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Some of the approaches that will help you generate points in a GD are: Key Word Approach In any GD topic,

there will be keywords that are loaded with meaning and open to interpretation. You should use these words to derive points to discuss. Viewpoints of Affected Parties The group should look at the pros and cons of the topic, and try to bring forth their views on the parties which would probably be affected by any decision (adverse or otherwise) taken. Socio-cultural, Political, Economic, Legal, and Technological angles to the given topic Students should analyze a given topic using multiple angles. Students should bear in mind that it may not be possible to use each of the above mentioned approaches in isolation for every topic. They should try using a combination of approaches in order to generate the maximum number of points that they can use effectively in a Group Discussion. How to prepare Taking it as it comes is certainly not the right approach towards something as critical as a GD. If you wait till you get a call, you will not be left with any time to prepare at all. You need to understand that most students would have started their GD preparation already. By clearing the written test, you have cleared just one hurdle. From now on, the competition becomes stiffer, as each student who receives a call is as motivated as you to get into a top B-School.

To improve your knowledge, read a general newspaper and a business newspaper everyday to keep abreast of current events and business- related news. You should also make it a point to read one general magazine and one business magazine to supplement newspaper reading. In the different articles that you read, concentrate on the core part of the issue rather than dwelling on its superficial aspects. Make regular notes on each article you read and try to convert them into points. This will help you remember them better. Always make it a point to read articles that

cover a range of issues to increase your knowledge on a wide variety of topics. Avoid sticking to articles whose core issues you are already comfortable with. If you are not doing this already, get cracking immediately! Types of GD GDs can be topic-based or case-based. Topic based GDs can be classified into three types:

Factual Topics Controversial Topics Abstract Topics

Factual Topics Factual topics are about practical things, which an ordinary person is aware of in his day-to-day life. Typically these are about socio-economic topics. These can be current, i.e. they may have been in the news lately, or could be unbound by time. A factual topic for discussion gives a candidate a chance to prove that he is aware of and sensitive to his environment. E.g. Democracy is a luxury in India, Indian Railways, State of the aged in the nation. Controversial Topics Controversial topics are the ones that are argumentative in nature. They are meant to generate controversy. In GDs where these topics are given for discussion, the noise level is usually high, there may be tempers flying. The idea behind giving a topic like this is to see how much maturity the candidate is displaying by keeping his temper in check, by rationally and logically arguing his point of view without getting personal and emotional. E.g. Reservations should be removed, GDs as a means of selection by the IIMs are a farce, Women make better managers, Relegion & Politics. Abstract Topics Abstract topics are about intangible things. These topics are not given often for discussion, but their possibility cannot be ruled out. These topics test your lateral thinking and creativity. E.g. When red meets red, Twinkle twinkle little star, Virtue has its own reward, The number 1.

Case-based GD Another variation is the use of a case instead of a topic. The case study tries to simulate a real-life situation. Information about the situation will be given to you and you would be asked as a group to resolve the situation. In the case study there are no incorrect answers or perfect solutions. The objective in the case study is to get you to think about the situation from various angles. IIM A, IIM Indore and IIT SOM Mumbai have a case-based discussion rather than topic-based discussion in their selection procedures. Points to Remember in a GD

Knowledge is strength. A candidate with good reading habits has more chances of success. In other words, sound knowledge on different topics like politics, finance, economy, science and technology is helpful. Power to convince effectively is another quality that makes you stand out among others. Clarity in speech and expression is yet another essential quality. If you are not sure about the topic of discussion, it is better not to initiate. Lack of knowledge or wrong approach creates a bad impression. Instead, you might adopt the wait and watch attitude. Listen attentively to others, may be you would be able to come up with a point or two later. A GD is a formal occasion where slang is to avoided. A GD is not a debating stage. Participants should confine themselves to expressing their viewpoints. In the second part of the discussion candidates can exercise their choice in agreeing, disagreeing or remaining neutral. Language use should be simple, direct and straight forward. Dont interrupt a speaker when the session is on. Try to score by increasing your size, not by cutting others short. Maintain rapport with fellow participants. Eye contact plays a major role. Non-verbal gestures, such as listening intently or nodding while appreciating someones viewpoint speak of you positively. Communicate with each and every candidate present. While speaking dont keep looking at a single member. Address the entire group in such a way that everyone feels you are speaking to him or her.

Facts Of India Some Facts n Figures related to India to give you an edge in the GD !! As of the late 1990s, India had the highest number of births annually of all nations. Its 25 million births a year are roughly equal in number to the population of California. Given the current population growth rates, India will overtake China as the worlds most populous country by 2045. Source: United Nations During the first half of 1999, 46% of U.S. H1-B visas for highly-skilled temporary workers were awarded to Indian software engineers. Source: Morgan Stanley Dean Witter By 2016, India which is a little more than a third of the size of the United States is likely to be home to more people than all of Europe and the rest of the industrial world, excluding Russia. Source: United Nations As of 1999, Indias government spent about 2.5% of its GDP annually for military purposes but only 0.7% on health care, including family planning initiatives. Source: Washington Post With a population of 950 million, India receives about $2 billion a year in foreign direct investment. That is about the same amount as South Carolina, which has a population of only 3.5 million. Source: Prosperity At the end of 1998, about 26,360 public companies were listed on stock exchanges in emerging markets roughly three times the number in 1989. As many as 5,860 of them or 22% of the total were firms based in India. Source: International Finance Corporation Between 1965 and 1995, Southeast Asias per capita GDP doubled from 10% of the U.S. level to 21%. During the same period, Indias per capita GDP barely increased from 7% of U.S. GDP to 8%. Source: Foreign Affairs

