February 25, 2012

GD Basics

Group Discussion has evolved across these years and has become a very complex but Dissected methodology. It is a process wherein people who have been trained can become really stereotypical in terms of performances. This ensures that it becomes easy for the Panel to reject more number of people at this stage itself. For the GD processes under CAT, XAT and other exams (except MAHA-CET), it is the prime objective for the panel to excercise the Rejection formula correctly.

In earlier times, GD used to be topical and main concentration was on the content, attitude, and the body language. Content normally included awareness about the topic and attitude dealt with the tone used during the discussion. Today, things have changed.

GD has become more of an excercise of Group Dynamics rather than a discussion. It is a place wherein people are pushed into unknown territories (TOPICS) and then are expected to find a solution (Discussion). The competencies that are looked into are – Logical thinking, strategy (for solutions), listening skills, reactions and proactiveness, verbal communication, etc.

In this chapter, I will tell you about what the Bschools look into when they make you sit in a GD. It will consist of the Opening including the topic, the body of the GD and the chemistry that they want the students to have.

Opening a GD:————–

For many people, being the first person to talk in a GD is imperative. They feel that it will give them brownie points and that they will be perceived as Initiators. Nothing can be more foolish if someone without a solid plan in place attempts to start the GD. He/She will definitely be the first one to be booted out if the content of the Opening sentences is pathetic.

In case you are not too sure about the topic or are not good in opening a GD, WAIT for someone to start.

Normally, opening a GD involves these very important things:1. Define the topic of the GD if there is a need to define it for others (clarity)2. Set boundaries/parameters that you may feel will help the GD to be discussed without ambiguity.3. In case you have a story/ incident/ experience for the topic, then start with that.4. Creative GD will be started with your interpretation and the supporting thought process for the interpretation.

Now let us take a few examples and understand what is supposed to be done, and what is to be avoided:

Case 1:TOPIC – “Rank the 10 most Significant things that happened in India in the last century”

Opener’s tips -1. Start by defining the key terms, which in this case are – Significant and Last century. Defining these two things would give a guiding light to the GD else everyone would come out with their own version of significance.2. Set the tone by telling everyone the thumb rule – “bring on one point at a time and we will freeze it in terms of significance”.3. Remember – YOU MAY NOT BE ABLE TO RANK ALL 10 IN THE STIPULATED TIME.

Many people in the above GD will start of by giving their Top 10. It may be on the basis of Date, seriousness, religion, politics, etc. This will cause chaos and the entire group will be eliminated.

Case 2:TOPIC – “Pink Pyjamas flying high on the Red-Fort”

Opener’s tips -1. In case you don’t get the essence of the topic, break down the topic into parts viz. pink pyjamas / flying high / on the Red fort. Pink pyjamas are worn by Ladies or gays and since the other part of the sentence doesn’t suggest Gay prrotest, you can eliminate the second guess. Flying high indicates better status, better recognition, or independance. And lastly, “on the Red Fort” symbolizes something to do with the political perspective of India. So overall, the topic can be summed up as – the status or recognition of women in Indian Politics.2. This kind of a topic can have different interpretation, and therefore please dont close yourself on someone else’s idea.

This will be very rude and you will come across as someone who doesn’t bother to listen.3. As an Opener, get everyone to discuss and freeze on the meaning so that all are aware of what they will talk about.

Now, there are situations wherein you face two distinct problems:1. You don’t know the topic but the group knows it.2. Neither you nor the group knows about the topic.

In the first scenario, it is okay to be quiet for sometime before entering to say something that will make sense. But what happens in the 2nd scenario? In situations like these, you have to the most daring thing one can do – ASK for a change in the Topic before anyone else does. The ignorance will be visible within 30 seconds of the panel asking you to Start. If you are the one asking for the Change in topic, chances are that you may be the only one selected.

Body of the GD & the Chemistry inside a discussion:——————————————————

We all know that a normal GD would have a time-frame of 20-30 minutes. If there are 10 students sitting in the GD, that translates into 2-3 minutes per person. This is one of the biggest truths that GD takers forget. The ideal time for you to talk would be this duration and consider yourself lucky if someone doesn’t speak and you get that extra time as a bonus.

