Role Of A Leader In The Group Discussion

Signs of a Good Leader:
1. A leader is confident, able to carefully articulate his thoughts into words and can persuade his audience with ease. Leaders ought to be patient, perseverant and understand human behavior.

2. A leader must be able to interact easily with others in the group.

3. A leader should be able to motivate others and make the group willingly follow his suggestions.

4. Everybody possesses a different temperament, sociability and communicates differently. A true corporate leader can manage people of myriad viewpoints and maintain composure even in sticky situations. It is important to remain calm in the harshest situations.

5. The leader must smoothly steer the dialogue in the right direction and see that it reaches the intended conclusion. Apart from other attributes, it is the crisis management which makes him acceptable to all.

6. A leader is able to tactfully deal with arguments of the participants and provide an opportunity to every candidate to speak their mind.

7. A leader should also be able to demonstrate his intellectual excellence and leadership quality and utilize it to steer the discussion away from the murky waters

8. A leader must be able to express views logically and cogently within two or three minutes.

How to prepare for GD??


GD Preparation - A few useful Tips ‘n’ Tricks !!

Read the newspapers, current affairs magazines and business magazines.

Try and make your viewpoints on the various issues i.e. whether you agree or you disagree and why. For example India and the WTO? Discuss them with your friends or knowledgeable relatives.

Make notes or file news paper clippings of the news items that you think are important for the area in which you intend to specialize, your country or the world as a whole.

Read books on the area you are planning to specialize into.

Read General Books.

Never get tensed about GD. Do not let this spoil you schedule which includes a good nights sleep.

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.

What Is A Group Discussion

What Is A Group DiscussionA Group Discussion is a verbal dialogue and exchange of thoughts and opinions between a group of people. It is a personality test commonly used by institutes where there is a high level of competition.

Candidates and executives are selected for managerial appointments, training, awarding of scholarships, admission to post graduate or specialized courses using this test.

A typical GD involves 8 to 12 participants discussing a topic for a stipulated time, usually for 15 to 20 minutes. Like an interview, a GD can be administered easily because it is a verbal test. It has all the advantages of field tests which make it more objective and reliable. Candidates can even rank themselves and then compare the rank to that given by the examiners. No special materials are required to conduct a GD and it can be done anywhere, any time. Thus, a GD is economical and time saving.

A Group Discussion can be Structured, Unstructured, or Specialized.
1. Structured GDs: The topic is stated and the time limit is set. No consensus is expected at the end. No leader is chosen. These are easier to handle. Topics chosen are general and do not require technical knowledge.

2. Unstructured GDs: A leader must be chosen and the group has to reach a consensus. The leader has to direct the group, set the tone for discussion and ensure that the discussion is smooth. Sometimes to make things complicated, the group is asked to decide on a topic, discuss it and reach a consensus.

3. Specialized GDs: These include role-plays or scripted GDs. Candidates are given a certain brief about a role that they need to play. Candidates are provided with the profiles of the people they are supposed to play and a subsequent situation they must deal with.

A GD monitors the level of coordination and cooperation. Your ability to work in a team comes to the fore. Do not lose your temper or appear distressed. It is a sign of inability to work in a team. The objective is to work together and accomplish the task within the time allotted.

If you can articulate and express yourself well, you will do marvelously at the GD. Of course, wide general knowledge of the subject will supply more points to talk about. Competition within the group can be tough and each candidate will try to impress all others in the group. In a bid to make a good impression and make as many points as possible, there will be overlapping, confusion, conflict of the interests and confrontation.

FAQs - Group Discussion

Learn the answers to the questions that frequently arise in your mind !!

1.What is a GD?
GD is a discussion by a group of people which involves an exchange of thoughts and ideas. Group Discussions are largely used by institutes where there is a high level of competition.