Despite several years of relatively strong economic growth, the number of abjectly poor in India those living on less than $1 a day increased from 300 million in the 1980s to 340 million in 1997. Source: World Bank In India, nearly 340 million children are under 15 years of age. Of those, an estimated 53% are underweight and undernourished. Source: Worldwatch Institute Each year, Indian universities produce more than 120,000 graduates with degrees in engineering almost double the 63,000 engineering graduates from U.S. schools. Source: Business Week Indias exports of computer software increased from $150 million in 1991 to $2.7 billion in 1998 with most of those exports bound for the United States. Source: New York Times In 1999, there were more than 600 Indian-based companies employing over 280,000 computer engineers involved in exporting software or software services. Source: New York Times As of 1999, three of Indias five wealthiest people were first generation software entrepreneurs. Source: Financial Times By the late 1990s, Indian immigrants along with immigrants from China led nearly a third of all new technology firms started in Californias Silicon Valley. Source: Financial Times Of the major groups of U.S. immigrants, Indians 29% of whom have graduate or professional degrees have the least proportion of welfare dependence. Source: Economist India, which holds regular democratic elections, has about 600 million eligible voters. With voter participation around 60%, India casts as many votes in a national election as have been cast in the four most recent U.S. presidential election. Source: Transatlantic Futures

Interesting to know!! Some Interesting Facts, might give you an edge over others in a GD !! There are 3.22 Million Indians in America 38% of Doctors in America are Indians. 12% of Scientists in America are Indians. 36% of NASA employees are Indians. 34% of MICROSOFT employees are Indians 28% of IBM employees are Indians 17% of INTEL employees are Indians 13% of XEROX employees are Indians 23% of Indian Community in America is having Green-Card India never invaded any country in her last 10000 years of history. India invented the Number System. Aryabhatta invented zero. The Worlds first university was established in Takshila in 700BC. More than 10,500 students from all over the world studies more than 60 subjects. The University of Nalanda built in the 4th century BC was one of the greatest achievements of ancient India in the field of education. Sanskrit is the mother of all the European languages. Sanskrit is the most suitable language for computer software - a report in Forbes magazine, July 19877. Ayurveda is the earliest school of medicine known to humans. Charaka, the father of medicine consolidated Ayurveda 2500 years ago. Today Ayurveda is fast regaining its rightful place in our civilization. Although modern images of India often show poverty and lack of development, India was the richest country on earth until the time of British invasion in the early 17th Century. The art of Navigation was born in the river Sindh 6000 years ago.

The very word Navigation is derived from the Sanskrit word NAVGATIH. The word navy is also derived from Sanskrit Nou. Bhaskaracharya calculated the time taken by the earth to orbit the sun hundreds of years before the astronomer Smart. Time taken by earth to orbit the sun: (5th century)365.258756484 days. The value of pi was first calculated by Budhayana, and he explained the concept of what is known as the Pythagorean Theorem. He discovered this in the 6th century long before the European mathematicians. Algebra, trigonometry and calculus came from India. Quadratic equations were by Sridharacharya in the 11th century. The largest numbers the Greeks and the Romans used were 106 whereas Hindus used numbers as big as 1053(10 to the power of (53) with specific names as early as 5000 BCE during the Vedic period. Even today, the largest used number is Tera 1012(10 to the power of 12). According to the Gemological Institute of America, up until 1896, India was the only source for diamonds to the world. USA based IEEE has proved what has been a century old suspicion in the world scientific community that the pioneer of wireless communication was Prof. Jagdeesh Bose and not Marconi. The earliest reservoir and dam for irrigation was built in Saurashtra. According to Saka King Rudradaman I of 150 CE a beautiful lake called Sudarshana was constructed on the hills of Raivataka during Chandragupta Mauryas time. Chess (Shataranja or AshtaPada) was invented in India. Sushruta is the father of surgery. 2600 years ago he and health scientists of his time conducted complicated surgeries like cesareans, cataract, artificial limbs, fractures, urinary stones and even plastic surgery and brain surgery. Usage of anesthesia was well known in ancient India. Over 125 surgical equipment were used. Deep knowledge of anatomy, physiology, etiology, embryology, digestion, metabolism, genetics and immunity is also found in many texts. When many cultures were only nomadic forest dwellers over 5000 years ago, Indians established Harappan culture in Sindhu valley(Indus Valley Civilization) The place value system, the decimal system was developed in India in 100 BC. Kharagpur railway station has the worlds longest railway platform. India ranks first in mango production.

