Group discussion (GD) is an integral part of the selection process of most of the B Schools. The motive behind conducting a GD is to test the constructive argumentative skills of the candidate. It also helps the selectors assess the cultural fit factor, assertiveness, communication skills and clarity of thought in the candidates. Keeping this in mind, below are 5 key strategies that will help you come on top of a GD.
Stay updated with current affairs, industry information, and latest trends in your domain. Also, follow stories of high achievers in your industry, it will give you those shining examples to quote as references to put your point across. Remember one thing, during a GD if the selectors learn facts from you, it really scores well for you. However, the facts should be in conjunction to the point you are trying to put across.
2. Sentence formulation
If English is not your first language you need to condition your tongue days before your GD is held. This is because there is a lot of spontaneity involved while speaking during a GD. Not only would you need to organize your thoughts but also formulate it in a statement so that you speak it in one go because if you hesitate in between, chances are that you will be interrupted by other candidates. This requires at-least a month of practice. Sit in front of the mirror and speak on a topic for around 30 minutes. Note your tongue slippages, instances where you failed to finish your statement, instances where you could not translate the complex idea in your mind into simple words. Try to improve on them. Record a video each day. You will be astonished to see the difference in your ability to speak crisply, confidently and unhindered between day 1 and day 30. That is the confidence booster you need when you walk in to your GD room and outperform it.
3. First Mover advantage
It is always remarking when you initiate a GD. After the GD it is easy for the selectors to recall your candidature if you had started. You need to make sure that you start only if you understand the topic thoroughly. Utilize the initial couple of minutes given before the GD starts very well. Organize your thoughts and your pointers and to be on a safe side, formulate the entire statement ditto as you would speak it out. This would avoid pauses and fillers in your statement. Speak it out in one confident crisp and clear shot. As this is your first move, if this goes well, it would do wonders to your confidence to sustain the GD.
Another important role candidates have to play is that of a moderator. If you feel that the discussion is digressing from the topic, sneak in to the discussion to highlight this digression. Follow it with a relevant point and open the gates for further discussion on the topic. It sounds simple because it is simple. You can start like – “Friends, I think we should refocus on the topic…” It demonstrates your skills as a team player and shows your professional temperament and maturity.
5. Discussion Etiquettes
Always have a positive body language. Your hand gestures are paid heed to by the selectors. Be sensitive to what other are saying and listen well. Many a time, people use the words “To continue on this” just to sneak out a chance to speak but what they speak is never in continuation to the earlier point. Don’t do this. Start with “I would like to raise a point” if you have to raise a fresh point. It scores you big if you actually listen to someone and relevantly support or contradict an input by your peer. Also whenever you do not agree with someone’s opinion, oppose in a positive and constructive manner. Do it with respect to the audience.
Remember, quality wins over quantity when it comes to speaking in a GD. Make sure your points are relevant, they are spoken with confidence and without interrupting anyone.