2. What is Evaluated?
GD is a means to assess one’s overall personality.

The qualities judged are:
Mental Agility
Spontaneity of Decision
Interpersonal Skills
Alertness
Power of Assimilation
Clear & Logical Exposition
Leadership
Intellect
Moral Integrity

An Examiner can easily make an assessment of candidates on above parameters in a GD. All that one observes in a GD can be categorised into two broad areas: the Content and the Process. The content is all about the ‘matter’ (or the ‘what’) spoken in the GD. Whereas, the process refers to the ‘how’, ‘when’ and ‘why’ of the GD. Both are equally important and need adequate attention at all stages. A high quality contribution with no regard to the ‘process’ is as suicidal as one which is high on packaging with little content.

3. How does a GD Take Place?
A Group of 6-15 candidates are made to sit in a circular or a semi-circular (U Shaped) fashion so that they can see each other and take part in the discussion easily
Roll Numbers may be allotted to participants for easy recognition. Before the GD, the examiner (observer) announces the topic for discussion and informs candidates about the time-limit. He may also draw attention towards the etiquette, rules and regulation, procedure to be followed. He also clears any doubts/queries. The individuals of the group might be given some initial time to put down their thoughts on the topic. The examiner observes the proceedings of the discussion from a distance without directly interfering into it. He examines the performance of each candidate without any prejudice or favour.

4. Are the topics decided on the basis of the academic background of the participants?
No, The grouping of members and the topics is done by the institute’s admission team. Topics basis academic background are rarely asked

5. Can a definite stand be taken?
If you have complete conviction on your stand TAKE IT (esp. in case of ethical topics) – Its important to be true and fair first to yourself and then to others.
But, at the same time appreciate others point of view and evaluate their judgment without bias. Taking one side of the topic initially and then moving to another or oscillating between the two sides during the GD shows signs of indecisiveness. Remember, Managers are Effective Decision Makers.

In most groups, you would find close to a 50:50 situation for and against a topic. Even if you are a minority take the stand. Even, in the MBA selection process, you are a minority – ‘one out of 200’!

6. What is the right time to enter to ensure I am heard?
If the order is preset by the examiner then you will have your chance as per your turn

The opportunities to enter are
:
First Members
Last Members
Middle Members

The best time to enter is in the first so that you maintain uniqueness of your points, but at the risk of losing out on others points which you could build on. If you find it uncomfortable to be the first to take the plunge listen out others and then enter along with the middle/last members. Frankly, there is no right or wrong time to enter or not. Just make sure that you speak out your points in the initial round of discussion

7. How necessary is it to use examples for illustrating an idea?
Using an example simplifies the understanding of your point to the group. Substantiation is like putting a seal of authenticity to your statement. Try and use relevant facts/figures wherever possible. Use an example or two for a point that you wish to project

8. What is summarization?
Converting the entire discussion into 4 or 5 points without any bias to fully represent the thoughts of the group. In some cases, everyone might be asked to summarize so you must form a habit of summarizing.

9. What should you do if one member is very stubborn and aggressive?
Don’t get into a argument with the member – “Don’t let his virus INFECT you”. Objectively and calmly present your point of view vis-à-vis his. You could ask other group members to comment (to break the deadlock) and take the discussion forward

10.How do you participate when the noise level is high?
Every group has a High – when most people are talking – This is when you should listen and your mind should think and evaluate the plethora of others thoughts
You can interject when the group is on a low (you will be able to observe it if you are alert) – Then present your evaluation of others thoughts and perhaps take the discussion on to a more positive platform, This would show a clear structure in your thinking. Sometimes you can bring the group to a refocus, when the group digresses from the topics.

These are all positive traits of a manager and naturally gives you plus points.

FAQs - Group Discussion 2

Learn the answers to the questions that frequently arise in your mind !!

What is the normal duration of a GD
?
A GD is generally of 15-20 minutes duration.

How many panel members are there to evaluate?
There are usually 3-4 panel members to evaluate.

Is there time given for preparation after the topic is given and before starting the GD?
Usually some time (2-5 minutes) is given to collect one’s thoughts, but there could be instances when this does not happen, so it is best not to bank on this.

