How to stay ahead in group discussion

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Selection process generally consists of three rounds.

Tests

GD

Interview

The first two are elimination rounds.

The whole selection process is done very carefully to select a person who can become a good manager. So before we go into how a GD should be attempted, let’s see what a good manager is all about.

Managerial skills of each individual are keenly observed in a management school. Your HODs and professors observe how much capacity you have , how much stress you can handle and your potential is graded in terms of HRM, Finance and Marketing.  Successful manager should have the following qualities:

a) Intelligence

b) Judgmental

c) Persuasive –      even if something is wrong, you have to be convincing that it will be done right.

d) Self confidence and self discipline – my uncle who works for BCG , in his initial days of joining, went 5 min late for a seminar taken by the chairman. His senior boss sat beside him and made his blood boil, my uncle is a very cool person but his boss made him so tensed and when he returned to the office in the evening everyone were looking at him awkwardly. From that day onward he never went late. Discipline also includes dress sense, neatness etc.

e) Problem solving – a person was posted to a new place as a manager. There was something wrong with the office, the people were not working, the fax machines are dead, and most of the phones don’t work. Then he called up his boss and reported the same.

Person: sir, machines don’t work here, blah blah…,

The boss simply said,

Boss: so

Person: it is the last two days of the month; targets are yet to be completed. But it is not possible to work here

Boss: see, why I appointed you as the manager of that office, are u a problem solver or a problem aggravator.

Person: sir, I am here to solve the problem.

Boss: so what do you think the solution is?

Person: sir, I need your permission to shift 10 of my officers to TAJ hotel for these two days and this will also let the construction work to go peacefully.

In few minutes he got the permission and later he was appreciated by his senior officers and this incident has become an example.

A Group Discussion is done basically to exchange thoughts and ideas. It is used to eliminate more number of people in short time. A selection committee looks for the following attributes:

a) Subject knowledge

b) Communication skills

c) Leadership ability

d) Team work –     Indian education system has never given points to team work, so we lagged in it. However team games provide a platform where a person can be introduced to work in a team. Hence some companies prefer people who play team games.

e) Ethics and integrity – very important nowadays, suppose a question is asked such as why you are attending for this job when you already got a seat in an IIM. The answer to this question can be precise and perfect if you are strong and clear in your ethics.

f) Analytical and math skills

g) Organizational skills

Do not enter with a mindset because the questions can be anything, for example

X = y = z, discuss.

If you are initiating the discussion then you have to address the group. Start by saying “I would like your permission to start the discussion…”

Don’t hassle over questions being tough. If it is tough for you then it is tough for everyone. You will be evaluated on the following basis:

Quality of content –

Comprehension of core idea.

Structure and direction

Analysis of topic

PREP – Point, Reason, Example, Point proved.

Ways to improve content:

When giving examples mention the source. A boy said “around 40 people died last night”, the other boy asked him how do you know?

Here it would have been better if he said “as you all might have known, in ___ newspaper it was reported that 40 people died last night.”

Read newspaper for an hour. Don’t think of finishing it quickly. Read the editorial page, it gives information about varied current events.

Read business newspapers, at first it will be tough to understand the language but you’ll get used to the terms and learn them.

News channels. Watch big fight, we the people, devil’s advocate etc.

Blog your thoughts.

Check your knowledge with the poll questions in newspaper. See how many people agree with you. Poll questions cover all the topics.

Behavior and personality skills

Behavior is very important, don’t make a fish market. Don’t try to dominate others in proving your point. Listen to theirs as well and say something like “I agree to your opinion but you may also see it this way” and state your point.

Don’t be aggressive; don’t interrupt a person while he is still talking. If someone interrupts then stop him and say “I think we should listen to his point first”. This not only helps in gaining confidence by that person but also decreases the number of people who will interrupt you when you talk.

Beware there are also negative marks if they don’t like your behavior.

Communication skills

Be a good listener. When sometimes you encounter a situation where someone else says the point which you wanted to, then just say u support him by giving an example. U might wonder as to why to support him as he will get more marks, the thing is he will anyway get marks but for your example you will also get some marks.

Body language is also important. It speaks millions on behalf of you.

While performing in a GD

Keep in mind the following roles:

Professor – high on knowledge

Initiative on starting discussion.

New points at regular intervals

Sales person – convincing – through examples + data + logic

Butcher – slaughters/criticizes other’s ideas.

Gatekeeper – discipline, track of time (when the time is running out then it is good to say “we are running short of time , let us summarize or let us conclude the discussion”) , don’t allow others to interrupt

Spectator – listening properly which help in summarizing.

Final note

Do justice to all roles, each of them have equal wieghtage. Perform all the roles many times.

First three roles can be done well if your content is good. The other two comes along with communication skills.

All the best!!!

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