We all lead busy lives everyday. We run against time to pursue our objectives and our goals every time. We heat up our system and will get stressed in this process. But, A chat with all of our friends/family will take some steam off. What is more exciting than a lively discussion with them over a nice lunch/snacks? The topics are limitless, From a Puppy which became an Internet sensation overnight to Vladimir Putin’s secrets. But what you failed to notice is that you are taking part in a Group discussion. And Yes, thinking like that will change your whole perspective about them. Like a GD during interviews, You argue a lot, you support, you oppose and you can even bring a change in others views. Think of it. You are great at GDs.
But, some of the common questions that arises are, How is a professional GD different? Why do many people say that GD is difficult?
Setting aside the definition of GD as a “Simulated exercise where views and ideas are exchanged that are essential for Decision making or Problem solving”, GD is simply a place to interact with people but with an intended output that can be useful. This is the main difference between GD and your personal discussions. You chats and meetings with your friends does not have a goal to be satisfied at the end of discussion. But GD does.
GD is the crucial part of personal evaluation. It tells almost everything about a person-his views, his words,his character, his behavior, everything. So, GD is not an Oral game, it is a Mental game. GD is not that something you can ace by saying fancy words and telling everything you know. It all depends on your strategy.
Key points that are considered
Before you know how to crack GD, first you must have an initial look on the key points that you must bear in mind.
- Personal introduction
- Verbal communication
- Body language
- Eye contact
- Opening statement
These key points will be evaluated in GD. Every key point must be considered before you prepare for GD as each and every point reveals a part of you.
GD is all about the mental game you play. In GD, there will be most probably two types.
- A topic is given and is asked to discuss the same
- A case study is given and a solution must be arrived at by discussion
While the former focuses on your ability to put up some good points along with raising some logical and meaningful counterpoints, the later one is more focused on your ability to direct the problem towards solution and how much you have contributed to the solution.
These two types must have their own ways of strategies but here are some common things to follow while you are in a GD to crack it.
And this is where the analogy at the beginning helps. Think of GD more of a daily activity. You are a Grandmaster at this. You convince your father to buy you something, you manipulate your nemesis to do something that may teach him a lesson, you provide knowledge to your friends by throwing light on the truths and facts of a burning issue. That’s it. That is what you need to do in a GD.
“Convince, Manipulate and Be Informative.”
Fear will not be Dear – Fear and stress is the most common thing for an Aspirant in a GD. The over competitive environment, Battle of words, professional way of devising plans for verbal domination, GD is very much like a War but rather done by sitting, no violence and at the same professionally. This situation is what causes the excessive stress and fear and this is where you will lose the GD. No matter how hard you focus, fear smokescreens your efforts and your confidence just fades in comparison. This can be avoided if you indulge yourselves in GDs more, participation in mock GDs prove to be helpful. The more you fear, the more the number of mistakes you make. Just remember everyone around you is facing the same situation and make yourself comfortable.
Mind notes for the topic
As soon as a topic is given, First understand clearly the topic. This may seem silly, but many lose at this part. The mistake will cost more if you initiate it. Anyway, after understanding the topic, do cross reference with the topic with some common perspectives. It may include determining the topic standing in Political, Economical, Cultural, Social etc. multiple perspectives. This will enable you to know about the topic more. The next time a person points out the advantages of a topic, remind them how it lags behind economically. These mind notes will help you to know more about the topic and will aid you in your further points or counterpoints.
Starting the Topic
After having quick notes on the topic in your mind, you have to decide whether to start the GD or not. This is where most of the people make mistake. Generally, they think that starting the topic will display the confidence and leadership of a person and thus giving him an edge over others. It may not be true every time. It all depends on what you speak. You may risk your score if you started first and talked about the topic in the wrong direction. Instead of giving you a positive outcome you will face the serious consequences. So, speak only if you are ready enough with the suitable material to start the topic. If you followed the previous advice and took some mind notes, you will have a head start that will be invaluable for your score.
Difference between discussion and argument
As soon as the GD reaches its full sway and in this critical time, everyone wants to prove their might. As this is the crucial time for scoring, everyone tries to rub their opinions and knowledge on others. This leads to a situation where people argue instead of discussing. The main difference between these two is – While Argument is an exchange of ignorance, Discussion is an exchange of Knowledge. This simple logic is ignored by the participants as they get lost in the mayhem they created due to arguing as a result of their egos. If you ever find yourself in this situation, you must try to calm down the situation by discussion(not arguing) what’s important. This will help you to get good remarks from the moderator.
Alertness and presence of mind
“Every Good conversation starts with Good listening”. This is what you need to strictly follow during a GD. To be a good listener, you need to continuously pay attention to everyone’s points and maintain a good presence of mind. This will enable you to use and refer any point any person makes to use for your own talk.
Thinking Out of the Box
Don’t reach a bland conclusion for everything that comes into your mind. Try to think in an unconventional way or popularly called as Out-of-box thinking. Thinking different sometimes will benefit you to come up with solutions that cannot be reached otherwise.
Maintain a good stance
You need to maintain calm nature during GD. Calm in this context maintaining cool but not maintaining silence. And be aggressive not in your words but your trials to grab a chance for putting forward your point. This doesn’t mean that you must interrupt others to declare your view but you must try to be active and alert so that you can smoothly cut into with smooth transitions. The main thing of a good stance is as said before be a good listener and let other speak. Don’t be passive, but maintain an active profile throughout the GD.
Reiterate Ideas but don’t Repeat
Sometimes while we speak we come up with great ideas and we will immediately include them. But sometimes those ideas will appear when others are speaking and before you say them out others will speak out the same ideas. This can be tackled by reiterating the ideas without repeating them. Reiterate means telling the same idea again with some supporting statements and examples along with the addition of new points to it. Repeating on other hand is telling the same idea again without changing a bit. There’s the difference. So, the next time you face this situation, Reiterate. Because repeating ideas will result in reduced scores.
Maintain a friendly but competitive aura. Maintaining eye contact with speakers will reflect your confidence and seriousness. Your voice must be firm and no use of bad language must be practiced. Sit in a formal way with a good posture as that speaks out your seriousness and attention towards GD. Always maintain a positive attitude for things, speak sensibly and dress formally.
PREPARING FOR GD TOPICS
- A thorough read of Newspapers
- Having a single glance at important magazines
- Keep up to date with current affairs using Yearbooks like Manorama
- Check trending issues in social media
- Check News channels and focus on the discussion that takes place on potential issues
- Read standard and important topics on online websites like Indiabix. Career ride etc.
Always indulge yourselves in casual discussions with family and friends and participate in mock GDs whenever you can. Remember, “Success is where preparation and opportunity meet”. You have the opportunity of getting into a B-school possible by cracking GD and the only thing missing is Preparation. So, start PREPARING and stop worrying.