Should I address the panel or the group members?
Don’t ever make the mistake of addressing the panel members. The GD is between you and the other members, not the panel members. You must avoid even looking at the panel members while the GD is in progress. Just ignore their existence.

What is the seating arrangement like?
It could be semi-circular, or circular, or seating along side a rectangular table, depending upon the venue. It is best not to bother about trivial issues like this, which you have no control over.

How should I address the other group members?
If you are initiating the discussion, you could do so by collectively addressing the group as “Friends”. Subsequently, you could use names (if the group has had a round of self-introduction prior to starting the discussion and you remember the names) or simply use pronouns like “he” or “she”.

Suppose I have a lot to say on the topic, should I say all of it?
You would not be looked upon favourably if you kept speaking all the time and did not listen to anyone else. Contrary to the misconception, the person who talks the most is not necessarily the one who is judged the best. The quality and not the quantity of your contribution is the success factor.

Should I encourage others to speak up?
Do not directly put someone who is consistently silent on the spot by asking him/her to speak up. If someone has been trying to speak and has a good point but is cut off constantly, you may encourage him/her to continue with her point as you would like to hear her out.

Are the group members supposed to keep track of the time or will the panel keep track?
It would be good if you are conscious of the time, but not to the point of getting so distracted looking at your watch that you do not contribute to the discussion.

Tips & Tricks - Group Discussion

In order to succeed at any unstructured group discussion, you must define what your objective in the group is.
A good definition of your objective is - to be seen to have contributed meaningfully in an attempt to achieve the right consensus.

The key words in this definition are ’seen’, ‘meaningfully’, and ‘attempt’. Let us understand what each of these implies in terms of action points:

The first implication is that merely making a meaningful contribution in an attempt to achieve consensus is not enough. You have to be seen by the evaluator to have made a meaningful contribution in an attempt to build the right consensus.

In other words you must ensure that you are heard by the group. If the group hears you so will the evaluator. You must get at least some airtime. If you are not a very assertive person you will have to simply learn to be assertive for those 15 minutes. If you get cowed down easily in an aggressive group, you can say goodbye to the business school admission.

Many group discussion participants often complain that they did not get a chance to speak. The fact of the matter is that in no group discussion do you get a chance to speak. You have to make your chances.

The second important implication is that making just any sort of contribution is not enough. Your contribution has to be meaningful.

A meaningful contribution suggests that you have a good knowledge base, are able to structure arguments logically and are a good communicator. These are qualities that are desired by all evaluators.

Many group discussion participants feel that the way to succeed in a group discussion is by speaking frequently, for a long time and loudly. This is not true. The quality of what you say is more important than the quantity. Don’t be demoralized if you feel you have not spoken enough. If you have spoken sense and have been heard, even if only for a short time, it is usually good enough. You must have substance in your arguments. Therefore, think things through carefully.

Always enter the room with a piece of paper and a pen. In the first two minutes jot down as many ideas as you can. It pays to think laterally. Everybody else will state the obvious. Can you state something different? Can you take the group ahead if it is stuck at one point? Can you take it in a fresh and more relevant direction? You may like to dissect the topic and go into the underlying causes or into the results.

One way of deciding what sort of contribution is meaningful at what point of time is to follow two simple rules. First, in times of chaos a person who restores order to the group is appreciated. Your level of participation in a fish market kind of scenario can be low, but your degree of influence must never be low. In other words you must make positive contributions every time you speak and not speak for the sake of speaking. The second rule is applicable when the group is floundering. In this situation a person who provides a fresh direction to the group is given credit.

The third implication is that you must be clearly seen to be attempting to build a consensus. Nobody expects a group of ten people, all with different points of view on a controversial subject to actually achieve a consensus. But did you make the attempt to build a consensus?

Try and lay down the boundaries or the area of the discussion at the beginning. Discuss what the group should discuss before actually beginning your discussion. This will at least ensure that everyone is talking about the same thing.

