A Group Discussion is one in which a certain number of people talk about an issue/subject/matter in the context of their opinions, experiences, expertise and observations with a view to arrive at some decisions. The conclusion thus drawn may be collective consensus or by majority. It is difficult from the ordinary discussion in the fact that in a G.D there is a subject matter and the speaker have got to focus on that one matter without resort to extraneous information. In a workplace a G.D seeks to draw on the ideas and experiences of the employees. This boosts the morale of the staff as they get the feeling that they are participating in the process of decision making. Therefore, when G.D is held as a process of interview, it is to estimate the following in the candidate: –
- Depth of grasp of the subject given for discussion.
- Capacity for logical analysis.
- Firmness of opinion and the logical base of the same.
- Qualities of team work and leadership.
- Effectiveness of communication and persuasiveness.
- Spirit of cooperation in a team and
- Capacity to draw conclusions based on facts free from bias.
Since in a G.D ideas from participants are shared by each respondent both by way of agreement and/or dissent are also shared. As a result, loopholes in an opinion get cleared which leads to new or even better perspective on the subject. The combined knowledge and experience lead to a more solid solution. The commitment to a solution to be worked out is pretty strong as the same has been arrived at by the group.
In a G.D, to begin with, define/describe the subject briefly. This will give a clear idea of what you understand by it. Then proceed in a logical manner to briefly trace it in the context of its social history and evolution. After this relevance/irrelevance to the present and solution/conclusion. Example: Subject is = “Media is corrupting the youth”. Don’t begin with the conclusion – “Yes, media is devastating the youth morally”. The statement, besides seeming prejudiced, appears to be arrived in haste without statistical and other validity.
Next: Listen very, very attentively to the participants. Your matured reaction to what others say will convey a better image to the company’s representative monitoring the G.D. Besides, listening well will help you to generate ideas. This will help you particularly, if you don’t have adequate material on the subject under discussion. In a G.D it has been observed that participants get angry and lose their cool when an opinion contrary to what they hold on the subject of discussion is expressed. Once a person gets angry, it is quiet difficult (often impossible) to resist reaction in terms of both body and verbal language. If this happens, the candidate conveys a negative message. For G.D and for that matter of fact, for every other situation in life it should be firmly borne in mind that no criticism of your opinion on any issue can make you angry, if you are sure about yourself. We get furious when we are not cocksure about our view. The key lies in staying smiling and respecting the other person’s view point even if he sounds absurd. No room for ire. A simple example will make this abundantly clear. A person comes to you to say, in all earnestness, that two and two make five not four. You will not retaliate but smile back. You know that his assertion is preposterous. You may not even ask him – WHY? That applies to everything else.
Next: Don’t make an aggressive assertion of your views nor make meek submission. Say confidently without sounding arrogant. Do not try to loudly invite attention from the panelists or the observer. Let the participant speak and once he is over, then only put forth your ideas. Do not interrupt if a participant keeps on talking endlessly, he is being taken notice of by monitoring representative. You don’t have to shout or scream. Always bear in mind that your behavior both physical and verbal is constantly being observed. But if you have a forceful point, don’t hold that back.
Your skill will lie in your capacity to present your opinion logically but pertinently. If you are giving out some opinion of your own and the same is comprehensive you should be sure that you have been taken notice of. When you conclude, do it holistically and offer a viable solution. All this will be possible if you:-
1). Keep calm
2). Listen attentively
3).Keep yourself well informed about the happenings around you; read magazines and newspaper for this;
4). Have a tolerance for other’s views
5).be cheerful all along.
Often a situation arises in a G.D where everybody is found to be talking at the same time. In such a situation you will do well to raise your voice little and say- “Excuse me gentleman we are not projecting a good picture. Lets behave”.