Here's a list of the most
common mistakes made at group discussions:
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
essentially did was to
• Deviate from the subject
• Treat the discussion as a
forum to air her own views.
• Lose objectivity and make
Her behaviour would have been
perceived as immature and demotivating to the rest of the team.
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
• Evaluation is based on
quality, and not on quantity. Your contribution must be relevant.
• The mantra is
"Contributing meaningfully to the team's 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
• You might be appreciated
for your in-depth knowledge. But you will fail miserably in your
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
Some mistakes are irreparable.
Starting off the group discussion with a mistake is one such
mistake, unless you have a great sense of humor.
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.
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.
Don't 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 someone's
viewpoint speak of you positively.
Communicate with each and every
candidate present. While speaking don't keep looking at a single
member. Address the entire group in such a way that everyone feels
you are speaking to him or her.