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Do’s and Don’ts in a Group Discussion

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Group Discussion forms a crucial stage in the admission process of top B-schools. Apart from knowledge, you are evaluated on the basis of your communication and group skills. Given below is a list of 15 must-know things to consider while appearing for a GD:
15 Do’s in a GD:
  • Make sure your first entry is well planned. The first impression goes a long way in establishing your credentials. Enter the discussion with a strategy, rather than a random input.
  • If you are the first speaker understand the difference between starting and initiating the discussion. Initiating is about imparting an overall direction to the discussion and panning out an agenda for the group. Starting is merely speaking for the sake of speaking.
  • Establish eye contact with the key participants, but do not ignore the other participants. While the active participants need to be acknowledged more frequently, the passive ones should not be completely overlooked. You may follow Pareto’s 80-20 rule here, with 80% of the attention being given to the key participants and the balance 20% being given to the other lot.
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  • Use a strong voice, clear diction and correct grammar. This gives you an operational advantage.
  • Try getting as many likes as possible. Eventually the discussion boils down to group dynamics and collaboration. Creating likeability may help you to navigate more effectively through the course of the discussion. However this doesn’t imply lack of constructive arguments wherever required.
  • Do take counter arguments gracefully and display good listening skills, projecting you as a good learner.
  • Do acknowledge the previous speaker before putting across your point of view.Discussion implies an action-reaction interface. Not reacting to the preceding input may show your inability to do so.
  • Do support your viewpoint with examples and facts. These will add conviction to your point of view and corroborate your stand.
  • Do demonstrate an ability to look at a topic from multiple dimensions. This reflects your ability to think laterally and treat the topic in a more mature and wholesome manner.
  • Do try to understand the right exit points. Please appreciate that the challenge is not to hold the main-stage all through, but to add value at appropriate points of the discussion. Your exit strategy is as crucial as the entry strategy.
  • Do recapitulate the main points of the discussion when required. This helps you to consolidate the flow of the discussion at critical points and also demonstrates your ability to assimilate the view points of others.
  • Do present yourself as a team player with an ability to balance individual excellence and group performance. The group discussion is not just about your perspective; you have to respond to the others’ perspectives as well and enlarge the scope of the discussion.
  • Address group members with respect and dignity. This shows professional courtesy and etiquettes.
  • When asked to conclude, summarize the main points of discussion. The conclusion is not about what you feel about the topic; it is about what the group felt as a whole. This needs reference to the main points which emanated in that span and the overall stand of the group.
  • Maintain a calm and balanced disposition throughout the discussion. This demonstrates your ability to manage stress effectively.
Do's in a GD
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15 Don’ts in a GD
Go through the list of things to avoid so as to crack a GD:
  • Don’t start for the sake of starting. This may project you as an impulsive person with lack of planning and organizing skills, which totally discounts your candidature for a management program.
  • Don’t speak randomly without a plan and structure. This may give an impression to the panel that you are speaking and not adding any value to the discussion.
  • Don't be arrogant, overaggressive or vain. This may evince a negative attitude with poor interpersonal skills.
  • Don't show a lack of attention or energy. This may show that you are indifferent to the task at hand. Kindly appreciate that energy is the capacity for doing work and any compromise on adequate energy levels will portray you as someone who is not task driven.
  • Don't look at only the key speakers in the discussion. It is your responsibility to respect all members of the group. The key speakers should definitely be given more attention, but this should not imply that the passive speakers are totally neglected.
  • Don't condemn or severely criticize anyone’s view point. Everyone has a right to his/her opinion. It is possible that some members of the group get aggressive while expressing themselves but they need to be managed in a certain other way.
  • Don't indulge in cross discussions when the main discussion is in progress. This amounts to transgression and does not conform with formal etiquettes.
  • Don't form cartels to visibly monopolize the discussion. This is seen as an act of violating the essence of an open, natural discussion. This also projects you a s a person vying for undue control/power.
  • Don't get restless and jittery when someone counters your point. It is natural that in a discussion your point gets contradicted. You are supposed to respond with facts/examples/illustrations/logic.
  • Don’t get into unnecessary arguments or futile conflicts with other speakers. This will only add to the opportunity cost.
  • Don’t look at the panel while making a point. This may project you as an attention seeker and an insecure person.
  • Don’t fold your arms or cross your legs to slip into an over casual posture. It is a formal occasion and you cannot portray an informal/casual appearance/attitude.
  • Don’t enter your neighbour’s private space while making a point. This is a violation of his/her intimate space and will be seen as a breach of a code of conduct.
  • Don’t over gesticulate. This may project you as an impulsive person.
  • Don’t scream and shout to prove your point as it negates the importance of poise and composure.
Don'ts in a GD
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