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What is Group Discussion? - BBA-110 - Business Communication #ggsipu #ipumusings #bba-semester-2

What is Group Discussion?
BBA-110 - Business Communication 

What is Group Discussion? - BBA-110 - Business Communication #ggsipu #ipumusings #bba-semester-2

Question: What is Group Discussion?


Group Discussion:

Group Discussion is a method used in the corporate world to measure certain personality traits and/or skills that an organization may look for in candidates. It allows a group to exchange thoughts and ideas among themselves. GD helps the organization get an idea about candidates in a short time and assess those skills, which normally cannot be evaluated in an interview.

Question: What are the focus areas of a Group Discussion (GD)?

AnswerThe focus of a GD is thus on

1. Verbal communicative ability

2. Non-verbal cues

3. Leadership skills

4. Persuasive skills

Verbal Communicative Ability:

This includes good knowledge of the subject at hand and the power to communicate it in an effective manner. Nothing can compensate for in-depth knowledge of the subject, though it is a herculean task to keep oneself up-to-date on all possible topics. A good reading habit with a focus on various areas like finance, management, politics, society, science, technology, sports, entertainment, etc. can help in building confidence to express one‘s views on a particular topic.

While a positive impact can be created by talking forcefully and convincingly on a subject, this is possible only when the candidate has enough knowledge of the subject under discussion.

Clarity of thought and precision of expression are preferred to verbosity and irrelevant talk. One should speak as much as is necessary, neither more nor less. The language must be formal, plain and simple; pedantry and jargon must be avoided. Slang, informal expressions, etc. should also be avoided.

Appraisers also look for the ability to listen: the candidate‘s ability to react to the opinions of other participants. Hence, it is necessary to listen carefully to others and then react or proceed to add some more points.

Non-Verbal Cues:

Non-verbal cues are equally important. The importance of non-verbal cues has already been discussed in the previous chapter on non-verbal communication. The evaluator will scrutinize the body language, eye contact, etc. of the candidates. It is therefore essential to maintain a good rapport with fellow participants. Non-verbal gestures, such as listening intently or nodding while appreciating someone‘s viewpoint, send across a positive message. Listening carefully can be a way of encouraging other speakers and exhibiting leadership skills as well. Participants must communicate with each and every candidate present. While speaking one must not look at only a single member, and especially not at the evaluator. Body language says a lot about the individual - one‘s gestures and mannerisms are more likely to reflect one‘s attitude than what one says.

Leadership Skills:

The aim of a group discussion is also to judge a candidate‘s leadership qualities. The evaluator recedes into the background once the discussion starts. The evaluator‘s attention is on the candidates and the manner in which they display tact, skill, understanding and leadership qualities to motivate and influence other candidates.

Persuasive Skills: 

The evaluator also looks at the manner in which a candidate convinces the other members of the group and the clarity with which the candidate expresses his/her point of view. The candidate should therefore be articulate, generate ideas, not sound boring, allow others to speak, and have the ability to adopt a stand on a given subject. During the GD this stand can be altered slightly to accommodate others‘ viewpoints. Even when disagreeing with another candidate, the disagreement must be expressed politely.

Question: Explain the GD Process.


The GD Process:

A GD generally consists of three parts: 

  • the initiation, 
  • the body of the GD, and 
  • summarization/conclusion.

Initiation: The candidate initiating a GD not only gets the opportunity to speak first but also grabs the attention of the evaluator and his/her fellow candidates. It helps if the candidate can make a favourable first impression with his/her content and communication skills in initiating a GD. However, if a candidate initiates a GD and falters, it might dent his/her chances of making a favourable impression on the evaluator.

If the candidate initiates the GD clearly but remains quiet after that, s/he will end up giving the impression that s/he started the GD only for the sake of starting it or getting those initial brownie points awarded to an initiator. It is the initiator‘s responsibility to put the topic into the right perspective or framework. So it is better to initiate a GD only if one has in-depth knowledge about the topic being discussed. If one is not sure of the topic at hand, it is better to listen carefully to the views being expressed by others and then speak. One should not be in a hurry to express one‘s opinion.

The Body of Discussion: This is the main part of the GD where all the members of the group express their opinions on the topic. Candidates must restrict themselves to conveying their viewpoints and not use the GD as a contest to run down other arguments. Candidates can politely agree, disagree or choose to remain neutral. A speaker should never be interrupted while speaking. Speaking out of turn and cutting others short create a negative impression. Too much aggression can put off prospective employers. While speaking, the entire group must be addressed so that everyone is attentive towards what is being said. The focus should never be on the evaluator. To emphasize the content, relevant proverbs, quotes, definitions, facts and figures, statistics, etc. may be used. While using figures or statistics, it must be remembered that macro figures may be generalized, while micro figures must be specific.

Summarization / Conclusion: A conclusion is where the whole group decides in favour or against the topic. Generally, a GD does not have a conclusion. But the discussion is always summarized. One of the candidates is invited to summarize the discussion. This signals the end of the GD.

The candidate must summarize all that the group has discussed. The following can be kept in mind while summarizing a GD:

1. The summary must be brief and succinct.

2. All important points discussed must be included.

3. The focus must not be on the points made by the presenter, alone.

4. No new points must be stated here.