A GROUP DISCUSSION (GD) is used by an organization to gauge wherever the candidate has certain personality traits and skills like ability to work in a team, verbal communication skills, non verbal behavior, reasoning ability, leadership skills, initiative, assertiveness, flexibility, creativity, team work, conformation of norms, decision making ability that is desired in its members. A GD can be topic based, case studies or group tasks. It tests how an individual functions as a part of a team; since as a manager he will always be working in teams, as a member or as a Leader, therefore, how to interact, communicate, speak, listen, participate and contribute in a group becomes an important criteria for selection. It can be categorized into 3 phases previously Initial / Introduction, Body, Summarization / Conclusion.
Opening a discussion is a high risk-high return strategy. "Never start you're GD with a stand or a conclusion." Initiate a GD only if you are well versed with the topic. sake of the initial points. Also if you fumble, stammer or mis-quote facts, it may work against you. Remember: "First Impression is the Last Impression. Quotes, Definition, Questions, Shock Statement, Facts, Figures, Statistics and Anecdotes are the different techniques to initiate GD and make first impression. "Feels Mr. Harish Punamiya – a career counselor.
"A mere memorizing fact is pointless. One needs an in-depth understanding of various issues as well as the ability to analyze the topic and build arguments. Develop subject knowledge on current affair, general awareness and business trends", he added. Spend lot of time analyzing each performance and get feedback from skilled person. In the initial two minutes of GD understand the topic and analyze it mentally before speaking. Be clear in speech, be audible but not loud and remain confident. Be polite and firm but never criticize others.
Put forth your point in a very emphatic, positive and confident manners for which remember the 6 C's of Effective Communication: clarity, completeness, consciousness, confidence, correctness and courtesy. Learn to disagree politely, if required. In fact, it is far better to put forward your point of view without specifically saying, "I disagree" or "You're wrong," instead say, "I have heard many viewpoints I would like to say …. "
A management aspirant who lacks leadership can not be a good manager, "Ability to show direction, co-ordination, inspiration, motivation, maintaining eye contact and contributing at regular intervals, non-verbal gesture such as listening attentively or by nodding and appreciating someone's perspective one can make a positive contribution. However the best scoring points are Introduction, Keeping he discussion on track, Conclusion and Listening Skills ", believes Mr. Dhaval Parekh, General Manager-MHP Creations (Mumbai).
An idea or a perspective which opens new horizons and put across new idea convincingly for discussion on the GD topic is always highly appreciated. Always strike a balance between expressing your ideas and listening to others. Conviction while speaking goes hand-in-hand with flexibility in approach and ability to appreciate the perspective of the other candidates.
Finally, most of the GD's follow one of the 3 formats: – Structured, Unstructured or Specialized. Patience, Perseverance, Convincing power, Self-Confidence, Ability to articulate one's thought and Power of Persuasion are the hallmarks of the winner in GD.
STRATEGIES AND SUGGESTIONS FOR GDs:
o Knowledge is Strength. A candidate with good reading habits has more chances of success.
o Pay attention to what / why and how to say.
o Be deliberate and slow in Delivery of points.
o Follow the Principle of Politeness.
o Substantiate your point with suitable examples.
o Do not provide opportunities for others to talk, at your own cost.
o Be a good Listener.
o Do not be loud, emotional or angry.
o Appreciate the viewpoints of others.
o Do not intervene unnecessarily when other speak.
o Make your comment short and crispy.
o Use simple, direct and straight forward language, avoid slang languages.
o Maintain rapport with fellow participants.
o When someone appreciates your point of view respond positively and say, "Thank-You for your compliment."
o Wind-up on time which can be done by incorporating all important points discussed.