The Manali-Leh Road has the worlds highest bridge. India ranks 1st in milk production. The Banyan tree at the botanical Gardens, Calcutta, provides the largest canopy - 1.2 hectares. India ranks 1st in raw sugar production. India ranks 1st in tea production. India is the Worlds largest producer of mica blocks and splits. India has the worlds largest postal network. Indian Railways is the worlds single largest employer. Every 3rd technical person in the world is an Indian The highest motor able road in the world is the Khardung-La Nightingale Lata Mangeshkar has recorded the maximum number of songs - 30,000 songs in 20 different languages. India ranks 1st in jute production India produces the maximum number of movies in the world. India has the worlds largest rail network. Health Some Health related Facts n Figures to give you an edge in the GD !! Average Life Expectancy = 62.8 years (1995-2000 projection) Average Life Expectancy (Male) = 62.6 years (1995-2000 projection) Average Life Expectancy (Female) = 62.9 years (1995-2000 projection) Maternal Mortality = 450 per 100,000 live births (1986) Infant Mortality = 72 per 1,000 live births (1995-2000 projection) Doctors = 4 per 10,000 population (1993) Hospital Beds = 9 per 10,000 population (1992)

Average annual calorie intake of an Indian = 2415 calories Average annual calorie intake of a citizen of developed country = 3800 calories Life expectancy of an Indian = 63 years Life expectancy of a citizen of developed country = 77 years Infant mortality rate = 7.2% Death rate = 0.9% Birth rate = 2.7% Maternal mortality rate = 0.57% Govt. expenditure on health = Rs. 65,000 crore (4% of GDP)(2% Public 2% Private) Expenditure on health in developed countries on average = 12% of their GDP Number of smokers in India = 27 crore 53% of the total male population smokes a cigarette 4% of the total female population smokes a cigarette 12% of Indian population suffers from water-borne diseases Ratio of doctor:patient in rural India = 1:3,00,000 Ratio of doctor:patient in urban India = 1:30,000 40% of Indian households dont have access to safe drinking water at home 60% of Indians households dont have access to basic sanitation facilities Geography Some Geography related Facts n Figures to give you an edge in the GD!! India, which forms a natural subcontinent, is bordered by China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the north; Pakistan to the northwest; and Myanmar to the northeast, with Sri Lanka lying just off the nations southern tip. It also has coastlines on the Bay of Bengal to the east, the Arabian Sea to the west, and the Indian Ocean to the south. Indian territory almost completely surrounds Bangladesh. Dominates South Asian subcontinent; near important Indian Ocean trade routes

Land Borders: 8,764 miles Coastline: 4,350 miles Capital: New Delhi Area: 1,269,219 sq. miles. (Area includes Sikkim and the Indian portion of Jammu and Kashmir state.) Elevation extremes: Lowest point : Indian Ocean 0 m Highest point: Kanchenjunga 8,598 m Land Used Cropland- 57.1% Permanent pasture- 3.8% Forests and woodland- 23.0% Others- 16.1% Arable Land 57% Arable Land Per Capita 0.5 acre(s) Irrigated land: 480,000 sq km (1993 est.) Environment Some Facts n Figures related to our environment to give you an edge in the GD !! Forest area of India = 6,50,000 sq km (19% of total area) Annual rate of deforestation = 72 sq km Annual emission of carbon dioxide > 1000 metric tonnes Weight of water pollutants dumped daily = 25 lakh kg Delhi is the third most polluted city in the world

Threatened plant species = 1300 Threatened bird species = 75 Threatened Mammal species = 40 Maximum tolerable noise db level = 40 db In heavy industries the noise db level = 80 db Pollutants Chloro-Flouro-Carbons (CFCs) - Banned Carbon Monoxide & Dioxide Sulphur Dioxide & Nitrogen Dioxide Suspended Particle Matter (SPM) such as black smoke, lead etc. Energy Some Facts n Figures related to Energy to give you an edge in the GD !! Electric Power Generation 314,000,000,000 kWh.; kWh. per capita: 314 (1993). Generating Capacity 81,200,000 kW. (1993) Nuclear Power Plants and Output 9 power plants; total output: 1,620 MWe. (1995). Crude Oil Production 32,268,000 metric tons; 236,524,400 barrels (1996). Natural Gas Production 713,400 terajoules; 64,136,800 cubic feet (1996).

Education Some Facts n Figures related to Education to give you an edge in the GD !! 581,305 primary schools with 109,043,663 students 163,605 middle schools with 40,287,840 students 68,065 secondary schools with 16,326,665 students 21,125 higher secondary schools with 5,477,730 students 8,407 colleges and universities with 5,001,000 students Literacy rate as per 1991 census = 52% Male literacy rate = 64 % Female literacy rate = 39% Literacy rate as per National Survey 1997 = 62% Literacy rate of developed countries = 95% + Literacy rate of India in 1950 = 20% Percentage of male children deprived of basic schooling = 50% Percentage of female children deprived of basic schooling = 67% Govt. expenditure on education = Rs. 60,000 crore (4% of GDP) Govt. expenditure on elementary education = Rs. 38,000 crore (2.5 % of GDP) States & UTs leading in literacy are Mizoram, Kerala, Lakshwadeep Islands, Andaman & Nicobar Islands (above 90%) States backward in literacy are Bihar & Rajasthan (38%), UP (41%) List of some Important GD Topics. Premarital sex. Role of UN in peacekeeping. Effect of cinema on Youth.

Environment Management. Is China better than India in software. Should Sonia Gandhi be made the PM. BPOs in INDIA. Govt contribution to IT. Will punch lines rule the Advt. US war on Iraq-justified or not. Is China a threat to Indian industry. India or West , which is the land of opportunities. Water resources should be nationalised. Balance between professionalism and family Position of Women in India compared to other nations. Education in India compared to Foreign nations. Is it necessary to ban COCOCOLA in India. What is the effect of movies on youth.(is it good or bad) Are studies more benifitial in India or in Abroad. UNs peace activities and Americas war on Iraq. Environment-Whose Responisibility. Is China a threat to the indian software industry. War on Iraq. About Hockey being the primary game in India. Can America occupy Iraq. Cricket should be banned or not.

