Wednesday, 1 August 2012

The Myths Surrounding ‘Group Discussions’

Group discussions, in short and popularly known as ‘GDs’, have become an important and effective measure of one’s potential in a social group which represent the work space in a shorter scale. Many companies and institutes are making group discussion as the first criteria for screening the candidates for face-to-face interviews. It plays a main role in selecting the best among the best. Two of the main reasons that Group discussions have received such huge importance is that, Communication and ability to take a discussion forward with a good composure/ temperament are two relevant soft skills that are must for managers or software testers (most essential). Making a good impression while speaking in meetings or interviews is the basic skill every professional should have.
 There is a considerable difference between public speaking and GD. In public speaking, the audience merely judges and passes a verdict on the speaker. Nobody in the audience competes with you. They listen to what the speaker says but do not compete with the speaker. They listen to what the speaker says, but do not discuss the subject with equal rights as does the speaker.  The group discussions consist of 10 to 12 members given maximum of 15 minutes and 2 minutes of preparation time. Be sure to list out the points that comes to your mind, cos sometimes at the end, the moderator might collect the papers for further evaluation. It is a good habit to note the additional points given by the other participants.  Two important attitude that the participants in GD must take up are:
  1. All participants in the group must accept responsibility for the smooth conduct of the group activities. This orientation means that each member takes on leadership responsibilities even though he is not entrusted any such a role. Instead of passively waiting for someone else to do what has to be done, everyone must actively seek and accept responsibility. In an effective group discussion, there are no absolute followers but different levels and kinds of leaderships and these leaderships keep fluctuating.
  2. Another important attitude is open-mindedness -the willingness of the candidate to consider a broad range of ideas and suggestions from others. He must be flexible and must be open to change. Instead of taking rigid stands on issues, the flexible member tries to adapt to the best interests of the group. This requires objectivity- in order to make unbiased, impartial judgments. This does not mean that you completely suppress your subjective and emotional reactions. You try to balance them with objective observations. This requires maintaining a proper perspective, that is, either becoming too involved in problems to maintain objectivity nor remaining too distant and uninvolved to be fully unaware of their nature. Finally the participant with the orientation of equality should not nourish notions of superiority and must realize that the fellow participants are equal to him/her in all aspects. You also get an opportunity of noticing and comparing the verbal ability, depth of knowledge, extent of ideas, logical reasoning and the convincing capacity of others and this should enable you to prepare yourself to match with them.
Skills Judged in a Group Discussion are:
  • How good you are at communication with others. .
  • How you behave and interact with group.
  • How open minded are you.
  • Your listening skill.
  • How you put forward your views.
  • Your leadership and decision making skills.
  • Your analysis skill and subject knowledge.
  • Problem solving and critical thinking skill.
  • Your attitude and confidence.
Do’s and Don’ts In a Group Discussion:  DO’s:
  • Starting the GD with a Valid point is a huge plus and a jump ahead. – it will clearly convey the moderator about the understanding of the topic and your knowledge.
  • Speak clearly – clear, be polite and respectful in making your statement.
  • Putting forward thought that are different from others vision. – sometimes you have a vision that maybe a little different from others thought. It is bad not to make the point , sometimes that maybe the winning point.
  • Maintain eye contact with the members of the group and take care in ignoring the moderator’s presence once the GD starts.
  • If the group has lost track from the topic, you should take responsibility in reminding them of the topic. This claims an extra bonus.
  • Listening to others in the group and adding to their points also will be noted by the moderator, cos not always you have to give a new point.
  • Maintain a good body language and posture, keep your hands on the desk and not for scratching or combing your hair.
  • Dress formally, as if you are in a conference.No fancy and funny dressing. You should be comfortable while speaking in group.
  • Listen to the moderator carefully when he dictates the rules.
  • Talk the most within the first 5 minutes of the discussion.
  • Allow other’s to speak or complete the point.
  • Be confident about what you say, and please smile.
  • Again, it is not about the amount of time you have spoken alone that you will be judged.
  • Make genuine points and don’t keep repeating the point that you have stated once.
  • Don’t show any gestures at any members in the group.
  • Don’t keep suppressing the topic and show your pessimistic attitude, be flexible and make them known you have the vision to look from other perspectives.
  • Constantly objecting others and speaking pessimistically will block the smooth flow of discussion.
  • Initiating the gd with a bad point is a bad impression, so it is wise to keep mum, if the topic is not clear.
  • Do not pose a question at the others, cos you are giving an opportunity to make them present a point.
  • Do not try to dominate anyone. Keep positive body language. Show interest in discussion.
The examiners usually look for a very positive personality with varied potential. During the progress of any group discussion, there will be conflicting views and as a result, heated arguments. The winner has to reveal his positive personality traits and leadership abilities to gain approval for his ideas.Since the test is conducted without a leader, there are opportunities for the individuals who reveal leadership qualities to become group leaders. Seizing the opportunity, the aspirant should impress and influence the group. The ability to speak is the foremost of all. If one does not speak eloquently and fluently, one cannot create any impact and make his presence strongly felt. One must arouse other's interest by the power of expression. While talking there must be sense. Conveying all information in well-balanced sentences in a manner that reflects a good grasp of the subject will indicate sharp and analytical mind. The delivery should be smooth and catching. Important of all is the tone. It should reflect the humility of a very knowledgeable person. There will be interruptions and they should be borne with patience and a winning smile .It is the ability to hold the attention of group members which matters.
Do mail or comment if you have any queries,
Ricky Signing out!!!

No comments: