GD/PI tips given by an IIM-A pass out

CAT results are out and I have received a number of mails of GD/PI prep in these days. Since it is not possible to send an individual reply, I thought I would put a post on the blog about the same.

Following are some of the tips for GD from my experience:

* GD is usually not an elimination procedure. The evaluator evaluates you on skills like communication in group, leadership, assertiveness and most importantly listening. Remember you have one mouth and two years. So the communication should also be on similar pattern. A group discussion is your chance to be more vocal. The evaluator wants to hear you speak. So you do not have to sit quietly and hope that someone would give you a chance to speak up. Stand up for your opinion.

* Regarding the content– TIME told us a strategy which I found very useful for every topic -SPELT. Think about a topic from five different perspective -Social, Political, Economic, Legal And Technological, u wud be able to generate a number of good points.

* Take time to organize your thoughts. Think of what you are going to say.

* Don’t start speaking until you have clearly understood and analyzed the subject. Seek clarification if you have any doubts about the subject.

* Work out various strategies to help you make an entry: start the discussion or agree with someone else’s point and then move onto express your views.

* Opening the discussion is not the only way of gaining attention and recognition. It is a high risk, high return strategy. The move can backfire badly if you make any goof up. I preferred being second or third speaker.

* Your body language says a lot about you – your gestures and mannerisms are more likely to reflect your attitude than what you say. Gestures like pointing a finger or pen, sitting cross-legged, playing with pen, tapping with feet needs to be avoided. Maintaining an eye contact, smiling faces are always welcomed.

* Try to know as many as people before the GD. This helps as familiar faces may not interrupt you as you speak.

* Language skills are important only to the effect about how you get your points across clearly and fluently.

* Be assertive not dominating; try to keep up a balanced tone in your discussion and analysis. Don’t lose your cool if anyone says anything you object to. The key is to stay objective: Don’t take the discussion personally.

* Always be polite: Try to avoid using extreme phrases like: `I strongly object’ or `I disagree’. Instead try phrases like: `I would like to share my views on;’ or `One difference between your point and mine’ or “I beg to differ with you”

* In case of a ‘Fish market situation’, first and foremost make sure that you don’t contribute to the mayhem. If the group is too disorderly wait for the right opportunity to make your point. Also a valuable tip – If a GD/Case study is more than 15 mins duration, it would not turn into a fish market. So act accordingly. IIM A case studies do not turn into fish market. There is a lot of time and people are really hesitant to create fish market kind of situation.

* Brush up on your leadership skills; motivate the other members of the team to speak, and listen to their views. Be receptive to others’ opinions and do not be abrasive or aggressive.

* Read a lot for generating content. Go thru newspapers like Hindu, mags like Business world etc to get a familiarity with current topics.

* Modulate the various aspects of your voice viz. volume, pitch and tone to suit the nature of the point you are making. Make sure you don’t sound rude or arrogant.

Apart from the above points, the panel will also judge candidates for their alertness and presence of mind, problem-solving abilities, ability to work as a team without alienating certain members, and creativity. An old clichéd but valid adage says -‘Practice makes a man perfect’….. n GD is one of the places where it is most apt.