Present state of Indian Cricket team. Love marriage/Arranged marriage. Advantages of Co-education. Hot GD Topics 1.How to deal with international terrorism. 2.Should we pursue our policy of dialogue with Pakistan? 3.Is peace and non-violence outdated concepts? 4.Are Mobile Phones Boon or Bane? 5.Love Marriage vs Arranged Marriage Subject wise GD Topics In some GDs - a subjective topic is preferred over others. This list contains some of these topics categorized under different heads. Political Should Indian Railways be privatized Impact of Globalization on India Indias Security Concern Liberalization of Insurance Sector: Pros and Cons Appropriateness of reservation policy in India Public Sector Disinvestment Privatization is the need of the hour in Indian Industry The USA is the biggest threat to World Peace Reservation for Women in Education & Service Indian corporate are puppets in the hands of Indian Politicians Is Indias increasing expenditure on defense justified

Should India make peace with Pakistan Will more autonomy to states jeopardize the unity of the nation If we were Planning Commission Members How can the Indian Political system be improved Rural Development is a political issue, rather than something of substance Parliamentary democracy is an obstacle to economic growth in India Can politicians survive without corruption Criminalization of politics in India Causes and Remedies There should be reservation for the silent middle income population of India A politicians private life should not be the publics conscience Politicians & Industrialists nexus Economic Infrastructure alone cannot improve Indias standing in the International arena Globalization is bad for Indian companies Infrastructure development is of prime importance for India in the next millennium All nationalized banks in India should be privatized Total Liberalization is the only way for economic development in India In a country like India, Public sector is vital for national development How much should India depend on IMF for loan Is Indias expenditure on hi-tech areas justified from the social and economic point of view India as you visualize in the year 2010 The finance minister has not done anything for the common man Indias should emphasize more on SSI & MSI for employment

The fruits of economic policy can be reaped only if there is a strong political system In the long run, the current economic policies will lead to MNCs dominating the Indian economy and society Growing consumerism is an indicator of the nations economic prosperity Invasion of MNCs is a drain on the resources of India Family run businesses are the backbone of Indian Economy Education Brain Drain is good for the country All higher education in India should be privatized Standardization of Textbooks is the best tool for national integration The govt should stop funding IITs and IIMs and instead provide the funds to primary education The present education system perpetuates inequality Environment Pollution is a price you pay for economic development Developed Countries are damaging the eco-system of the earth Urban pollution has been blown out of proportion Economic development at the cost of Ecological Degradation Ethics and Law Is cloning of humans ethical What should be the objective of a company profits or customer Are ethics and business compatible Entry of MNCs & their business ethics Principles of Mahatma Gandhi; are they valid today? Social justice and equity is more important than economic equity and justice

The constitution of Indian needs to be re-looked at Technology Computerization in India may lead to labor unrest Technological growth is more important than social cohesion for the advancement of a nation Excessive computerization is stealing jobs from the people MBA Our country needs more MBAs than technocrats Professional management is a must to attain targeted growth Indian Management should find its own ethos, American & Japanese paradigms wont work Public sector should be handed over to independent professional managers Will the mushrooming of MBA institutes in India produce professional managers Management graduates are more interested in salaries & jobs rather than management as a course Social Can India still boast about being a secular country The demand for foreign brands has overtaken that for our home grown brands Vada-pav vs. Mc Donald Burger Communism has lost its relevance Cinema is at most entertainment with a degenerating effect Journalism should be out of the premises of censorship In our society, leadership should be entrusted to the youth ad not to the old Educated Indian lacks national commitment Beauty contests dont fit into the Indian culture Terrorism is like a virus very easy to spread, very difficult to contain

Television! An idiot box or knowledge provider Are we producing a generation of burnt out children We have exchanged our golden heritage for a pair of blue jeans TV and Cinema have more evil effects than beneficial Sports Is cricket hampering the growth of other sports in India The making of great sportsmen requires a good infrastructure The future of Indian Sport Group Discussion : Dos & Donts Remember the DOs & DONTs before attending any GD. They can really save you at times!! Be as natural as possible. Do not try and be someone you are not. Be yourself. A group discussion is your chance to be more vocal. The evaluator wants to hear you speak. Take time to organize your thoughts. Think of what you are going to say. Seek clarification if you have any doubts regarding the subject. Dont start speaking until you have clearly understood and analyzed the subject. Work out various strategies to help you make an entry: initiate the discussion or agree with someone elses point and then move onto express your views. Opening the discussion is not the only way of gaining attention and recognition. If you do not give valuable insights during the discussion, all your efforts of initiating the discussion will be in vain. Your body language says a lot about you - your gestures and mannerisms are more likely to reflect your attitude than what you say. Language skills are important only to the effect as to how you get your points across clearly and fluently. Be assertive not dominating; try to maintain a balanced tone in your discussion and analysis. Dont lose your cool if anyone says anything you object to. The key is to stay objective: Dont take the discussion personally. Always be polite: Try to avoid using extreme phrases like: `I strongly object or `I disagree. Instead try phrases like: `I would like to share my views on or `One difference between your point and mine or I beg to differ with you Brush up on your leadership skills; motivate the other members of the team to speak (this surely does not mean that the only thing that you do in the GD is to say let us hear what the young lady with the blue scarf has to say, or Raghu, let us hear your views - Essentially be subtle), and listen to their views.

Be receptive to others opinions and do not be abrasive or aggressive. If you have a group of like-minded friends, you can have a mock group discussion where you can learn from each other through giving and receiving feedback. Apart from the above points, the panel will also judge team members for their alertness and presence of mind, problem-solving abilities, ability to work as a team without alienating certain members, and creativity. Common Mistakes in a Group Discussion Wise men learn from others mistakes, while the less fortunate, from their own. Heres a list of the most common mistakes made at group discussions Emotional outburst Rashmi was offended when one of the male participants in a group discussion made a statement on women generally being submissive while explaining his point of view. When Rashmi finally got an opportunity to speak, instead of focussing on the topic, she vented her anger by accusing the other candidate for being a male chauvinist and went on to defend women in general. What Rashmi essentially did was to Deviate from the subject Treat the discussion as a forum to air her own views. Lose objectivity and make personal attacks. Her behaviour would have been perceived as immature and demotivating to the rest of the team. Quality Vs Quantity Gautam believed that the more he talked, the more likely he was to get through the GD. So, he interrupted other people at every opportunity. He did this so often that the other candidates got together to prevent him from participating in the rest of the discussion. Assessment is not only on your communication skills but also on your ability to be a team player. Evaluation is based on quality, and not on quantity. Your contribution must be relevant. The mantra is Contributing meaningfully to the teams success. Domination is frowned upon. Egotism Showing off Krishna was happy to have got a group discussion topic he had prepared for. So, he took pains to project his vast knowledge of the topic. Every other sentence of his contained statistical data -

20% of companies; 24.27% of parliamentarians felt that; I recently read in a Jupiter Report that and so on so forth. Soon, the rest of the team either laughed at him or ignored his attempts to enlighten them as they perceived that he was cooking up the data. Exercise restraint in anything. You will end up being frowned upon if you attempt showing-off your knowledge. Facts and figures need not validate all your statements. Its your analysis and interpretation that are equally important - not just facts and figures. You might be appreciated for your in-depth knowledge. But you will fail miserably in your people skills. Such a behavior indicates how self-centered you are and highlights your inability to work in an atmosphere where different opinions are expressed. Get noticed - But for the right reasons Srikumar knew that everyone would compete to initiate the discussion. So as soon as the topic Discuss the negative effects of India joining the WTO - was read out, he began talking. In his anxiety to be the first to start speaking, he did not hear the word negative in the topic. He began discussing the ways in which the country had benefited by joining WTO, only to be stopped by the evaluator, who then corrected his mistake. False starts are extremely expensive. They cost you your admission. It is very important to listen and understand the topic before you air your opinions. Spending a little time analyzing the topic may provide you with insights which others may not have thought about. Use a pen and paper to jot down your ideas. Listen! It gives you the time to conceptualize and present the information in a better manner. Some mistakes are irreparable. Starting off the group discussion with a mistake is one such mistake, unless you have a great sense of humor. Managing ones insecurities Sumati was very nervous. She thought that some of the other candidates were exceptionally good. Thanks to her insecurity, she contributed little to the discussion. Even when she was asked to comment on a particular point, she preferred to remain silent. Your personality is also being evaluated. Your verbal and non verbal cues are being read. Remember, you are the participant in the GD; not the evaluator. So, rather than evaluating others and your performance, participate in the discussion. Your confidence level is being evaluated. Decent communication skills with good confidence is a must to crack the GDs. Focus on your strengths and do not spend too much time thinking about how others are superior or inferior to you. It is easy to pick up these cues from your body language.

Roles People Play in a GD Everytime we have a GD, participants play some or the other familiar role in it. 1. Mr. Brain/Plant : He brings in a lot of substance and comes up with wide interpretations of the topic. Downside: It is difficult to stop him, as he is preoccupied with topic discussion as opposed to group discussion. He is happily obvious to simple things like who is sitting next to him. At the end of the GD if you happen to ask him whether the person sitting next to him was a boy or a girl, the answer would likely be I do not know. 2. Shopkeeper : He is the sales man who can sell anything, has the gift of the gab, a very strong ability to relate to people and be at the centre of things. Downside: He does not usually come up with original thoughts himself. Needs Mr. Brains to feed him with readymade ideas that he can sell. 3. Watchman : His role is to maintain order in the group, usually content is low. Pre-occupied with directing the group process such as controlling entry and exit of participants. He is crucial for meeting time commitments made to the panel. Especially, in ensuring consensus. 4. Critic : He criticises everybodys points without contributing anything new. 5. The Butcher : Does great service to the group by enhancing the quality of content by not letting participants get away with just about anything. Is most welcome in a group which has one or two aggressive elements in it. 6. The Spectator or The Passenger : Is involved in the proceedings but plays a limited role. Contribution is very limited and does not affect the out come of the group task. So What Role Should You Specialise In?

Each role has several benefits. However, strong attachment to any single role throughout the GD could limit your chances of success. What is more important is that you demonstrate leadership at every moment. You must be able to move across these roles as the situation demands. Anyone seen to be Performing more than three of these roles will definitely make a strong impact on the on the panel. Mobility is the keyword in becoming effective in GDs. The key to success in GDs is to be able to effortlessly move from one role to the other depending on what the situation demands. What Is a Group Discussion Group Discussion is a discussion by a group of people which involves an exchange of thoughts and ideas. It is largely used by institutes where there is a high level of competition. Group Discussion, as the most popular, reliable and dominant medium, heads the list among the battery of personality tests used today for selection of candidates and executives for managerial appointments, training, award of scholarships, admission to post graduate or specialized courses, etc. Group discussion like the interview, is a verbal test and hence can be administered readily and easily. It also has all the advantages of field tests which make it more objective and reliable. It has an added advantage in that the candidate themselves can do a rank-rating which can be compared to the findings of the examiners or observers. No special equipment or materials are required for administering the group discussion test and it can be conducted anywhere, indoors or outdoors, and any time. A group consisting of as many as 12 candidates can be exposed to the test for less than 30 minutes to complete the evaluation. Thus GD is most economical and time saving as well. A typical GD involves 8 to 12 participants sitting in a circle or semicircle discussing a topic for a stipulated time, usually for 15 to 20 minutes. Most GDs follow one of the three formats: Structured, Unstructured, or Specialized. 1. Regular Structured GDs: Here the time limits and topic is defined. No consensus expected at the end. No leader is to be selected for facilitating the process. These are easier to handle. Topics chosen are usually general and do not require technical knowledge. 2. Unstructured GDs: Choosing a leader is mandatory and the group has to reach a consensus at the end of the GD. The leader has to direct the group, set the tone for discussion and control the dynamics of the group. Things are sometimes made more complicated by asking the group to propose a topic, discuss it and reach a consensus. 3. Specialized GDs: These include role-plays or scripted GDs where the candidates are given a certain brief about a role that they need to play. For example, a business situation where to companies are negotiating a deal may be used. Candidates would be given the profile of the two CEOs, marketing managers, HR managers, advisors, and a neutral entity like a consultant.

Alternatively, candidates could be given the role of the five Pandavas and the main Kauravas negotiating the distribution of their kingdom in 20th century setting. The very concept of Group Discussion suggests coordination and cooperation on the part of all who are expected to work as a team. Equanimity of mind pays. It is easy to lose temper at the flimsiest provocation or the things do not go the way you desire. Any kind of hostile approach by any one of the participants would not only rob the underlying spirit of cooperation but also delay the entire process of discussion. Most of the ordinary people get overjoyed in the flush of success and turn abysmally miserable in the face of failure. Such people do not have the inner stuff that makes leaders. In a group, everyone has to subordinate his ego to the larger objective of working together and accomplishing the job in hand within the time allotted. Being a verbal test, power of expression counts a great deal for scoring high marks in a GD. Wide general knowledge of the subject would be the next contributory factor for success. One who knows the subject will definitely be able to speak with confidence, interest, inspiration, enthusiasm and authority. Competition within the group will be tough and each candidate will try to impress all others in the group. Hence, there is no bound to be overlapping, confusion, conflict of the interests and confrontation. The candidate who enjoys maximum level of leadership qualities will ultimately emerge as the natural leader. He will motivate others and make the group willingly follow his suggestions. Success speaks for itself. For a group leader, it hinges, to a large extent, on his ability to deal with the most complex thing- human behavior. Not everybody behaves in the same manner in terms of temperament, sociability and the delicate art of communication. It is here, that the group leader has to raise himself to the stature of the corporate leader whose dexterity in managing people of myriad viewpoints and maintaining a composure makes a mark on others. Like a captain, whose ship has run aground, he has to make systematic and dauntless efforts to make it sail on to its voyage. Apart from other attributes, it is the crisis management which makes him acceptable to all. Self-confidence, ability to articulate ones thoughts and power of persuasion are the hallmarks of a leader. Added to it are patience, perseverance, a deep understanding of the working of the human mind and ability to interact with others in the group so that all the members strive towards the same goal. A leader in the Group Discussion should be able to manage the forum and float his views in the most lucid manner. To accomplish these objectives, he needs ample amount of convincing power, mixed with politeness. He should not get perturbed by the harsh arguments of the participants and provide opportunity to every candidate to air his views. Besides, he should also be able to demonstrate his intellectual excellence and leadership quality and utilize it to steer the discussion away from the murky waters. To top it all, one must be able to express his/ her views logically and cogently within the allotted time i.e, two to three minutes. FAQ Learn the answers to the questions that frequently arise in your mind !!

1.What is a GD? GD is a discussion by a group of people which involves an exchange of thoughts and ideas. Group Discussions are largely used by institutes where there is a high level of competition. 2. What is Evaluated? GD is a means to assess ones overall personality. The qualities judged are: Mental Agility Spontaneity of Decision Interpersonal Skills Alertness Power of Assimilation Clear & Logical Exposition Leadership Intellect Moral Integrity An Examiner can easily make an assessment of candidates on above parameters in a GD. All that one observes in a GD can be categorised into two broad areas: the Content and the Process. The content is all about the matter (or the what) spoken in the GD. Whereas, the process refers to the how, when and why of the GD. Both are equally important and need adequate attention at all stages. A high quality contribution with no regard to the process is as suicidal as one which is high on packaging with little content. 3. How does a GD Take Place? A Group of 6-15 candidates are made to sit in a circular or a semi-circular (U Shaped) fashion so that they can see each other and take part in the discussion easily. Roll Numbers may be allotted to participants for easy recognition. Before the GD, the examiner (observer) announces the topic for discussion and informs candidates about the time-limit. He may also draw attention towards the etiquette, rules and regulation, procedure to be followed. He also clears any doubts/queries. The individuals of the group might be given some initial time to put down their thoughts on the topic. The examiner observes the proceedings of the discussion

from a distance without directly interfering into it. He examines the performance of each candidate without any prejudice or favour. 4. Are the topics decided on the basis of the academic background of the participants? No, The grouping of members and the topics is done by the institutes admission team. Topics basis academic background are rarely asked 5. Can a definite stand be taken? If you have complete conviction on your stand TAKE IT (esp. in case of ethical topics) Its important to be true and fair first to yourself and then to others. But, at the same time appreciate others point of view and evaluate their judgment without bias. Taking one side of the topic initially and then moving to another or oscillating between the two sides during the GD shows signs of indecisiveness. Remember, Managers are Effective Decision Makers. In most groups, you would find close to a 50:50 situation for and against a topic. Even if you are a minority take the stand. Even, in the MBA selection process, you are a minority one out of 200! 6. What is the right time to enter to ensure I am heard? If the order is preset by the examiner then you will have your chance as per your turn The opportunities to enter are: First Members Last Members Middle Members The best time to enter is in the first so that you maintain uniqueness of your points, but at the risk of losing out on others points which you could build on. If you find it uncomfortable to be the first to take the plunge listen out others and then enter along with the middle/last members. Frankly, there is no right or wrong time to enter or not. Just make sure that you speak out your points in the initial round of discussion 7. How necessary is it to use examples for illustrating an idea? Using an example simplifies the understanding of your point to the group. Substantiation is like putting a seal of authenticity to your statement. Try and use relevant facts/figures wherever possible. Use an example or two for a point that you wish to project

8. What is summarization? Converting the entire discussion into 4 or 5 points without any bias to fully represent the thoughts of the group. In some cases, everyone might be asked to summarize so you must form a habit of summarizing. 9. What should you do if one member is very stubborn and aggressive? Dont get into a argument with the member Dont let his virus INFECT you. Objectively and calmly present your point of view vis--vis his. You could ask other group members to comment (to break the deadlock) and take the discussion forward 10.How do you participate when the noise level is high? Every group has a High when most people are talking This is when you should listen and your mind should think and evaluate the plethora of others thoughts You can interject when the group is on a low (you will be able to observe it if you are alert) Then present your evaluation of others thoughts and perhaps take the discussion on to a more positive platform, This would show a clear structure in your thinking. Sometimes you can bring the group to a refocus, when the group digresses from the topics. These are all positive traits of a manager and naturally gives you plus points. Learn the answers to the questions that frequently arise in your mind !! What is the normal duration of a GD? A GD is generally of 15-20 minutes duration. How many panel members are there to evaluate? There are usually 3-4 panel members to evaluate. Is there time given for preparation after the topic is given and before starting the GD? Usually some time (2-5 minutes) is given to collect ones thoughts, but there could be instances when this does not happen, so it is best not to bank on this. Should I address the panel or the group members? Dont ever make the mistake of addressing the panel members. The GD is between you and the other members, not the panel members. You must avoid even looking at the panel members while the GD is in progress. Just ignore their existence. What is the seating arrangement like?

It could be semi-circular, or circular, or seating along side a rectangular table, depending upon the venue. It is best not to bother about trivial issues like this, which you have no control over. How should I address the other group members? If you are initiating the discussion, you could do so by collectively addressing the group as Friends. Subsequently, you could use names (if the group has had a round of self-introduction prior to starting the discussion and you remember the names) or simply use pronouns like he or she. Suppose I have a lot to say on the topic, should I say all of it? You would not be looked upon favourably if you kept speaking all the time and did not listen to anyone else. Contrary to the misconception, the person who talks the most is not necessarily the one who is judged the best. The quality and not the quantity of your contribution is the success factor. Should I encourage others to speak up? Do not directly put someone who is consistently silent on the spot by asking him/her to speak up. If someone has been trying to speak and has a good point but is cut off constantly, you may encourage him/her to continue with her point as you would like to hear her out. Are the group members supposed to keep track of the time or will the panel keep track? It would be good if you are conscious of the time, but not to the point of getting so distracted looking at your watch that you do not contribute to the discussion. How to prepare for GD? GD Preparation - A few useful Tips n Tricks !! Read the newspapers, current affairs magazines and business magazines. Try and make your viewpoints on the various issues i.e. whether you agree or you disagree and why. For example India and the WTO? Discuss them with your friends or knowledgeable relatives. Make notes or file news paper clippings of the news items that you think are important for the area in which you intend to specialize, your country or the world as a whole. Read books on the area you are planning to specialize into. Read General Books.

Never get tensed about GD. Do not let this spoil you schedule which includes a good nights sleep. Normally the candidate is asked to report in the morning and the GD turn may come in the evening. Hence ensure that you are physically and mentally fit to survive the whole day and the GD. Definite DOs for a GD Please try and follow these instructions appropriately to make your GD move in the direction you really wish it to - Make sure that all the points that you make are original and backed by substantial reasoning as to why you believe so. - If somebody has already made the point you wanted to make, you can go ahead and either support or oppose the point provided you can give substantial reasoning as to why you think so. - Whatever you have to say has to be wrapped around with a logical flow. State your point, substantiate it with a reason and validate it with an example wherever and whenever possible. - Modulate the various aspects of your voice, viz. volume, pitch and tone so as to suite the nature of the point that you are making. Make sure you dont sound rude or arrogant. - Your posture should be straight and upfront. - Make use of hands and facial expressions to make your point more emphatic. - Whatever position you occupy in the discussion make sure that while speaking you make eye contact with each and every one in the group. - When not speaking make sure that you are looking at the person who is speaking. - Whether you agree with the person who is speaking or not, ensure that you give him credit for what he is speaking by use of non - verbal like nodding your head, etc. - If possible, make an attempt at opening the discussion. But if you venture ahead with it make sure that you make a good job of it. The opening has to be a general introduction to the topic briefly laying the scope of the discussion. - If the discussion is revolving around a certain point for too long give a new direction by introducing a new angle to it. - Incase of fish markets first and foremost make sure that you dont contribute to the mayhem. If the crowd is too unruly wait for the right opportunity, make your point and get out of it.

