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STUDENT NOTES Group Discussion

Prof. Dhan Madan

For good or bad, your conversation is your advertisement

Every time you open your mouth, HR looks into your mind
Wise men learn from others mistakes; not-so-wise learn from their own

A GD is elimination not a selection. In marketing terms, who is the product, who is the sales person?
You are selling yourself; that is the sole purpose. A GD is not about winning or losing.

Discussion OR Debate
Debate you remain either for or against throughout
Discussion - all carry forward the topic. In professional life you participate in discussions (called meetings).
A formal GD is no different from your coffee group.

Conclusion vs. Consensus vs. Summary

Conclusion - when a point is agreed upon by the whole group. Will all actually agree?
Consensus majority view.
Summary - you may be asked to summarize. If you listened carefully, your summary will make the last
(lasting?) impression. Give a glimpse of major points discussed and which points were the majority views.

Timing - 15-20 minutes, average one-and-half or two minutes each person; plan 2/3 relevant points only.
Usually you will be given 2 minutes to analyse the topic and plan your notes but not always. Dont write
points; write full sentences in large fonts (to be able to speak out what you wrote. You flow smoothly.

I dont understand this topic. I am panicking. Dont show it to HR. Pretend to write something.
Concentrate hard on what others say; someones points will strike you, write it down. Come in with only
that point in your own words.

Should I be the first to start? First to start is high-risk, high-return. A good starter

Comes prepared
Introduces topic
Provides options
Helps create a structure
Catches attention of everybody
Need not take a definite stand right away
Uses facts, figures, quotes, definitions, shocking statements, questions (followed by an answer)

Points to note:

Body language - arrogance, aggressiveness, anger, emotions and excitement?

First person begins with Friends. Later use only He or Her, not names
Give examples with names, quotations, facts and figures
No personal attacks you lose your objectivity
Respect others

Contribute not dominate

What do I do about silent members? Suddenly you want to play godfather? Dont
Speaking most is a loser
He who decides to hog the conversation, eliminates himself fastest
Your voice should reach others as well as HR
Listen carefully, understand and analyse carefully; know who has spoken what

How do I prepare for topics? Content is King. Pick 6-7 current affairs topics in your specialisation;
research them. Read newspapers, magazines, and economic surveys. Discuss with others.
Read aloud from books 15 minutes daily to improve your flow of words and tone of voice.

Interaction (to act united) is the key - your understanding of the main idea, your patience, assertiveness,
and how you accept others views is observed.

Traits you require

Team ability
Analytical ability
Reasoning ability
Decision-making ability
Domain and general knowledge
Leadership - initiate, guide and encourage
Communication skills clarity of thought, expressions, emotional maturity

Worst lines:

I completely agree
I feel personally
As we all know
I would like to disagree
I dont think that
Dont you think that
In the present scenario
It depends on person to person
It is a matter of perception/judgement
There are two sides to a coin
There are always two sides to a story
There are pros and cons to everything

Myths: I should

Be aggressive this is not your election campaign; shouting no, audible yes
Speak more stick to the point, dont stretch; stay within your total time frame
Always speak in favour why not against?
Cut down others if others are illogical or off point, be happy. Dont remind that they are going off
the topic. Pulling down others is bad manners, you lose points
Make others agree with me - Dont you agree with me? or Dont you think? are both bad. Should
they agree? Again, if you disagree with everyone, everyone will disagree with you
Be the only speaker - minus. You are not a team player but a difficult person who cant work in
Be stylish - HR does not want fancy pronunciation or accent; only the real you

Helpful Expressions

Ask - What is your opinion? Any comments on this? What do you feel about this?
Agree - I have the same opinion Thats right Point is well taken
Bring back - Perhaps we could go back to the point
Confirm - Im sure that I have no doubt that
Defend - Let me restate what I mean I repeat what I said earlier your point supports my view
Disagree - I feel/think differently I would like to share my views One difference between your
argument and mine is I would like to differ
Emphasize - I am convinced that You can see that It is quite clear that
Insist - Let me emphasize that I have to say again that
Interrupt - May I come in here... Before you go on let me say
Join in - May I make a point here?
Suggest - I suggest that we Let us start with Can we then
Support others - I support the view that
Surrender - I agree I take my remark back You are right ... I see your point

Absolutely no make-up, perfumes or de-odorants
Carry a small napkin with you. Before your turn comes for GD, wash your face
Socks colour must match pant colour
Men: Get a mature, corporate haircut.
Ladies: Push hair behind ears, let full face show. No pendant earrings ever



Read newspapers/business magazines from 6 months

Make notes on key issues
Practice listening and communication skills
Carry pen and notebook
Understand the main idea, think first
Dont write points, write full sentences in large fonts
Speak in English only
Start only if you know the topic
Speak the point first, then give examples, facts, figures
Then allow others their opening lines
Speak slowly assertively and objectively, not emotionally
Interrupt forcefully, but politely
Agree with others if their points are reasonable
I agree with my friend BUT, what does this mean?
Disagree with the point, not the person politely
Participate 2-3 times ensuring others an opportunity
Look at those diagonally opposite or he who just finished;
then look at all
To come in, put your hands forward to attract attention;
got it, come in
Gestures dont point with forefinger, use open palm
Never in front of your face
Posture - sit straight; knees one wrist apart
Voice - all should hear, especially HR
Stay dignified and professional
At the end, summarize main points

Stop abruptly
Interrupt others
Say Let me finish
Rubbish anyone
Be loud and dominating
Ask Why? How can you say that?
Refer to members by name
Believe that the first speaker wins
Force silent members to participate
Make it a one-to-one conversation
Be upset if others present your points first or
Look at HR or one-on-one
Lean forward obstructing view of both on
either side of you
Talk for long, others will not wait for you and
will interrupt you
Dominate, speak most, very selfish
Show arrogance, aggressiveness, anger,
Repeat topic if first person has
Cut off people
Criticize individuals or laugh at others
Out-shout others
Dont tuck your feet under the chair