What is Group Discussion? Tips and Limitation

by Anup Maurya
What is Group Discussion? Guidelines, Do’s , Don’t and Limitation

Group discussion, commonly known as GD, is an effective method of exchanging ideas and opinions among a group of individuals on a specific topic or subject. It is often used as an evaluation tool by various organizations, educational institutions, and competitive exams to assess a candidate’s ability to communicate, express their views, and engage in a group setting. In this article, we will discuss the guidelines, do’s, don’ts, and limitations of group discussions.

Group discussion is primarily used to know the social framework, personality, behavior, interests, and leadership qualities of a number of candidates simultaneously.

The interaction in a group occurs in two ways

  • Interaction occurring due to objective relationship
  • Interaction occurring due to personal relationship

Guidelines for Group Discussion

  1. Be prepared: It is essential to research and gather information on the given topic before participating in the discussion. The more you know, the better you can present your opinions and ideas.
  2. Stay on topic: Focus on the subject at hand and avoid going off-topic. This ensures that the discussion is productive and efficient.
  3. Respect others: It is important to listen to others and respect their opinions, even if you disagree with them. Avoid interrupting or talking over others.
  4. Use appropriate language: Use polite and professional language while speaking. Avoid using slang, profanity, or offensive language.
  5. Maintain eye contact: Make eye contact with the other participants while speaking or listening. It shows that you are attentive and engaged in the discussion.
  6. Be concise: Keep your points brief and to the point. This allows others to understand your ideas and prevents the discussion from going off-topic.

Tips on Group Discussion

Let’s read about the points that you should keep in mind:

1) Adequate matter/ Subject matter is essential : You should have subject knowledge and be well aware of the latest happenings around you, not just in India but around the world as well. To be in a better position, make sure that you have in-depth knowledge on the subject. Subject knowledge is a pre-requisite while you are preparing for a group discussion because you will then have the power to steer the conversation to whichever direction you want to. If you can memorize some relevant data, it will be an added advantage.

2) Make Sure you Read Widely: Being an avid reader will help you in group discussions. Last minute preparations you are strictly a no, while you are preparing for group discussions. You should read over a period of time. Reading not only adds to your knowledge database, but enhances your vocabulary skills as well. Plus reading over a period of time, helps in your understanding of a particular subject/ topic better.

3) Choose Magazines that are Rich in Content: Always opt for magazines that are content rich and not just full of advertisements. Often magazines have columns which are promoting a particular institute etc. Avoid such magazines, do some research and buy the best that will be beneficial for you in the long run.

4) Work on your Communication Skills: You should be well versed in your communication skills. You should have a good vocabulary and a decent command over English. Much before your actual group discussion, rehearse well. You can sit with a group of friends and choose a topic and indulge in a friendly banter. Not only will this increase your knowledge, you will be a better speaker by the time it is time for your GD.

5) Listen to the Topic Given during GD Carefully: Listen to the topic carefully and understand it… Be alert and vigilant. Sometimes, the topic may be really simple but the manner in which it is presented to you, can be baffling. The first thing that you should do after hearing the topic is by structuring it on the sheet that is given to you to make notes. Make a rough sketch of the points that you would like to speak aloud. You will be at an advantage if you open the discussion, but then beware of what you speak. Deviating from the main topic, or passing strong statements like ‘I agree/ or disagree …’ should be avoided. Your strategy should be to test the waters and make a generic statement relevant to the topic. If you can, back it up by relevant data.

6) Try and Maintain a Balance in your Tone: Besides what you are saying, remember that the panelists are observing your body language as well. If you do not agree with the other student’s point of view, do not raise your tone in objection. Listen to his point of view and instead of dismissing it upfront, try and draw a common ground. .

7) Listening Skills are Essential: Carefully listen to what others have to say. Just speaking throughout the discussion doesn’t make you smart, you should also give others a chance to speak. Try and listen to him/her, respect their view point too. If the speaker is making an eye-contact with you remember to acknowledge him by saying “yes, you agree” or just by nodding your head, so that the speaker is aware that his listeners are listening to him and paying full attention. This will also show that you are vigilant and are an active participant in the discussion.

8) Body Gestures are very Important: The panelists observe the way you sit and react in the course of the discussion. . Body gestures are very important, because your body language says a lot about you.In a GD, sit straight, avoid leaning back on to the chair or knocking the table with pen or your fingers. Also, do not get distracted easily. For example, if the door in room you are sitting in opens, do not look back to see who it is, this will show how distracted you are.

9) Be the first and also the Last to Speak: As mentioned earlier, initiating a GD is an advantage. Closing it too also adds brownie points. If you can grab the opportunity to close the discussion, then you should summarize it. If the group has not reached a conclusion try concluding it .

Do’s in Group Discussion

  1. Listen attentively: Pay attention to what others are saying and actively listen to their viewpoints.
  2. Participate actively: Participate in the discussion by expressing your ideas and opinions.
  3. Initiate discussion: Initiate the discussion by asking questions or presenting your point of view.
  4. Provide evidence: Support your arguments with facts and evidence.
  5. Analyze the topic: Analyze the topic and provide a balanced view of the subject.

Don’ts in Group Discussion:

  1. Interrupting others: Avoid interrupting others while they are speaking.
  2. Dominating the discussion: Do not dominate the discussion by talking too much or not letting others speak.
  3. Personal attacks: Avoid personal attacks or criticizing others’ opinions.
  4. Disrespectful behavior: Do not display disrespectful behavior towards other participants.

Limitation of a Group Discussion

  1. Time constraints: The time allotted for group discussion is limited, which may not be enough for all participants to express their views.
  2. Dominance of individuals: Some individuals may dominate the discussion, which can lead to a biased outcome.
  3. Lack of preparation: Participants may not be adequately prepared for the discussion, which can result in unproductive conversations.
  4. Language barriers: Participants who are not fluent in the language of the discussion may have difficulty expressing their views.

In conclusion, group discussion is an effective method of exchanging ideas and opinions among a group of individuals. Following the guidelines, do’s, and don’ts mentioned above can ensure a productive and efficient discussion. However, it is important to be aware of the limitations of group discussion and take steps to overcome them.

FAQ related to Group Discussion

  1. What is Group Discussion?

    Group discussion, commonly known as GD, is an effective method of exchanging ideas and opinions among a group of individuals on a specific topic or subject. It is often used as an evaluation tool by various organizations, educational institutions, and competitive exams to assess a candidate’s ability to communicate, express their views, and engage in a group setting. In this article, we will discuss the guidelines, do’s, don’ts, and limitations of group discussions.

  2. What are the 3 C’s of group discussion?

    The three “Cs” which rank you high on this parameter are clarity (the main points to be discussed), content (the vertical depth in each point) and confidence.

  3. Can we interrupt in group discussion?

    The best time to interrupt a conversation is when the person in front of you completes what they are saying. In practice, the speaker may be able to express himself better, and while he is still holding on, he will continue to elaborate.

  4. Why is group discussion important?

    Group discussions promote a deeper understanding of a topic and increase long-term retention. Group discussions can also help increase participants’ attention and help maintain their focus by involving them in the learning process. Group discussions can also provide feedback to instructors on participant comprehension.

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