- If the discussion is straying from its main idea, get it back on track by giving a new directional point. Strict Donts of a GD There has been enough material on the subject - What to do in a GD?. Its now time for a few donts. And as a matter of fact, its more important to remember donts rather than dos. - Do not get into arguments with people, remember you are there to make effective points, do not waste time on futile arguments that do not contribute to the topic under discussion. - Making yourself heard is important but do not try to hog the lime-light all the time, evaluate the worth of what you are saying, or you may simply make points that are irrelevant or were better left unsaid. - Do not act patronising with your fellow group members, it could backfire. - Do not make use of gestures excessively as you may come across as aggressive, learn to toe the line between assertive and aggressive. - Do not slouch but seat yourself comfortably, awkward posture could indicate nervousness or discomfort with your position in the group. - Most of all, belief in your own ability to remain poised in any situation will allow you to sail through. - Do not fidget or act restless. - Do not stare at the floor or out of the window, you may come across as uninterested or inattentive. - Try not to look at the Panel members during the discussion. Entering a Discussion Entering any discussion is the most important part. It can either make or break your impression in one go!! Take care that you do not stray from the topic. One way to avoid this is to write it down and keep it in front of you. By periodically looking at it, you can arrange your thoughts mentally. Remember that the interjections should always be in the form of a paragraph, not a question. Do not get into cross talk with any person in the group. Do not start quarrelling if someone is against your stand. Instead, address the group.

In any GD, a common situation is that everybody wants to speak all at once and some individuals will dominate on account of their loudness. After all, everybody wants to make a mark in the limited time and it is survival of the fittest. Making an interjection at this stage is rather difficult. Assume a leadership role if you do not have much to say. Give a chance to others who have not spoken. Guide the discussion by restoring order. Keep an eye on the time and after 10 minutes or so, begin summing up. This will show your leadership qualities. However, if you do not contribute in any other way, this strategy will not be sufficient to see you through. Interjections should be made without being rude. Do not cut into mid-sentence. On the other hand, if someone cuts into your speech, politely ask to be heard: I would like to complete what I was saying. rather than rudely asking a person to shut up. Sometimes all these rules do not work, especially if the group is a rowdy one. Since it is survival of the fittest, do not be cowed down and make a bold effort to make yourself heard. Start off with meta-language: I agree with you, but or We have heard many viewpoints and I would like to say. Do not lose your cool if nobody listens. It might pay to raise your voice for the opening sentence and then go ahead to make your point. Never criticize. If you do not agree with a particular viewpoint, start with: You may be right, but I feel. or even I agree with you on certain points but there is a contrary opinion that. Be polite but firm. In a loud GD where there are three or four aggressive participants, and where a number of people tend to speak at the same time, it becomes difficult for others to get a chance to speak. This is the most frequent problem encountered by participants. There is no foolproof solution to this problem. And such a situation is pretty much likely to prevail during the actual GD that you participate in. However, it is crucial that you speak. How can you do this? Some guidelines on interjecting in a loud GD: You will have to decide which one is appropriate. Enter the troughs: Every GD has its highs and lows. There are times when the noise level is high and times when it is low. You could wait for the lows and time your interjection then. However, in some GDs, if one waits for lows, he/she would never get a chance to speak. Enter after a person has made his point: The success of an interjection depends not only on assertiveness but also on the receptiveness of others. If you interject when someone else has just begun speaking, before he has made his point, it is unlikely that he will let you have your way. On the other hand, if you wait till he has made some of his points, he will be more amenable to letting you speak. But dont wait too long! Enter with a supportive statement: A useful way of starting your interjection is by supporting a point that has just been made. People will let you speak if they think you agree with them or if you praise them. Try starting by saying something like, I agree with that point and I would like to add . . . Alternatively, praise the person who had just spoken by saying, I think that is a very important point . . . . In all probability, he will let you speak. Once you have the floor, you

could either extend the argument or you could switch tracks by saying, . . . however, before we spend more time on that issue we should be discussing . . . Enter by increasing volume: The most natural way of entering when you find that others are not listening is to raise your voice. This is not the smartest way of interjecting and in a GD where everyone is shouting, there is only a slight chance that it would work. To be effective, however, you will have to combine this tool with some of the others mentioned, as it is unlikely to succeed on its own. A common situation is that whatever points you have thought of have already been said by someone else. Do not become nervous should this happen. Instead, quickly assess the situation and the direction of the discussion. Take a few deep breaths and think whether anything has been missed out or whether you can turn the discussion around. Usually, there is always some uncovered ground and a person can steer the discussion in a new direction. We have been discussing the positive side of the matter, you can say. But there is a more serious dimension that we have ignored. Chances are that you will become the centre of discussion after this. Even if you have not spoken during the first half of the session, you will have turned it around to your advantage.