A very big fact that many of us tend to overlook is that during the GD process, You will only have to ensure that you do your job perfectly. The other members would be either doing justice to their claims (by performing) or they would be help your cause (by being a Nuisance value).

So the learning is clear – “Concentrate on your role and your job as a team person. Forget the rest”.

Most of the time, I have found myself telling the IIM aspirants that in case you are not an aggressive speaker, be the person who would regulate the entire GD within the group. This means that – in a situation wherein everyone (or some people) are giving in their solutions or thoughts, you should be busy noting their points and creating a lateral thinking output that will have a Strategy B or a Plan B ready for the group.

If you can manage to pitch in with this new angle to the GD, you have won the battle!!

Please resist in getting into the normal “my friend”, “dear friend”, “Sir” etc. Sentences can begin simply by saying – “I disagree with your point” or “I completely agree with him” in whichcase you use a complete hand movement to show to the group whom you are agreeing/disagreeing with.

Another important observation can be made at this juncture – Remember, the disagreement is with the Point of view or the Data that you might have provided. It is NOT personal. In GD topics that are a little emotional like “India should give away Kashmir to Pakistan”, I have seen people getting involved personally which has ensured their rejections. You are there to discuss and understand the probability to have a Plan of Action or a solution coming in from Matured person. Emotions are best left outside the GD room.

Most Business Schools ensure that they pick up those students who have some data on the topic or related discussions wherein the students can compliment their point of view or the stand they might take. It is like suggesting the changes expected in the New Budget – “Finance Minister should reduce the percentage of cess for young entrepreneurs”. I am not happy with only that. Anyone can give me that. What’s so special in you?? Always remember, the essence is not “What to do?” but actually “How to do it?”. Only then can the Institute understand your thought process. Only then the Institute can understand if you are creative and also support your creativity with sound logic.

Hottest GD topics:

1 Aadhaar
2 Airline Business in India
3 Anti Corruption Bill
4 Arab Spring
6 Biofuel
7 Brand IPL
8 Capital Markets
9 Celebrity Advertising
10 Climate Change
11 Cognitive Computing
12 Community Radio
13 Community Tourism
14 Consumer Protection
15 Convenience Food
16 Couch Potato Generation
17 Creative Entrepreneurship
18 Cross Cultural Communication
19 Cultural Tourism
20 Cyber-Psychology
21 Digital Marketing
22 Emotional Quotient
23 Ethics in Business
24 Fashion Brands
25 FDI Vs Trade in India
26 Food Crop Cultivation in India
27 Formula one in India
28 Fringe Benefits in Corporates
29 Future of Personal Computers
30 Global Village
31 Harry Potter
32 Holistic Nutrition
33 India 2020
34 India Gourmet Paradise
35 Infosys after Murthy
36 Job Satisfaction
37 Knowledge Workers
38 Learning Organizations
39 Local community in tourism
40 Managing Stress at Workplace
41 Micro finance in Tourism
42 Mind Control
43 Mobile Phones 2020
44 Molecular Gastronomy
45 National Telecom Policy-India
46 Neuromarketing
47 Non Proliferation Treaty
49 Organic Farming
50 Personal Aerial Vehicle (PAV)
51 Promise of NanoTechnology
52 Psycho-Kinesis
53 Public Private Partnerships
54 Quantum Levitation Technology
55 Responsible Tourism
56 Right to Information
57 Role of Trade Unions Today
58 Rural Tourism
59 Security Laws in India
60 Social Accounting
61 Speech Recognition Technology
62 Spiritual Tourism
63 Sustainable Energy
64 Tourism and Reigonal development
65 Tourism And Cultural Understanding
66 Tourism for Heritage Conservation
67 Tourism vehicle for communal harmony
68 Unconscious Motives
69 UNESCO India
70 Value Education – Why?
71 Vertical Gardens
72 Virtual Education
73 Wildlife Tourism
74 Work Life Balance
75 World without Facebook