Try and summarize the discussion at the end. In the summary do not merely restate your point of view; also accommodate dissenting viewpoints. If the group did not reach a consensus, say so in your summary.

You must carry people with you. So do not get emotional, shout, invade other people’s private space. Do not bang your fist on the table except in extreme circumstances.

If you have spoken and you notice that someone else has tried to enter the discussion on a number of occasions and has not had the chance to do so maybe you could give him a chance the next time he tries. But do not offer a chance to anyone who is not trying to speak. He may not have anything to say at that point and you will just end up looking foolish.

The surest way of antagonizing others in the group discussion as well as the examiner is to appoint yourself as a de facto chairperson of the group. Do not try to impose a system whereby everyone gets a chance to speak in turn. A group discussion is meant to be a free flowing discussion. Let it proceed naturally. Do not ever try to take a vote on the topic. A vote is no substitute for discussion.

Do not address only one or two persons when speaking. Maintain eye contact with as many members of the group as possible. This will involve others in what you are saying and increase your chances of carrying them with you. Do this even if you are answering a specific point raised by one person.

One last point. You must not agree with another participant in the group merely for the sake of achieving consensus. If you disagree, say so. You are not there to attempt to build just any consensus. You have to attempt to build the right consensus.

What Role You Play In A Group Discussion?

Everytime we have a GD, participants play some or the other familiar role in it.

1. Mr. Brain/Plant :
• He brings in a lot of substance and comes up with wide interpretations of the topic.
Downside: It is difficult to stop him, as he is preoccupied with topic discussion as opposed to group discussion. He is happily obvious to simple things like who is sitting next to him. At the end of the GD if you happen to ask him whether the person sitting next to him was a boy or a girl, the answer would likely be ‘I do not know’.

2. Shopkeeper :
• He is the sales man who can sell anything, has the gift of the gab, a very strong ability to relate to people and be at the centre of things.
Downside: He does not usually come up with original thoughts himself. Needs Mr. Brains to feed him with ready-made ideas that he can sell.

3. Watchman :
• His role is to maintain order in the group, usually content is low.
• Pre-occupied with directing the group process such as controlling entry and exit of participants.
• He is crucial for meeting time commitments made to the panel. Especially, in ensuring consensus.

4. Critic :
• He criticizes everybody’s points without contributing anything new.

5. The Butcher :
• Does great service to the group by enhancing the quality of content by not letting participants get away with just about anything.
• Is most welcome in a group which has one or two aggressive elements in it.

6. The Spectator or The Passenger:
• Is involved in the proceedings but plays a limited role.
• Contribution is very limited and does not affect the out come of the group task.

So What Role Should You Specialize In?
Each role has several benefits. However, strong attachment to any single role throughout the GD could limit your chances of success.

What is more important is that you demonstrate leadership at every moment. You must be able to move across these roles as the situation demands. Anyone seen to be Performing more than three of these roles will definitely make a strong impact on the on the panel. Mobility is the keyword in becoming effective in GDs.

The key to success in GDs is to be able to effortlessly move from one role to the other depending on what the situation demands.

Tips For Group Discussion

A good level of general awareness will come in handy so that you aren’t at a loss of words on certain issues. Understand the topic and analyze it mentally before speaking. Be clear about the purpose and content of your viewpoint. One should be able to communicate his views in an effective manner to everyone. Be clear in speech, audible but not too loud and above all remain confident.

Remember the six C’s of effective communication - Clarity, Completeness, Conciseness, Confidence, Correctness and Courtesy.

You should maintain eye contact with all others in the group and not focus on a particular person for he may benefit from that. Be responsive to ideas from other people and seem to be very receptive and open-minded but don’t allow others to change your own viewpoint…

Starting the discussion is considered to be good however it isn’t that important; what is important is that you speak for a period long enough for you to be able to communicate your viewpoint.

