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Amandeep Kaur

Communication is not all about what you

say but what others understand.

Man has always used discussions and

conversations as ways to communicate.
When does conversation become a discussion?
When two or more people talk about a particular
issue or topic in detail-exploring its various
dimensions and exchanging ideas intelligently,
we say they are discussing it.

We hear discussions in the college canteen, in
the train, at the bus stop, during a meeting and
anywhere where people come together. we
have also witnessed discussions ending in
Can we disagree without being disagreeable?
Can we be assertive without being aggressive?
Can we listen and not just speak?
Can we be analytical without being critical?

Definition of Group

Group Discussion is a modern method of

assessing students personality.
It is both a technique and an art and a
comprehensive tool to judge the worthiness of
the student and his appropriateness for the

Group Discussion

The term suggests a discussion among a group

of persons.
The group will have 8 & 12 members who will
express their views freely, frankly in a friendly
manner, on a topic of current issue.
Within a time limit of 20 to 30 minutes, the
abilities of the members of the group is measured.

Some of the personality traits the GD is

trying to gauge may include :-

Oral Communication
Clarity of thought
Decision making ability
Presence of mind
Managing situational
Listening capacity

Interpersonal team
Reasoning Power
Influencing ability
Leadership skills
Problem solving
Body language

Why Group

Companies conduct group discussion after the written

test so as to check on your interactive skills and how
good you are at communicating with other people. The
GD is to check how you behave, participate and
contribute in a group, how much importance do you
give to the group objective as well as your own, how well
do you listen to viewpoints of others and how openminded are you in accepting views contrary to your
own. The aspects which make up a GD are verbal
communication, non-verbal behavior, conformation
to norms, decision-making ability and cooperation.
You should try to be as true as possible to these aspects.

Prerequisites of a Group

Topics given by panelists

Planning and preparation

Knowledge with self-confidence
Communication skills/ power of speech
Body Language and personal appearance
Being calm and cool

Prerequisites of a Group

Extensive knowledge base related to state,

country and globe.
Areas are politics, sports, science &trade
commerce, Industry and Technology, MNC, etc.
Analyze the social, economical issues logically .
Listening skills

Benefits in Group

Stimulation of thinking in a new way.

Expansion of knowledge
Understanding of your strength and
Your true personality is revealed and qualities
of leadership crystallize

Benefits of group discussion

provides chance to Expose

Language skills
Academic knowledge
Leadership skills
people handling skills
Team work
General knowledge.

Salient features of

Topic may be given to judge your public speaking

Discussion revolves around a specific subject.
The examiner does not interfere once he announced
the topic.
Maintain cordiality and free expression of thought
and opinion.

Types of GD

GDs can be topic-based or case-based.

Topic based Gds can be classified into three
types :1. Factual Topics
2. Controversial Topics
3. 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
E.g. The education policy of India, Tourism in
India, 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, Women
make better managers

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. A is an alphabet, Twinkle twinkle little
star, The number 10

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.

Case Study Based

Group Discussion

Group Discussion on a Case Study is a growing form of GD at the top

players in Industry.

In a case study based group discussion, first the candidates are

asked to read the case. After that, they are required to analyze
the case and discuss on the basis of the points with the group
members.In a Case Study GD, caselets dealing with real life
situation in the corporate world are given for discussion. You will
be given a set of information, a situation, a problem and you will
be expected to produce the probable solution of the case.
Case studies are some sort of business problems faced by a person
or a corporation. It could be a real case or a fictitious one specially
designed based on what the moderators want to test.

In topic based group discussions, the group members are given a

topic to discuss. A topic is typically in the form of a statement
(some times, the statement may not be complete. for example,
the topic could be worded "The biggest problem faced by our
country is........."). By the end of the discussion, the group should
strive to arrive at a consensus on the issue that is covered by the

In case studies, a short description of a situation (called a "case")

is given to all the participants. The case will typically be a problem
situation that requires a solution. The participants have to study
the case, analyze the problem and then discuss various situations
to the problem.


A South India based food retailer is looking to

expand into North India. The retailer has 15%
market share in South India, with three major
competitors having 10-12% shares each. The
rest of industry is fragmented amongst smaller
players. Two of the competitors already have
operations in North India. Our company has no
experience of retailing n North India and a
minimal knowledge of the region. Should the
company open stores in North India too?

The details mentioned in a case study may include, but are not
limited to:
Information about a company, industry, or project
Problems encountered and Objectives that may need to be established.
The group has to discuss and come up with a solution or some
recommendations to the problem. Unlike other discussions, a case study
could be easily structured by looking at few parameters.

But before we begin with those, heres a small checklist on what

is relevant to the case study discussion.
Read the case carefully and make notes; do not read it like a story.
Put yourself in the protagonists position and analyze the case.
In your analysis and discussion, always be ethical.
Even when you are not speaking, listen carefully. Summaries in a case
study are more common than in a normal group discussion. You may even
have to speak a summary so make notes while the discussion is going on.
If you have to speak a summary try to use the structure mentioned on
next slide but use the points mentioned in the discussion only. You could
speak in points

Structure of the case study

Identify the major players involved in the case study

This is usually easy, but sometimes you have to look at the broader picture. For example, if
sales are declining then one of the players could also be the procurement department,
your competitors, etc.

