CAREER DEVELOPMENT / FEB. 06, 2014
version 2, draft 2

How to Thrive in a Group Discussion

Groups Discussions is a common methodology or a kind of interview process used by hiring managers to gauge whether candidates have certain personality traits and communication skills that are desired for the specific positions they apply for.  In this methodology, a group of candidates is given a topic or a situation, and are then is asked to discuss the topic among themselves for roughly 15-20 minutes. The evaluation is executed by subject experts based on the discussions.

The final assessment of the discussions will take into consideration candidates’ communications skills, interpersonal skills, leadership skills, team building skills, different thinking, initiative, assertiveness, creativity, etc.

In other words, candidates have to go through this procedure so that hiring managers gauge how well they fit in their organisation and how well they can function as part of a team.

Below I outline some handy advice on how to successfully pass through a group discussion:

How to Speak…

- You should try to be as natural as possible. Do not try to be someone you are not.

- Speak out. A group discussion is a chance to be more vocal. Make the most of this opportunity to show that you are assertive and self-confident. Remember that the evaluator wants to hear you speak with poise.

- Don’t be dominating though. Try to maintain a balanced tone in your discussion and analysis

- Take time to organize your thoughts. Think of what you are going to say

- Don't start speaking until you have clearly understood and analyzed the subject

- Be patient. Don’t lose your temper if anyone says anything you object to. The key is to stay objective: Don't take the discussion personally.

How to Stand Out in the Discussion..

- Begin smartly. Work out various tactics to help you enter the discussion uniquely, initiate the discussion or agree with someone else's point and then move onto express your views.

- Try to add valuable thoughts in the discussion. Opening the discussion is not the only way of attracting attention and recognition. If you do not contribute substantially in the discussion, all your efforts of initiating the discussion will be in vain.

- Use body language. Your body language says a lot about you - your gestures and mannerisms are more likely to reflect your attitude than what you say

- Make enough eye contact to seem interested and serious but do not stare. Talk to your team members, not the evaluators. Remember, eyes are a big giveaway.

Motivate Others to Speak

Strive to motivate the other team members to speak but only do that when you identify the right time to do that. This will show that you have a strong initiative and very good organizational skills. Also, don’t keep repeating the same thing as you may lose your time to speak and this may show too much of leadership. Be receptive to others opinions and do not be abrasive or aggressive.

Practice

A mock group discussion with like-minded friends would be ideal for you to practice and learn from each other through giving and receiving feedback.

Make sure to receive objective feedback from your team members at the mock group discussion particularly on your alertness and presence of mind, problem-solving abilities, ability to work as a team without alienating certain members, and creativity.

All in all always remember that a group discussion is all about communication skills, leadership and coordinating abilities, ability to reason etc. In order to succeed in a group discussion you should display resourcefulness, skill, dynamism, understanding and knowledge on different topics, enterprise, and other leadership qualities to inspire and influence other candidates who may be almost equally competent.

 

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