by Nehanjali Srinivasan, IIM Indore
Group Discussions often turn out to be a nightmare for most students. Be it job placements or B-School admissions or just a selection to join a society in college, GDs are everywhere! Cracking GDs is not as simple as clearing interviews because expectations in the later case are more explicit and clear compared to the former. I have heard several of my own friends complaining that they didn’t clear the GD in spite of being the most verbose member in the group.
Here’s the problem! In GDs, It’s never about how much you speak, it’s what you speak and how you behave in the group. Here are few qualities tested in a GD and hacks to show the panelists that you possess those qualities.
Quality #1: Team Dynamics
Hack: Treat the GD like a friendly conversation with friends
The easiest way to calm yourself down and bring in the right composure during any GD is telling yourself it’s just another conversation/debate with a group of friends. So what happens at any casual conversation in a group of friends?
– You put forward your point of view. Not just facts about the topic but your opinion
– You listen to what others have to say and do not cut your friend mid-way to start your point. You are genuinely eager to know what your friend thinks
– You agree or disagree with people (You nod, smile, appreciate or criticize)
– You give a chance to everyone to speak up (After all they are all your friends)
And, this is exactly what you have to do in a group discussion as well! Simple isn’t it?
Quality #2: Leadership skills, structured thought process
Hack: Give a structure to the discussion
Master this one and you will never have to worry about GDs again. Structuring a discussion is a process of constantly giving a logical flow to the discussion and reaching to a favorable conclusion in the stipulated time.
So how to go about it?
1 – In the time given to think about the topic, draw a quick flowchart of how you feel the discussion should go on.
2 – Start the GD by proposing the structure to your group, asking for approval and then starting with the first point on agenda.
3 – After a while, if the discussion has moved away from the logical flow, make sure you remind your groupmates what has to be discussed and move to the next point on the agenda.
4 – Summarize the discussion so far in the middle to make sure your group mates are on the same page.
Quality #3: Organized and meticulous
Hack: Take notes
Although the rough notes you make in the GD is never evaluated, writing down the important points being discussed would help you contribute better. It’s a natural thing to do when you are involved in any serious discussion and leave’s an impression on the panelists.
Quality #4: Attitude
Hack: Be nice
This does not mean you have to agree on every point put on the table. But at least be courteous while objecting someone else’s Point of View. Being nice and courteous to your groupmates will always pay-off.
Nehanjali Srinivasan is a student at Indian Institute of Management, Indore.
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