Identify the problem

This case can be broken down into a short term problem and a long term issue that is
causing the short term problem. Usually people focus on the short term manifestation
of the long term issue.
Identify the objective for the case discussion
Sometimes the short term problem could be more important primarily due to urgency. So
while identifying problems try to give it a priority ranking as well.
Evaluating a solution
What should the ideal solution do? If it cannot solve all the problems or satisfy all the
players then how do we determine whether it is an effective solution? You could define
various decision criteria to evaluate efficiency. A representative list- improve /
maintainprofitability, increase sales, or return on investment, employee morale,
employee retention,safety, or turnover, retain flexibility, ease or speed of
Find possible solutions and make recommendations after evaluating them with respect to
their efficiency. Try to come up with a concrete action plan that gives a step by step
procedure of how to solve the problem.

Tips to Remember in Case-Study GD

If you are given a role which you are supposed to play at the end of the caselet then in
such a scenario you should step into the shoes of that role, look at the problem from
its angle, and then discuss the case accordingly.

If you are to discuss it from a third party point of view, you have to look at it in a more
holistic way. In case, the case is not specific in this regard, then you could assume the
role of a third-party, look at the case objectively from all angles, and discuss it
You will need to develop and present a framework. Try to include SWOT Analysis Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats; while discussing the case study.
Identify the main problem in the case and its possible causes. At first you will have to
understand what the problem is and exactly which the area you need to look at is.
On the basis of the problem, you need to come up with two to three possible logical
and analytical solutions that you think will work for the particular situation.
You also need to analyze the pros and cons of the solutions or suggestions you have
made. Then finalize which one is the most feasible option to approach.

Do`s in group

Appropriate to the issue .

Make original points & support them by

substantial reasoning .
Listen to the other participants actively &carefully.
Whatever you say must be with a logical
flow,&validate it with an example as far as
Make only accurate statements.

Do`s in group discussion

Modulate the volume, pitch and tone.

Be considerate to the feelings of the others.
Try to get your turn.
Be an active and dynamic participant by
Talk with confidence and self-assurance.

Donts during group


Being shy /nervous / keeping isolated from

Interrupting another participant before his
arguments are over
Speak in favour ; example:Establish your
position and stand by it stubbornly
Changed opinions
Dont make fun of any participant even if
his arguments are funny.

Don`ts during group discussion

Dont engage yourself in sub-group conversation.

Dont repeat and use irrelevant materials.

Worrying about making some grammatical
mistakes,for your interest the matter you put across
are important.

Important points in
group discussion

Be assertive: An assertive person is direct ,

honest careful about not hurting others selfrespect.
A patient listener: listening to another person is
one way of showing appreciation.
Right language : Words can make friends & right
words at the right time make the best results.
Be analytical and fact-oriented : It is necessary
to make relevant points which can be supported
with facts and analyzed logically.

Accept criticism

If any member of the group criticizes or disapproves

a point, it is unwise to get upset or react sharply.
In case the criticism is flimsy,the same can be
pointed out politely.
Maximize participation ; one must try to contribute
fully, vigorously & steadily throughout the
Show leadership ability: A group discussion also
evaluates your leadership qualities.

Accept someone's point of view
Praise the argument
Example: Remedial English communication is
necessary for college students because they fail in
communication skill test.
Status of literacy of women , is increased from 30% to
70% when compared to past years, in employment
sectors organized ,in the IT & ITES field.

Accept the contradicts view

Express your argument with few facts, cases, %,
Newspapers publications etc.

Express without hurting others feelings.

Tough Situations

I couldnt start.
I couldnt finish.
Nobody let me speak.
I didnt understand the topic.
Someone else dominated the GD.
Someone got angry.
Someone got sarcastic.

Myths regarding a Group Discussion

You should
You should
You should
You should
You should

speak more (No!)

dominate the discussion (No!)
project yourself in style (No!)
speak in favor of topic (No!)
make others agree to your point

Body language

Body language plays a

major role in group
discussions. Certain
inappropriate gestures
can spoil the image of
a person even if they
are highly talented and
capable. Here are some
body language tips to
keep in mind while
attending a group

Dont cross your arms

or legs

This indicates lack of

respect and exhibits
that you are not ready
to accept other peoples

Have eye contact,

but dont

Maintain appropriate
eye contact with
everyone while you are
speaking. You should
not neglect anyone and
avoid looking at the
ceiling and floor, as it
signifies lack of

Relax your shoulders

When you feel tense its

easily winds up as
tension in your
shoulders. They might
move up and forward a
bit. Try to relax. Try to
loosen up by shaking
the shoulders a bit and
move them back

Use your hands more


Instead of fidgeting with your

hands and scratching your
face use them to communicate
what you are trying to say. Use
your hands to describe
something or to add weight to
a point you are trying to make.
But dont use them to much or
it might become distracting.
And dont let your hands flail
around, use them with some

Keep your head up

Dont keep your eyes

on the ground, it
might make you
seem insecure and a
bit lost. Keep your
head up straight.

Keep a good attitude

Last but not least,

keep a positive, open
and relaxed attitude.
How you feel will come
through in your body
language and can
make a major

Never try to bluff.

Practice group discussion with friends on different

Remember !speech is a powerful weapon.

Sample Cases

A student gets admission to a premier engineering college

securing a very high rank in the entrance test. However, his
performance in the first year is very bad and he fails in two
subjects. Simultaneously, a rumor starts floating around in
the engineering college that this student cheated in the
entrance test to secure very good marks. This loss of repute
for the examination procedures is putting pressure on the
Principal to quell the issue. However, some students are
demanding a high level enquiry, which would lead to a high
drop in institute's reputation. What should the Principal of the
engineering college do?

New Media is an Internet Service Provider that has had two

continuous years of high profits. However, this quarter, the
profits have fallen by 50%. What can be the possible causes
for this? As a group, work out an action plan to save the
company based on the causes of decline in profits.