The B-school selection season is here, and various MBA colleges have started making Group Discussion-Personal Interview calls to students. Candidates who proved their mettle in the aptitude tests now need to bring out their A-game in the GDPI rounds, especially Group Discussions. GDs have been the Achilles heel of students, since many times, students fail to do well in GDs despite hours of practice. This is because while preparing, they fail to ascertain the actual shortcomings in their GD skills, and continue to focus on something that apparently looks like the problem, but is not.
In this article, we show you three key stages of preparation in a Group Discussion. This knowledge will allow you to prepare in the right, streamlined direction.
Stage 1 – Unable to enter/speak a single word in a GD
This is the most fundamental problem for any candidate in a group discussion. This is the stage when a candidate is not even able to enter a discussion or when asked to speak, he is unable to say a single word. Let’s try to understand why this happens.
- Lack of confidence
- Fear of rejection
- No knowledge of the topic/ Lack of content
How to overcome Stage 1:
Candidate in Stage 1 of preparation can do the following:
- Realize that speaking is more important than the feeling of fear
- Try positive thinking techniques before entering a discussion
- Think up ideas using POPBEANS technique
Stage 2 – Speaking but unable to put the point across coherently
This is the stage where most students find themselves in a Group Discussion. Most students speak up, but only a few are able to elucidate their points across in a coherent and eloquent manner, and thus create a Silence Zone for themselves while speaking. Since any candidate gets at most one minute to speak in GD, it is important he/she makes the utmost use of that time. Let’s try to ascertain the reasons why candidates fail to put across points assertively.
- Incoherent thought process while speaking
- Lack of assertive gesticulations and body language
- Unnecessary elongation of a point
- Unable to handle interruptions
Group Discussion Preparation
How to overcome Stage 2:
A candidate who finds himself in Stage 2 can do the following:
- Apply PREC technique – PREC stands for Point, Rationale, Example and Conclusion. The PREC approach can be applied while making a point to any topic under the sun. Also, this method helps elucidate a point in a coherent fashion, showing candidate’s clear thought process.
- Use assertive body language – A confident, up right posture and an assertive but polite tone while speaking assures that the candidate is taken seriously by each member of the group, and is not interrupted when he/she is making a point.
- Eye Contact – While speaking, a candidate should assure he/she makes a panoramic glance to the entire group, and not only to a single candidate. This assures that he is engaging with the entire group, and thus gains everyone’s attention, thus taken more seriously.
Stage 3 – Speaking too much and not playing roles
If you are at this stage of the preparation, it is likely that you can speak up and put your points across coherently in a Group Discussion. However, that is not all. In groups where every member is an intelligent and eloquent speaker (you will find such groups in GDs for most elite colleges), it is important to go a step further and impress the panel by playing different roles in the discussion.
Infact, quite a few students falter in Stage 3 due to the following reasons:
- Consumed the most time speaking, without listening to others
- Did not play any other role apart from speaking
How to overcome Stage 3:
- A candidate should assume one of the following roles after he has clearly made his points:
- Leader (somebody effectively moderating the discussion/ evoking a positive response from fellow peers),
- a Fountain Head (somebody constantly fuelling the discussion with novel ideas),
- a Piggy Rider (somebody who rides on an idea already floated in the discussion but not leveraged properly; this is the last thing to do lest you dwindle out of the discussion and it requires a gift of the gab and significantly high group skills)
Hope these steps of preparation help you bring out your A-game in Group Discussion. Leave your comments below in case you have any doubts.