In a group discussion (GD), there are candidates of the same age group, possessing similar intelligence levels (as ensured by the cut-off marks or written tests), discussing an issue informally. A group is generally made up of six to 10 candidates, who have full freedom to discuss their views in the manner they please. This exercise enables the examiners to assess the personality traits of many candidates within the same time frame.
The candidates must understand that as opposed to a written exam, which is an elimination test, a group discussion is part of the selection process. It means that from any one group of candidates, all, some or none may be selected. It also means that you need not try to be one up on the others in your group. Instead, you need to cultivate some winsome qualities and project them on D-day. This way you will carry your team along.
What are these winsome qualities? Educational institutes look for intelligent, confident, visionary leaders who have tremendous communication skills, listening skills and inter-personal skills. A GD offers a great opportunity for a candidate's natural leadership qualities to emerge. How do you make sure that you come across as a leader with a vision?
Here are some points worth looking at:
A common misconception amongst candidates is that you must speak as much as you can and as many times. Yes, you must speak, but not all at the same time, as happens often. Everyone trying to speak at the same time creates more mayhem but no winners.
An important point is to learn to disagree agreeably. Remaining polite in the face of provocation is a great quality.
Losing your cool and getting emotional about any topic is a strict no-no.
Speaking fluently and convincingly is an art that you must inculcate.
Knowledge of a subject is a great asset. You cannot possibly speak on a subject unless you know it thoroughly.
Talk intimately yet audibly. Do not shout or mumble. Pronounce your words clearly.
Approach the topic objectively and rationally. Offer authentic and convincing reasons in support of your arguments and conclusions.
Create a strong and favourable impact upon your group.
The key to holding your own in a GD lies in displaying initiative, intelligence, patience, tolerance, tact, and faculty of speech. A GD is not about being competitive; it is about being assertively co-operative.
The author is a life skills coach, time-line therapist, and new consciousness writer.