Always maintain your calm and never get aggressive. If you haven’t been able to talk then one can cut in saying “Excuse me, but what I think is ……….” or something of that sort. Never lose your temper and never attack anyone on a personal front. Your attitude should be one of cooperation and not one of conflict. Don’t lose sight of the goal of the discussion. Listen to any criticisms and give them a thought before trying to defend your views.

How To Contribute Meaningfully In A GD??

There are always two ways to look at any topic: for or against.
Take the example of economic liberalization. It can be argued that it was a very good thing since a number of foreign companies came into the country, bringing technology and efficiency. Employment and growth rate improved. The people could buy all the world class products which earlier had to be smuggled.

On the other hand, it can also be argued that all kinds of non-essential goods came into the country, like hamburgers, fried chicken and soda water. The infrastructure remained poor. There was no fresh growth as the MNCs simply bought the Indian companies. he technology they imported was outdated and most of the goods were so expensive that most people could not buy them. Liberalization was trumpeted to be a good thing since politicians were using it to rake in personal wealth.

Whatever personal views one may have, it is important to know both sides of the argument. If the discussion is heading towards a particular direction, a candidate can take a totally opposite view and consequently will become the centre of the discussion. Of course one must be able to defend one’s viewpoints and therefore the need to have read widely. In the case of liberalization, many people will defend it, since that is the viewpoint most often published in newspapers. If a student can bring in an opposing viewpoint and mention some convincing reasons, there is no reason why he will not be selected.

What matters the most in a GD is whether any meaningful contribution was made by the person. A candidate will score well if he shows leadership qualities, that is, of guiding the group towards a consensus. It is clear that one should have read a lot if he is to exhibit any depth of knowledge. If you have kept up with the newspapers and magazines, it will certainly be of help. Look at the last 12 issues of the current affair magazines and you will find all the likely current topics discussed. Read carefully the debates and argumentative questions and chances are that you will get one of these topics for discussion. Read also items of economic importance and learn the figures of growth rates, GDP, deficits and so on.

The trouble is that most students have not faced anything like the GD before. How is one to speak in a group of 15 strangers in a language we do not usually speak? One way is to read about a topic and then debate with parents, uncles or elder cousins. Tell them to ask you questions and try to trap you. The more you do this, the more clear will your own thoughts become. Of course practice in a larger group can be obtained only by joining a professional institute.

Another way to practice is to tape your speech. Try to speak about a topic for one full minute into the tape recorder. When you listen to the tape, you will be able to spot your mistakes, the points on which you falter and the words which you cannot easily speak. You will also be able to know whether you make any sense or not. Ask your friends to listen to the tape critically. Often, people can discover their weaknesses and speech impairments by this method.

You can also use mirror therapy. Stand before a mirror and speak extempore on any topic. Practice sounding assertive and firm. If you think your voice is soft or shrill, especially for girls, speak loudly in front of the mirror as if you are speaking to a stranger. Have a conversation with yourself. The mirror will tell you whether you have a habit of looking away while speaking. It will tell you about your body language also. These will be invaluable insights for participating in groups. You must look at all the members when addressing them. Looking away will cause you to lose your chance and the other person will carry on without letting you complete. The mirror will also stop you from fidgeting, as many people are prone to do when they are speaking or are nervous. The therapy will be greatly enhanced if you can get your family members or friends to practice with you.

FMS GD Topics

- Computers result in unemployment.
- The parliamentary form of democracy has failed in India.
- Consumer satisfaction should be achieved at any cost.
- Managers do not add value to the society.
- Democracy is the only way to a sustained economic growth.
- Should youth indulge in politics?
- Liberalisation in 1991 was a forced one.
- Democracy is a luxury in India.
- Business Ethics.
- Infrastructure and India.
- Effectiveness of economic embargo on Iraq.
- The parliamentary form of democracy has failed in India.
- Consumer satisfaction should be achieved at any cost.
- Managers do not add value to the society.