Once in the middle of my CAT verbal class, I was asked by a student, ‘Ma’am, what is the best way to ace a group discussion?’ I told her, ‘there are no best ways, only better candidates.’ She gave me a puzzled look and anticipating her question, I continued, ‘group discussion is not about a topic, it is about a person. It is not about what is being talked about but in what manner it is being talked about.’ And you thought that manners were limited to table or toilet? Manners make a life! A group discussion is not just a test of knowledge; it is a test of manners. A group discussion is an assessment of skills. Let us enter the circle of discussion.
1. What is the first thing to learn about GD?
I, me, myself Or You, yourself. Simply put, know thyself, before you attempt to know either the group or the discussion. Everything begins with you. It is important to understand your strengths and weaknesses. Once you have shortlisted your strengths, it is crucial to assess whether your skills align with the demands of a group discussion. Similarly, outline your weaknesses and work on ways to minimize them in a way that they don’t obstruct your chances of acing the discussion.
2. What are GD manners?
Cheerful body disposition, focused mind and knowledge of right vocabulary to initiate or intervene a discussion, are top three manners on the list.
3. What if others don’t follow the manners and act aggressive?
Good for you! It means that you have a better chance of scoring a point because you can highlight our opposition’s weakness and convert it to your own strength. Again, precise vocabulary can rescue you from such a situation.
4. Why are GD manners important?
GD manners are integral to a GD because you are being judged on its basis. You may not have all the manners, but you must know how to display the crucial skills that you are being tested for. A group discussion is the art of adroitly projecting leadership, listening and analytical skills using the right manners. For example, a good leader does not have to increase his volume to make a point. All he has to do is use the right words at the right time for the right reason.
5. How should I prepare for a GD?
The best way to prepare is to prepare beforehand. Don’t wait for the day of the GD. Likewise, don’t wait till you clear the exam in order to appear for a GD. An interview is also a type of group discussion; therefore, prepare ahead. One important advice is to actively absorb current affairs and be aware of issues of global importance. At the same time, it is crucial to accept the fact that you can’t prepare for a topic; you can only hone your attitude to handle the topic.
6. What is the most important thing to remember on the day of the GD?
The most important thing to remember is the answer to the question: what do the assessors want to see? The answer is: they want to see you through your manners; they want to know you through your words.They also want to understand how you manage to quieten the ‘fish market’ discussion and navigate it towards a logical conclusion. All they want is you. The question is: are you ready?
Remember, you can swim out of any discussion if you choose not to sink in it. We all have been given the same skill sets along with a highly functional brain; all we need is enough courage and hopeless optimism to pick the spotlight and highlight ourselves in that Group Discussion.
About the Author
Ms Neha Sharma Jha is a professional CAT, GMAT, GRE,SAT, TOEFL, IELTS and ESL English Trainer, GD/PI Instructor, Life Skills Coach, Author , Content writer, Educational Modules Designer, and English Literature faculty. She also holds MA and M.Phil degrees in English along with being a certified TESOL Instructor.
Her core areas of expertise include: Life Skills Training, Entrance Exam Training, Personality Makeover, GD/ PI training, Business Communication Skills, Soft Skills and Corporate Training
She has also authored a book titled ‘Ctrl+ Alt but don't always Delete’.