Thursday, December 20

Group Discussion (GD) Tips


 Companies and Institutes are increasingly resorting to Group Discussions (GDs) as important screening criteria for selection of students / personnel.

What is GD?
Group discussion is a process where a small group of people (usually between 6 – 10) debate upon a given topic and exchange ideas and share their opinions. The process involves a tester / observer who observes the participants and accordingly decides who should be selected among the group. Remember, it is possible that none or multiple participants are selected.

GD helps the tester evaluate the communication skills, interpersonal skills and leadership skills of the participants at a glance. It also helps in mass screening of participants.

Points to take care of while appearing for GD:

General Professionalism
Dress appropriately (formally)
Arrive in time
Sit straight, avoid leaning back on to the chair or tapping the table with pen or your fingers
Ask for the clarification on the topic before the discussion begins (not after)
Carry a pen and a notebook (you may not need them though)

Subject Matter
Knowledge of the subject is essential. It’s important to understand the topic well and discuss on the exact topic. Beating around the bush will waste the time of the group and will be to your disadvantage. Worse case is when you start the discussion and are straightaway off the track.

Respect other participants but stick to your guns
Your body language during GD is closely observed by the tester. If you do not agree with the other participant’s point of view or statement, disagree gracefully. Respect the point of view and do not raise your tone in objection. Instead of dismissing it upfront, try and draw a common ground. Deviating from the main topic, or passing strong statements like ‘I agree/ or disagree …’ should be avoided. Instead, mention that though you respect the point of view, in your opinion…..

Traits like banging on the table to express your strong views and being arrogant are not appreciated – this shows that you are not receptive to others’ points of view. However, in exceptional circumstances, this may actually be helpful when you are clearly required to demonstrate leadership traits. We recommend – better avoid such behaviour.

What if some other participant does this and you disagree with his/her view point? Well here’s the real test. Be firm and assertive. Use the power of patience and you are sure to hit the nail hard.

The testers are observing how good a team player you are during a meeting. Listen to others, in fact, encourage others to speak. Listen to them. If the speaker is making an eye-contact with you remember to acknowledge him by nodding your head, so that the speaker is aware that his listeners are listening to him and paying full attention. This will also show that you are an active participant in the discussion.

Being the first to speak
Initiating a GD is a high-risk high-gain strategy. When you initiate a GD, you not only grab the opportunity to speak, you also grab the attention of the tester and your fellow participants. Initiate the discussion only if you have good knowledge of the topic. If you can make a favourable first impression with your content and communication skills after you initiate a GD, it will help you sail through the discussion. But if you initiate a GD and stammer or quote wrong facts and figures, the damage might be irreparable.

Steer the discussion in a meaningful direction – and conclusion
While it is important to let others speak as well, it’s also important to speak during intervals. If you start the discussion but don’t speak much, it gives the impression that you started the GD for the sake of starting it or getting those initial brownie points earmarked for an initiator! Always drive the discussion, and steer it in the appropriate direction.

Summarise key points at intervals and ensure that you don’t waste time doing this. Drive the discussion to a conclusion.

Don’t get distracted
Don’t get distracted with the environment. Often it’s seen that participants keep looking at the testers. Maintain eye contact with the participants and not testers. They’re not a part of the discussion. Ensure that you get to speak your point, if the other members hear you, the evaluators will too.


  1. Nice blog, Containing very useful information about group discussion. But you can also prepare most important and latest topic for group discussion. Which are based on the relevant issues, currents events and current affairs.