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!

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