Group discussion success strategy – a look into how you can make yourself stand out in the Group Discussion or GD rounds for MBA/PGDBM admission in top B-Schools across India.
As you already know, group discussion or GD is a process wherein the participants exchange their opinions and ideas on any given topic(s). This process is often used for the selection of deserving candidates for admission into management programs in universities and B-Schools. A typical group discussion usually includes a small group of candidates. The number and size of of such groups usually depend upon the total number of candidates. The topic can be either pretty specific, or largely general; and more importantly, the topic can be from virtually any walk of life – be it national politics, diplomacy, contemporary affairs, social and cultural norms, general knowledge or anything else.
Making yourself stand out in a group discussion can boost your chances of getting admission into the desired institute or program. However, unlike written exams, a firm grip over the topic in question may not always ensure you a favorable result in GD. But if you stick to the following strategies, odds will definitely be highly in your favor:
1) Knowledge is important
Even though your knowledge on the given subject matter may not be the sole factor that you must excel in order to triumph over your opponents, it still plays the pivotal role. Not only you must have the subject knowledge, but also be aware of the latest happening in that particular field. The best way to go about that objective is to read widely apart from being aware of what’s going around in the world. Just remember, if you can produce some relevant and important data or information on the topic being discussed, it will definitely be counted as an added advantage.
2) Enhance your communication skills
Being able to communicate effectively is another crucial aspect that you will be judge in during a group discussion. Simply put, there’s no use of being an all-knowing expert on the given topic if you can not express that knowledge effectively during the GD. In order to boost your communication skills, you must try and build a rich vocabulary in addition to a decent command over English. Rehearsal before the exam always helps. If possible, invite a few friends over and participate in a mock group discussion. There are a number of sample group discussion videos on the Internet – refer to them when and if required.
3) Listening is as important as talking
Remember, arrogance is not the key to success in group discussions. You must be a good listener as well as speaker in order to offer a meaningful contribution to the debate. Setting up that balance is the key! Acknowledge your opponents’ comments and ideas in accordance with your stand or position in the debate, and then try to come up with an adequate response based on your knowledge on the subject matter.
4) Control your body gestures
Never ever forget the important fact that your body gestures speak a lot about you. During the GD, always sit on your chair – avoid leaning back or knocking the desk or table with fingers/pen etc. Do not give the impression that you get easily distracted. For example, if suddenly a door opens behind you during the course of the discussion, do not look back to see who it is! Stay calm and avoid being unnecessarily aggressive. However, don’t allow others to dominate you either.
5) Being the first as well as last to speak always helps
It’s really incredible if you can initiate the group discussion yourself – that would exhibit your leadership qualities. Similarly, being the last to speak may also earn you some extra brownie points.