Mastering body language in Group Discussions

In this article, we bring you essential tips and tricks that will help you portray the ideal body language while sitting in a Group Discussion.
Understand the challenge
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  • Body language defines the essence of non-verbal communication and is as important as verbal communication. Infact it is believed that communication is only 7 percent verbal and 93 percent non-verbal (body language - 55 percent and tone of voice -38 percent).
  • It reflects an overall balance in your personality. Management professionals are supposed to be composed and poised even under high levels of stress.
  • It assumes even more importance in group discussions where you are required to maintain multiple connections.
The Right Place to Sit
  • The seat which you occupy in the GD may also influence your participation levels.
    • The moderator asks you to take a specific seat as per a definite sitting arrangement.
    • You are given the flexibility to sit anywhere, in which case you may leverage the above mentioned advantages.
  • Incase of the second possibility we suggest you to prioritize the following seats:-
    • The central seat : Someone occupying the central seat in an arched configuration, is probable to experience an extra ounce of psychological power due to a symmetrically enhanced seat.
    • The ones at the two extremes :Someone occupying the corner seat may also feel this kind of an advantage, as the corner seat defines the starting or ending of the group, leaving the candidate with a realization that he/she is at a critical position.
The Right Approach
  • Maintain an upright posture demonstrating adequate levels of energy . This should not, however, make you too rigid and uptight.
  • Many candidates feel clueless with respect to the position of the hands. Keep your hands on your thighs, particularly in the non-active mode and gesticulate appropriately. Too much gesticulation may project you as an impulsive person and lack of it may make you uncomfortable while expressing yourself.
  • You may keep the legs at right angles to the plane of the body or fold them in a formal manner.
  • Keep a pleasant expression on the face, as it shows a good stress management ability. Further, no one will connect with you if you support a frown on the forehead.
  • Demonstrate involvement and interest through non-verbal gestures. You can not be speaking all through, but you still need to participate. These gestures will support your participation.
The Eye Contact Challenge
  • There are two dimensions to the eye contact challenge: where and how?
    • Keep the Pareto rule in mind while handling the ‘where’ challenge. As per this rule you may slit your eye contact as per the 80-20 split, where 80% of the time you look at the active participants and the balance 20% you look at the inactive or the less active ones. This will ensure that nobody is left out.
    • The ‘how’ part is very situational and depends on the message you want to convey. For example, you may look at someone with complete conviction and convergence, persuading that someone to react to your point of view.
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Avoid the following
  • Lip biting, which indicates heightened nervousness.
  • Hands clamped together, which signals lack of confidence and desperation to seek support.
  • Shaky limb movement, which is indicative of impulse.
  • Legs crossed at an objectionable distance from the chair, which shows non-adherence to a formal code of conduct, apart from indifference and casual attitude.
  • Over-gesticulation, which demonstrates restlessness and lack of poise.
  • Looking up or sideways, which is against the rules of maintain a proper eye contact.
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