How To Confidently Prepare For Group Discussions | GD Preparation Guide

group discussion

Do group discussion questions scare you? This guide by GoApti will strengthen your preparation for your upcoming group discussion, popularly known as GD.

“A discussion group is a group of individuals with similar interest who gather either formally or informally to bring up ideas, solve problems or give comments” – Wikipedia

Group discussion is an important part of the interview process where a group of participants present their opinions and speak on the assigned topic. The topic could be anything ranging from social issues to international affairs. The general expectation is that you must sound logical and professional while speaking.

Why is the group discussion conducted? Once you join an organization and are placed in a team, you’ll come across colleagues with different perspectives and outlook.

Ten team members may give ten different opinions on the same topic—some may peacefully put their points forward while others may be aggressive. How would you speak up in such a setting? A group discussion gives interviewers an idea of how you would come across in these scenarios. 

Initiating the group discussion

This is the first stage of the GD. Go ahead and start the discussion if you want to set the flow for the remainder of the session. How do you start a group discussion? There are several ways.

Give the audience a high-level understanding of the topic. Or a question that gets others thinking? You can also initiate by stating certain facts (related to the topic) that you are aware of. Feel free to use phrases such as “in my opinion” or “in today’s world”.

Why should you initiate a GD? The first impression is the last impression. The interviewing panel tends to remember the individual who started the discussion. It demonstrates the ability to lead when no else is willing to. 

Agreeing with a participant

So you want to agree with someone’s view. What do you say? Here are some phrases to show your support:

  • I agree with my friend.
  • I do feel the same as my friend thinks.
  • You’re completely right I second you on that opinion.
  • I too feel the same.

Disagreeing with a participant     

Person A’s opinion doesn’t sit with you. How do you disagree? When you disagree with a participant, do not be aggressive, and control your emotions. But do not suppress your energy or opinion. Here are some phrases to show your concerns with someone’s points:

  • I do not or I can’t support your point of view.
  • I oppose your point of view.
  • I think differently.
  • I have a different opinion on that.

If the person states a fact that is incorrect or incomplete, you can add, “I am afraid that’s not right.”

Interrupting a participant

It’s not wrong to interrupt a person if he or she is elaborating beyond what is required. Or if it’s deviating from the topic. So how do you interrupt a participant in a group discussion?

Simply by saying, “Sorry, I wish to interrupt you there”. Or, “Sorry to interrupt you there.” Adding a sorry at the start is out of courteous. Moreover, it’s pleasing to one’s ears.

Partially agreeing with a participant

How do you partially agree with your competitor?  You may say, “I agree with you to some extent but…” and then you continue with your perspective. If you want to add some more to a participant’s views, you can pitch in by saying, “You are correct and I would like to add something else.” An alternative is “in addition to that” followed by your opinions.

The Dos and Don’ts of a group discussion

Here are some dos of a group discussion:

  • Speak pleasantly and politely with the interviewing panel as well as the other participants.
  • Respect the contribution of every speaker.
  • Remember that a discussion is not an argument.
  • Learn to disagree politely.
  • Think about your contribution before you speak.
  • Try to stick to the topic being discussed.
  • Don’t introduce or spread irrelevant information.
  • Be aware of your body language when you are speaking.
  • Agree with those participants who make sense according to you.

Here are some don’ts of a group discussion:

  • Don’t lose your temper.
  • Don’t shout. Use a moderate tone with a medium pitch.
  • Don’t use too many gestures when you speak. Gestures like finger pointing and table thumping can appear aggressive.
  • Don’t dominate the discussion. Confident speakers should allow others, especially those who are quiet, to speak up.
  • Don’t draw too much on personal experiences.
  • Minimize interruption. Wait for the speakers to finish what they are saying before you jump in.

What group discussion topics are you aware of? Any interview tips and tricks that you would like to share? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.

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