Group Discussion - All You Need to Know

Discussion and argument have a very thin line between them. Sometimes people do not understand the difference between both and convert the discussion into an argument. A literate person always wants to discuss things, on the other hand, an illiterate person tries to get into argument somehow. Here, by literacy, we do not mean the education we are indicating towards a person’s behavior. Why we are discussing these two things?

The admission process in many colleges has been started and Group Discussion (GD) plays an important role in the selection process. So before we dive deep into the technicality of GD we want you to need to understand the basic difference between discussion and argument. So, you always be on the track and favor discussion over the argument. In this article, we understand what is GD?, what is the process of Group Discussion?, the objectives, the factors that affect GD performance, and many more things.

Group Discussion

What is Group Discussion?

Group Discussion also known as GD is a communication method in which 10-15 people or participants share their views and opinions with each other. In this round panelists provide a topic to the participants for discussion and then participants present their ideas, views, and thoughts on the topic.

It works as a skill examination tool for the panelist, by group discussion they evaluate communication, presentation, leadership, confidence, problem-solving, active listening, and many other important attributes. In many places, GD is used to filter the right candidate for the personal Interview round. In most cases, the duration of group discussion is around 15 minutes but in some cases, it can go longer than usual timings.

Process of GD

Process of Group Discussion can be divided into 6 steps :-

  • Step 1 - Topic Announcement
  • Step 2 - Preparation Time
  • Step 3 - Discussion Start
  • Step 4 - Paricipants Carries Dissussion
  • Step 5 - Summary of Discussion
  • Step 6 - Result Announcement

Objective of Group Discussion (GD)

Group Discussion carries significant weightage in MBA Admission, especially in exams like CAT and CMAT. Many people and aspirants argue over the requirements of this round. But for understanding that one needs to change his point of view and needs to put themselves in the shoe of the panelist. GD is a round where you present your views on a random topic in front of random people and try to express yourself in the best way possible,

GD is conducted with the purpose to identify and shortlisting the best candidates among all the qualifying candidates for the next round. It helps in the assessment of candidates’ communication skills and their capabilities of presenting the information. Group Discussion is one of the crucial steps in the selection process. GD is conducted by the companies and the education instituted before giving admission to a student. So a candidate or student needs to take care of some points while giving GD.

Types of GD

Mainly Group Discussions can be classified into 3 Sections

  • Topics Based GD
    In this type of group discussion, the panelist mostly gives the topic on current affairs or things that are happing in the world right now. Just to check the awareness of students about the news. All the GD aspirants are advised to check the newspaper on daily basis for 15 minutes or follow the latest news trends on social media. In this type of discussion your content matters the most so present information accordingly.

  • Abstract Group Discussions
    It is the most interesting type of group discussion because it has no direction and is based on imagination. The panelist wants students to use innovative ways and ideas to drive the discussion. No one actually knows anything about the topic so candidates need to use their presence of mind.

  • Case Study Based GD
    In the case-study-based discussions, participants are given a problematic scenario. It can be a real-life example or it can be an imaginary situation. In this panelists evaluate the problem-solving approach of the participants. As all of us know our approach in problems shows our personality and the ability of decision making.

Group Discussion Evaluation Criteria

The result of GD depends on many aspects. We have divided those things into two different categories:

Individual Attributes Group Qualities
Content -
Quality is always above quantity especially when you are communicating and presenting yourself. Panelists don’t want a candidate who is presenting irrelevant things. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how long you speak even if you speak for 2 minutes but in mean time you have presented useful information then it will create more impact in the mind of the listener. And the your chances of being shortlisted increase.
Listening -
Listen to everyone very carefully because sometimes people counter each other without understanding the context. So first listen to what others are saying then form a point to counter them. If you listen to everyone you have a massive amount of information to present.
Creativity -
Most of the time in GD the same amount of information is moving from one participant to another. Here, creativity comes into play it is not about what information you are passing it’s about the way you are presenting it. Your way of presenting things engages people towards you and they like to hear you more.
Body Language -
Your body speaks a lot about you because in stress or in tense situations our bodies start to react differently. It’s quite natural to be nervous, just remain calm and pretend that you are confident. Just go into the GD room with a smile and confidence, sit straight, speak clearly and make eye contact with everyone in the room. Do not play with your pen and fingers or do not stare at someone in the room. Try to avoid playing with your hair because all these things show you are not here and not interested in the discussion.
Communication Skills -
In GD communication skills play a significant role. How well do you communicate? Can you make people believe in your content? How well do you use your information? If you crack the code of the above question then you can easily pass the GD.
Synergy in Group -
How well a person treats others is a reflection of his character. In Group mutual respect is quite important. Maybe you are a good communicator and present vital information but if you are not acknowledging someone and his/her knowledge it means you are insulting them. A leader is someone who gives others chances, So give others chances to speak, does not go personal with them, and appraises them when they say something nice.
Analytical Skills -
Facts make people believe in your information. Every discussion is based on the facts so before saying something you just need to get your facts right. It shows your ability to play with the available data.
Leadership Quality -
In the group discussion, one person is given the chance to become the leader. It does not mean that they will get extra marks or any special treatment. It is given to them so that they can drive the whole discussion on the right path. Try to grab that chance and show your leadership skills to everyone.

DO’s and Don’ts in GD

  • Try to Speak First
    After the GD topic is given to you first understand the topic and if you are well aware of the topic. If you are confident about your knowledge on that topic try to speak first. It shows your leadership skills and creates an impact on the mind of everyone.

  • Understand the Topic
    Sometimes it happens that a candidate is not aware of the information related to the topic. In that case, just carefully listen to the other participants and on the basis of the information shared by them choose what you want to say and then start speaking.

  • Eye contact
    While sharing the information try to keep eye contact with each and every participant. Because eye contact shows how confident you are and binds the listeners

  • Make multiple participation
    After speaking once, if you feel that some more information is left to give and that information is important. In that case, just start speaking again.

  • Provide Sensibly Information
    Always remain on the GD Topic, Sometimes it happens that we easily carry forward with the emotion and start talking irrelevantly. Try to avoid this completely because it will reduce your chances of selection

  • Dress Formal
    Your way of dressing says a lot of things about you. Do not go in a GD with ripped jeans or slippers. If you look presentable people will like to hear you more.

  • Speak Politely
    Sometimes when someone counters us on a topic they started speaking aggressively in that scenario just calm yourself and counter that person with a nice smile and make your tone polite

  • Give others a chance to Speak
    In GD if you see someone who wants to participate but other participants are don’t let them speak. In that just ask participants to give chances to others also. If you do that it shows you initiative and leadership skills.

  • Be on the one side
    Every point has two sides one is positive and the other is negative. Always acknowledge the strong points but try to keep yourself on one side. For example, if you are speaking in the favor of one thing and someone counters you with a strong unfavorable point. You need to praise his point and then counter him with your most favorable points related to that point.

  • Never Argue
    There is a fine line between a discussion and argument and you are required to maintain that line throughout the GD process. You all are participating in GD for a decent and productive discussion, not for a fish market argument so maintain the GD decorum.
Weightage of GD Round

In many reputed colleges and in many renowned firms GD is a vital part of the whole selection process. In the management institutes like IIMs, Group Discussion carries a 10-20% of weightage. Every college has different criteria of selection and different processes that’s why the range of GD weightage varies according to their policies. In some colleges, it is a part of WAT (written ability test) and PI (Personal Interview) and carries 50% weightage jointly.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is GD?
Group discussion is a part of the selection process in which 10-15 people participate and discuss a random topic given by the panelist. This panelist aims to shortlist the best candidate for the next round.
GD can be divided into 3 main types - Topics Based, Case studies Based & abstracts. Further, these topics are divided into many sub-topics.
Start with getting everyone, then tell your name to the group and the topic. Once you have done with the introduction, give a brief into of the discussion and then present your views regarding the same.
GD's is completed in 6 steps - 1. The topic announcement, 2. Preparation Time For GD, 3. Start of Discussion, 4. Participation, 5. Summary of Discussion, 6. Result Announcement
Group discussions are conducted to streamline the selection process and find out the leadership quality of the participants. It acts as a filter between the exam qualified candidates and PI-selected candidates.

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