17 July 2008

Group Discussion – The Process

In my last post I threw some light on the importance of a Group Discussion (Henceforth referred to as GD), in this one I will try and explain what the process is all about.

The group discussion normally follows the procedure given below:

1. Number of candidates / participants
Normally there are 4/8 or 15/20 candidates participants in a group discussion at a time.

2. Assignment of serial numbers
As soon as candidates assemble for a group discussion, they are assigned different serial numbers, viz. 1, 2, 3, and 4. Afterwards they are to be addressed as Mr. NO.1 or NO.2 and not by name.

3. Wearing the number tag

In a group discussion, candidates have to wear a number tag all the time. The examiner, who is in the background, notes down the points from the tag numbers without writing the name of the 'candidates. Therefore, it is essential that every candidate properly displays the number of his tag all the time.

4. Initiation of the discussion

The candidates are instructed not to disclose their names or speak in any other language except the one prescribed for the discussion, which is mostly English. However, in some places Hindi has also been included. The examiner or the testing officer does not decide who should speak first and how much time each candidate should take.

5. Sitting arrangement

The members of the group are generally seated around a table in a semicircle so that they face each other for discussion, and the testing officer is able to watch them from the background.

6. Selection of topics

In some cases, the candidates themselves select the topic they wish to discuss. However, the examiner may also give two or three topics for discussion and the members of the group are required to select anyone for discussion.

7. Examiner's role
As soon as the discussion starts, the examiner goes into the background; leaving the candidates free to carry on the discussion. He then takes notes to assess the personality and group behavior of the members without making his presence felt by the group.

8. The group leader

Normally, no one is appointed as a group leader, chairman or president by the examiner. The candidate endowed with natural leadership qualities will automatically emerge as a leader and assume the leadership of the group on his own. Such a gifted candidate will be able to carry the group with him despite the competition he may face from other participants. The group testing officer or examiner, who has considerable experience, is able to spot leadership qualities and observe the candidates in action in order to assess their personality traits.

9. Type of topics
Generally at least two subjects are announced by the examiner or group testing officer. The topics for discussion may vary from light-hearted topics such as "Love marriages v. arranged marriages", to serious topics such as " population explosion" or "India's defence or economic policies". There may be topics on current affairs or news items like the Kashmir problem or the current situation of deciding the fate of the Nuclear Deal with the USA.
If the candidates themselves cannot come, to an agreement regarding selection of a particular topic for discussion, the examiner either selects the topic for them or invites their views and then decides the topic.

14 July 2008

Group Discussions

There can be two types of Group Discussions. One Type would be within a group and the other would be between two different groups. The second type is used for Conflict Management and Negotiations. We will not get into that type of discussion here but concentrate on the former type. This is what a student is more likely to face at various levels of his education till he eventually lands a job.

The scariest and perhaps most rewarding part of any selection process. It is not just a test of your Spoken Skills but also of your Attitude, Opinions and Personality as a whole. Due to its nature it has been accurately dubbed as the “Rejection Tool”. It is the single tool which allows the selectors to weed out unwanted applicants before the final Interviews. The Interviews we will get into in a later post. For now let’s say you gave a written exam and cleared it. You were called for counseling and now suddenly you are in the middle of the group being told to have a discussion.

It will help you if you remember what is being measured by the selectors so try and understand these points.

1. Ability to express self in a clear, concise, coherent, systematic, logical, tactful and effective manner is measured.

2. It also helps in assessing behavior in the group leadership & follower qualities, team spirit, group cohesiveness and also whether you can convince others about what you think is right or can agree to disagree.

3. Whether you have self-confidence, a cool temperament, are polite, courteous, sensitive, assertive, speak with conviction, body language conveys self assurance and have an alert mind.

In short you are on display with all your faults and faculties and it is up to you to make a good impression on the assessors. Tall order and to fulfill it you need to prepare for it long before you get to the venue. Training one-self for a group discussion cannot be compressed into a few days' course. It takes time to develop certain traits, mannerisms and a pleasant and effective way of speaking.

The best way to learn to speak in group discussions is to get together with your class-mates and start discussing a topic. Ask them to give their views and you give your views. Organize a small discussion group and discuss current topics or any other news item in it. There is no short-term course for achieving success in a group discussion and you can only-learn with experience. So start practicing as early as possible. May success be yours!

12 July 2008

Plurals Galore

One of the most puzzling parts of English vocabulary is how to make plurals out of nouns. Here's a post to simplify that.

The English language has both regular and irregular plural forms of nouns.

