You are on page 1of 4


The basic aim of the Group Discussion (GD) is to evaluate the effectiveness of the candidate
in a group activity. This effectiveness is judged through the leadership qualities and the
communication skills displayed by the candidate.

The group for the Group Discussion typically consists of anything between 8 to 15 people.
Normally care is taken by the organizers to ensure that these people come from diverse
backgrounds. This group is seated in a room in a semi circular or a U shaped manner. The
candidates are provided with unique numbers (and nameplates in case of placement or Company
Group Discussion). The candidates are expected to use these unique numbers while addressing
each other during the course of Discussion. There will be around 2 to 3 Moderators who will be
monitoring and judging the Group Discussion. They will be silent observers of the entire
proceedings. They will intervene only in case of fights or heated arguments.

The group is assigned two or three topics that are of relevance in the political, economic, social or
technological spheres. The process of Group Discussion starts with selection of topic. This stage
explores the Consensus building of the group. This also presents an opportunity for the
candidates to take the lead in deciding the topics and convince the group about choosing a
particular topic. Alternatively the group is itself asked to choose a topic

Tip 1 : Always prepare two or three good topics as this may come handy in the second
Normally the topics assigned are such that they test the depth of understanding of the candidate,
analytical skills, ability to think independently and ability to articulate their thoughts.
No two individuals can think alike. Hence for a given topic there are bound to be as many
viewpoints as the group size. Hence Group Discussion also tests the person's ability to appreciate
other's viewpoints and take them in his/her stride.
The candidate should be assertive and ensure that she/he puts forth his point. However care has
to be taken that this assertiveness does not get transformed into aggressiveness.

Tip 2 : Snatch a chance to express yourselves but in the process do not cut
short anybody.
The candidate should demonstrate Leadership skills. This can be done in three ways:
Initiating the Discussion. This involves selecting the right topic ( by forming consensus of
the group), interpreting the topic correctly ( this is very important as an erroneous
interpretation amounts to misleading the group and will work against the candidate) and
carrying the topic forward.
Carrying the group together by not allowing the high performers over shadow the non-
performers. (This can be done by creating an opportunity for the candidate who has not
spoken to express themselves)
Leadership doesn't mean bossing around but giving patient ear to dissenting views.
The group leader also should ensure that the group does not drift away from the main
The most important quality that a manager possesses is his/her ability to communicate. As would
be Managers, a candidate has to exhibit this quality. Communication has nothing to do with the
language or the candidates command over it.
Communication is a two way process involving at least two entities. One is who sends out the
Communication and the other is one who receives it. The aim of the Communication process is to
ensure that the receiver understands what the giver has intended to communicate. This can be
more effectively done by using simple, jargon free and lucid language. In case any technical
(legal, technological, medical, environmental etc.) term has to be used, explain the same to the

Tip 3 : Avoid verbosity and wordiness. A good tactic to communicate yourselves
effectively is to give examples. Don't use foreign words such as apriori, fait accompli,
dejavu etc. Also do not use accent. This doesn't give you extra marks.

Analytical skills are also very important in a GD. For example if the discussion entails taking a
stand for or against BJP's performance in handling Kargil. Ensure that your arguments are backed
by sound and logical reasoning and in-depth understanding of the situation. Make sure that your
sentence flow is coherent in such a way that one idea automatically follows the other (do not make
contradictory statements and bear this mind for the entire GD).

Tip 4: In case you are unable to speak on a particular topic, wait for the discussion to start.
This will enable you to pick up the threads of the discussion and give more clarity on the
subject. If you are still not confident, simply summarize the whole discussion.
As mentioned earlier Communication is a two way process. So it is as important to listen as to
speak. Ensure that you listen to people and not just hear them. Also attempt to bring this to the
Moderators notice. This can be done by quoting some candidate while putting across your point. (
Adequate care should be taken to quote the candidate correctly)

Tip 5: Be attentive throughout the GD. If necessary note down certain points in the pad
provided to you.
Communications is not only communicating with words but also through Body Language.

