be stopped ? Will Mumbai's film industry ever evolve into a truly modern corporatised one? Will market reforms enrich rich states further, while poorer ones lag further?. Why do we lag behind China ? Who says MNCs are superior to Indian companies ?.

Why not use a brand index to measure national prosperity?. What we need to reduce scams is better regulatory bodies. War rhetoric is misplaced in a country like India which is trying to globalise its economy. Trade can help the poor ? The power ministry should cut off supplies to all the defaulting SEBs. Steal a few lakhs and you're a criminal. Steal a few hundred crores and you become an industrialist. Should PSUs be divested through strategic sale or public offer? The state is above the law? Management Education Topics Managerial skills learnt in the classroom can never match those learnt from experience Democracy is hampering India progress MBA in India is highly overrated.> MBA Group Discussion GROUP DISCUSSION A group discussion (GD) is a simulated exercise, where you cannot suddenly put up a show, since the evaluators will see through you easily. In this page you can find tips on GD and how to handle them to ensure a positive outcome. Here's how most group discussions work Normally groups of 8-10 candidates are formed into a leaderless group, and are given a specific situation to analyze and discuss within a given time limit. The group may be given a case study and asked to come out with a solution for a problem. The group may be given a topic and asked to discuss on the same. A panel will observe the proceedings and evaluate the members of the group.

OBJECTIVE Lets start from the basic. One needs to know what one's objective in the group is. A good definition of your objective is - to be noticed to have contributed meaningfully in an attempt to help the group reach the right consensus. What does this essentially mean? The first implication is that you should be noticed by the panel. Merely making a meaningful contribution and helping the group arrive at a consensus is not enough. You have to be seen by the evaluating panel to have made the meaningful contribution. What does that mean in practice? You must ensure that the group hears you. If the group hears you, so will the evaluator. That does not mean that you shout at the top of your voice and be noticed for the wrong reasons. You have to be assertive. If you are not a very assertive person, you will have to simply learn to be assertive for those 15 minutes. Remember, assertiveness does not mean being bull-headed or being arrogant. And most importantly, you have to make your chances. Many group discussion participants often complain that they did not get a chance to speak. The fact is that in no group discussion will you get a chance to speak. There is nothing more unacceptable in a GD than keeping one's mouth shut or just murmuring things which are inaudible. Participate in as many practice GDs as possible before you attend the actual GD. There is nothing like practice to help you overcome the fear of talking in a GD. The second important implication is that making just any sort of contribution is not enough. Your contribution has to be meaningful. A meaningful contribution suggests that

You have a good knowledge base

You are able to put forth your arguments logically and are a good communicator. The quality of what you said is more valuable than the quantity. There is this myth amongst many group discussion participants that the way

to succeed in a group discussion is by speaking loudly and at great length. One could not be more wrong. You must have meat in your arguments. Therefore, think things through carefully. Always enter the room with a piece of paper and a pen. In the first two minutes jot down as many ideas as you can. When you jot down points, keep these pointers in mind. If it is a topic where you are expected to take a stand, say for example, "Should India sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty?" note down points for both sides of the argument. It will be useful on two counts One, if you do not start the GD and are not amongst the first five speakers and find that everyone in the group is talking for the topic, then it makes sense to take the alternate approach and oppose the topic even if you initially intended to talk for the topic. Second, it helps to have a knowledge of how group members who take a stand diametrically opposite to yours will put forth their argument and to be prepared with counter arguments. Everybody else will state the obvious. So highlight some points that are not obvious. The different perspective that you bring to the group will be highly apprecaited by the panel. Some pointers on being relevant while having a different perspective are: Be careful that the "something different" you state is still relevant to the topic being debated. Can you take the group ahead if it is stuck at one point? Can you take it in a fresh and more relevant direction? The last implication is that you must be clearly seen to be attempting to build a consensus. Gaining support or influencing colleagues is the mantra adopted by many a successful Business Leaders. Nobody expects a group of ten intelligent, assertive people, all with

different points of view on a controversial subject to actually achieve a consensus. But what matters is "Did you make attempts to build a consensus?" The reason why an attempt to build a consensus is important is because in most work situations you will have to work with people in a team, accept joint responsibilities and take decisions as a group. You must demonstrate the fact that you are capable and inclined to work as part of a team.