Regular Nouns:

1. The most common case is when you need to add -s to the noun.
For example one car and two cars.

2. Other nouns that end with s, x, ch or sh, where you add es
For example one box, two boxes

3. Some nouns that end with consonant y, where you change the y to i and add -es
For example one enemy, two enemies

Irregular Nouns:

1. The nouns that end with o, where you add -es
For example one potato, two potatoes

2. The nouns ending with is, where you change -is to -es
For example one crisis, two crises

3. The nouns ending with f, where you change f to v and add –ves
For example one wolf, two wolves

4. The nouns ending with fe, where you change -f to -v and add -s
For example one life, two lives

5. The nouns ending with us, where you change -us to -i
For example one fungus, two fungi

6. The nouns that contain oo, change -oo to -ee
For example one foot, two feet

7. The nouns that end with on, where you change -on with –a
For example phenomenon, phenomena

8. The nouns that don’t change. In fact it is the content that decides if it is being used in the singular or plural form.
For example sheep, offspring, series

Once you master these simple rules you will drastically improve your English Writing Skills.

11 July 2008

Here's a few Questions for Debate

Why does the sun lighten our hair, but darken our skin?
Why can't women put on mascara with their mouth closed?
Why doesn't glue stick to the inside of the bottle?
Why don't you ever see the headline 'Psychic Wins Lottery'?
Why is abbreviated such a long word?
Why is a boxing ring square?
Why is it considered necessary to nail down the lid of a coffin?
Why is it that doctors call what they do practice?
Why is it that to stop Windows 98, you have to click on Start?
Why is it that when you're driving and looking for an address, you turn down the volume on the radio?
Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker?
Why is the third hand on the watch called a second hand?
Why is the time of day when traffic is slowest called rush hour?
What do you call a male ladybug?
Why do they sterilize the needle for lethal injections?
Why isn't phonetic spelled the way it sounds?
Why don't they make the whole plane out of the same material that the indestructible black box is made of?
If a firefighter fights fire and a crime fighter fights crime, what does a freedom fighter fight?
Why are they called apartments when they are all stuck together?
If con is the opposite of pro, is Congress the opposite of progress?
If flying is so safe, why do they call the airport the 'terminal'?
How is it possible to have a 'civil' war?
If one synchronized swimmer drowns, do the rest drown too?
If you try to fail, and succeed, have you failed or succeeded?
Whose cruel idea was it for the word "Lisp" to have an "S" in it?
Why do toasters always have a setting that burns toast to a horrible crisp, which no decent human being would ever eat?
Why does Goofy stand erect while Pluto remains on all fours? They're both dogs!
What do you call male ballerinas?
Can blind people see their dreams?
If electricity comes from electrons, does morality come from morons?
If a word is mis - spelt in the dictionary, how would we ever know?
If Webster wrote the first dictionary, where did he find the words?
Why does "fat chance" and "slim chance" mean the same thing?
Why is it called "after dark" when it really is "after light"?
Doesn't "expecting the unexpected" make the unexpected expected?
Why are a "wise man" and a "wise guy" opposites?
If all the world is a stage, where is the audience sitting?
Why do you press harder on the buttons of a remote control when you know the batteries are dead?
Why do we wash bath towels? Aren't we clean when we use them?
Why do they call it a TV set when you only have one?
Can you cry under water?
How important does a person have to be before they are considered assassinated instead of just murdered?
Why does a round pizza come in a square box?
Why are you IN a movie, but you're ON TV?
Why do people pay to go up tall buildings & then put money in binoculars to look at things on the ground?
How come we choose from just two people for Prime Minister and fifty for Miss India?

02 July 2008

Traveling Woes

All these people making a noise about making Airlines more responsible in India have got themselves one more supporter. I never thought that I would be so het up about the shabby treatment of passengers but I am, and with good reason.

My Mother and Grandmother had to fly to Nagpur from Delhi recently. My Grandma is in her 80s and can’t walk around too much. She just about manages to shuffle around from one room to the other in the house. She also suffers from Odema (swelling up of the feet due to water retention) and tends to get cramps in her feet. All contributing reasons for getting from Ambala to Nagpur as quickly as possible. As a train journey was out of the question the only option was the flight.

They booked their tickets on the net to get the best fares possible. Then drove down from Ambala the night previous and got ready to go to the Airport after tele checking in. They made a request for a wheelchair at the airport and the front seats in the economy class next to the aircraft door. They were expecting to pay a fare hike attributed to fuel surcharge and they were not disappointed. Why should the Airline absorb the cost and cut into its profits?!

The wheel chair was available and so my granny thankfully sank into it and allowed herself to be led to the aircraft. Getting up into the Aircraft was yet another monumental task well achieved. The crew was attentive and responded well to their requests. The problem was that the flight happened to be a hopping flight via Raipur. So my poor maters had to wait an hour there and eventually the cramps did set in. Totally defeating the purpose of a quick and painless trip.

If only the airline had specified that it was a hopping flight they would not have taken it. They only realized that it would stop in Raipur after the pre-flight announcements were made once they were settled in. I do feel that a lot of things could have been done differently to let my Grandma have a better trip. Thankfully she is now well settled in Nagpur and over the ordeal.

01 July 2008

Principles of Reiki

Just for today,
1. I will live in the attitude of gratitude.
2. I will not fear or worry.
3. I will not anger.
4. I will do any work honestly.
5. I will be kind to everyone and everything.

These were the principles devised by Dr Mikao Usui for not wasting the energy given by Reiki.