Tip 6: Show attentiveness by looking into the eyes of the speaker, by leaning
forward which shows interest, address the group ( neither the Moderator nor the
individual). A good and positive non-verbal communication should be borne in mind.

Inputs required for an Effective GD.
Read newspapers, current affairs magazines and business magazines regularly.
Try and make your viewpoints on the various issues i.e. whether you agree or you
disagree and why ?
Make notes or file newspaper clippings of the news items that you think are important
especially on topics related to the discipline in which you intend to specialize
Read General knowledge books and keep yourself abreast of the latest happenings world
over and more importantly India specific
Never get tense about GD. Relax ..stay composed during the discussion.
( Normally the candidate is asked to report in the morning and the GD turn may come in
the evening. Hence ensure that you are physically and mentally fit to survive the whole
day and the GD.)
Keep your voice audible (neither too loud nor too low) and friendly.
Try to speak in a Conversational style.
Your facial expressions should match with the emotions you are trying to put across.
Also, Dress Code should be Formal. Many moderators do not appreciate casual dressing.
Send out the right signals through your Body Language.

Why do we have group discussion?
Group discussion allows you to exchange information and ideas and gives you the
experience of working in a team. In the work place, discussions enable management to
draw on the ideas and expertise of staff, and to acknowledge the staff as valued members
of a team.

What can I get out of group discussion?
Some advantages of group discussion are:
Ideas can be generated.
Ideas can be shared.
Ideas can be 'tried out'. Good decisions can be taken.
Ideas can be responded to by others. Participation breeds responsibility.
When the dynamics are right, groups provide a supportive and nurturing
environment for academic and professional endeavour.
Group discussion skills have many professional applications.
Working in groups is fun!

Group dynamics in GD
A useful strategy for developing an effective dynamics in your discussion group is to
identify task and maintenance roles that members can take up.
Positive Task Roles
Initiator: 'Let's take a local perspective on environmental responsibility.
Maybe a fast-food outlet?'
Information seeker: 'Does anyone know what PIZZA CORNER does
with its garbage? Does it recycle?'
Information giver: They won a local government award last year for
running an environmentally friendly operation.'
Procedure facilitator: I'll write this down to keep track of our discussion.
Opinion seeker: 'Do you think they're really responsible or is it just a bit
of good PR?'
Opinion giver: 'I think it's a combination of the two, but at least they're
taking the issue seriously.'
Clarifier: 'We need to get hold of PIZZA CORNER annual report to
get a better picture of what they're doing.'
Summarizer: 'O.K. We're taking a local perspective, using PIZZA
CORNER as our example, and we'll have a look at last year's annual
report to see in what way they practiced environmental responsibility.

Positive Maintenance Roles
These become particularly important as the discussion develops and opposing
points of view begin to emerge.
Social Supporter: 'We're coming up with some good ideas here.'
Harmoniser: 'Jane and Tsen have looked at the issue from opposing
points of view. Let's see if we can take something from both points of
Tension Reliever: 'This discussion's really dynamic. It's good that we have
so many different valid angles on the issue.'
Energiser: 'Hey, the point that Ahmed made has really got me thinking.
Let's explore his idea some more.'
Compromiser: 'Half the group supports Jane's view and half supports
Tsen's. Now we need to formulate a compromise that we can all live with.'
Gatekeeper: 'How do you feel about the issue, Greg? Your contribution
here would be really valuable.'
During an effective group discussion each participant may take up a number of
task and maintenance to keep the discussion moving productively.

As well as these positive roles, there are a number of negative roles which are
often taken up in group discussion. You should avoid taking up these roles and
learn to identify them in other group members. The discussion group may adopt
the ground rule that negative role behaviour will be censured by members of the
group. Described below are some negative roles to be avoided.
Negative Roles to be Avoided
Disgruntled non-participant: someone who does not contribute and
whose presence inhibits the participation of other group members.
Attacker: someone who acts aggressively by expressing disapproval of
other members and their contributions to the discussion.
Dominator: someone who takes control of the discussion by talking too
much, interrupting other members, or behaving in a patronising way.
Clown: someone who 'shows off', refuses to take the discussion seriously,
or disrupts it with inappropriate humour.