The first aspect is one's power of expression. In a group discussion, a candidate has to talk effectively so that he is able to convince others. For convincing, one has to speak forcefully and at the same time create an impact by his knowledge of the subject. A candidate who is successful in holding the attention of the audience creates a positive impact.
It is necessary that you should be precise and clear. As a rule evaluators do not look for the wordage produced. Your knowledge on a given subject, your precision and clarity of thought are the things that are evaluated. Irrelevant talks lead you nowhere. You should speak as much as necessary, neither more nor less. Group discussions are not debating stages.
Ability to listen is also what evaluators judge. They look for your ability to react on what other participants say. Hence, it is necessary that you listen carefully to others and then react or proceed to add some more points. Your behavior in the group is also put to test to judge whether you are a loner or can work in a group.
You should be able to convey your thoughts satisfactorily and convincingly before a group of people. Confidence and level headedness in doing so is necessary. These add value to your presentation.
Knowledge and Ideas Regarding a Given Subject
Knowledge of the subject under discussion and clarity of ideas are important. Knowledge comes from consistent reading on various topics ranging from science and technology to politics. In-depth knowledge makes one confident and enthusiastic and this in turn, makes one sound convincing and confident.
Leadership and Coordinating Capabilities
The basic aim of a group discussion is to judge a candidate's leadership qualities. The examiner withdraws and becomes a silent spectator once the discussion starts. A candidate should display tactfulness, skill, understanding and knowledge on varied topics, enterprise, forcefulness and other leadership qualities to motivate and influence other candidates who may be almost equally competent.
Exchange of Thoughts
A group discussion is an exchange of thoughts and ideas among members of a group. These discussions are held for selecting personnel in organisations where there is a high level of competition. The number of participants in a group can vary between 8 and 15. Mostly a topic or a situation is given to group members who have to discuss it within 10 to 20 minutes.
The purpose is to get an idea about candidates in a short time and make assessments about their skills, which normally cannot be evaluated in an interview. These skills may be team membership, leadership skills, listening and articulation skills.
A note is made of your contributions to the discussion, comprehension of the main idea, the rapport you strike, patience, assertion, accommodation, amenability, etc. Body language and eye contact too are important points which are to be considered. .
Addressing the Group as a Whole
In a group discussion it is not necessary to address anyone by name. Even otherwise you may not know everyone's names. It better to address the group as a whole.Address the person farthest from you. If he can hear you everyone else too can. Needless to add, as for the interview, attend the group discussion in formal dress.
The language used should also be formal, not the language used in normal conversations. For instance, words and phrases like "yar", "chalta hai", "CP", "I dunno", etc. are out. This is not to say you should use a high sounding, pedantic language. Avoiding both, just use formal, plain and simple language. Hinglish, (mixture of Hindi and English) should be discarded.
Confidence and coolness while presenting your viewpoint are of help. See that you do not keep repeating a point. Do not use more words than necessary. Do not be superfluous. Try to be specific. Do not exaggerate.
Start making preparations for interview and group discussions right away, without waiting till the eleventh hour, this is, if and when called for them. Then the time left may not be adequate. It is important to concentrate on subject knowledge and general awareness. Hence, the prime need for thorough preparation. Remember, the competition is very tough. Only 460 candidates make it to the final list from 2.75 lakh civil service aspirants each year.
It may so happen that you are called for interviews and group discussions from three or four organizations but are not selected by any. The reason obviously lies in your not being well-prepared.
Good First Impression
When you start a Group Discussion, you are responsible for putting it into the right perspective or framework. So initiate one only if you have indepth knowledge about the topic at hand.
There are different techniques to initiate a Group Discussion and make a good first impression by
4). Shock statement
5). Facts, figures and statistics
6). Short story
7). General statement
Most Group Discussions do not really have conclusions. A conclusion is where the whole group decides in favour or against the topic. But every Group Discussion is summarised. You can summarise what the group has discussed in the Group Discussion in a nutshell.
Keep the following points in mind while summarizing a discussion:
- Avoid raising new points.
Avoid stating only your viewpoint
Avoid dwelling only on one aspectof the Group Discussion.
Keep it brief and concise.
It must incorporate all the important points that came out during the Group Discussion.
If the examiner asks you to summarise a Group Discussion, it means the Group Discussion has come to an end. Do not add anything once the Group Discussion has been summarised.