Group Discussions have always been one of those rounds that gives the jitters. How do you stand out in your group? How do you get noticed? How do you ensure your voice is not drowned among your peers who want the job just as much as you do?
After a discussion with our talent scouts and the collective acumen they have built from supervising over a thousand group discussions, we have compiled a handy guide for you to come across as one of the best candidates for the job. Take note!
Any Group Discussion exists to assess your communication, how you articulate your views. Moreover, a group discussion clearly reveals your team dynamics, which is a major variable when it comes to overall team performance and business success.
This is one of the first and foremost things as it creates a powerful first impression. It depicts the way you present yourself to the group and to the recruiter who is scrutinizing you. Needless to say, in any group discussion, how you say something matters just as much, if not more than what you say.
Action Step: Make sure your posture implies open communication. Keep your hands still; don’t get fidgety and restless. It sometimes helps when you imagine yourself to be the leader of the group. In this way, you end up feeling confident and maintain a good posture.
- Making eye contact when you speak
Though this step has been mentioned whenever and wherever possible, the fact is that way too many people neglect the impact eye contact has when you are speaking with someone.
Action Step: The key here is to not just make eye contact with one particular person but to look around, importantly at the person who’s talking. During your turn, you must try and cover everyone, including the recruiter. Imagine you are on stage or that you are addressing a social gathering because remember, you’re part of a team.
- Clarity of speech
In any group discussion, this is one of the major factors. How you put across your ideas plays a vital role because many times a team effort is about being empathetic to your teammates and responding appropriately with their views.
Action Step: It’s important to express your opinions in simple, concise and understandable English language. Jargon must be avoided as it makes you seem pretentious unless, you’re right and confident about its usage. Another issue that needs to be addressed is the covering of dead air/space. Ending sentences with “ok/no” or using Hindi/Tamil fillers should be strictly avoided. Instead, you could always quickly pause to think or just frame your sentence in a brief and simple manner.
Clarity of speech is always coupled with tone. The tone with which you speak says a lot about yourself and your character because no matter how strong your point might be, a bad or rude tone will definitely project a bad impression.
Action Step: Once you know what you’re saying, backing it up with a good tone is simple. Do not get aggressive or emotional about your view or argument. A patient, polite and soft spoken tone is all that is required. Even if you’re being confronted, make sure your counter argument starts with “I understand…” or “I agree…” or “it could also be..”. In this way you create peace and increase your credibility among the recruiter and candidates.
- Initiating or picking up a conversation
Many people find it hard to initiate or continue a conversation. Being the one who initiates the conversation helps you drive your points and will stay in the mind of the recruiter.
Action Step: To reiterate the fact, make things simple. You don’t have to worry about sounding different. If you’re told to initiate, then starting with a “good morning/evening. According to me…” would do. If you’re to pick up from another person, then “That’s interesting/ I understand. But I also feel…” would work.
- Skimming through the other person’s view and painting a rough picture about it in your head
Many people find it hard to listen to what the other person is actually saying because they become anxious about their reply. Empathy speaks a lot about you.
Action Step: In this case, you don’t have to listen to each and every word of what the other person says. Just pick up important keywords and paint a rough picture about it. In this way, you’re focused on a few important things and can eventually build your argument based on the same. Also, try not to interrupt while another person’s speaking.
- Framing your thoughts into words
Nobody can read your mind! They only hear what is spoken.
Action Step: Do a quick rehearsal in your head about what you’re going to say. Use the same keywords and frame your sentences in and around them. While speaking, don’t try to restrict yourself. The important thing is to not get anxious while talking. Be confident, be calm and your sentences will just flow through.
- Not trying to sound too smart
It is tempting to feel the need to outsmart the other person that they forget about what is actually being judged. This is often overlooked at the heat of the moment, but it is evident to the recruiter who has a neutral perspective in the discussion.
Action Step: Don’t try to get very technical about your argument unless, you’ve done a good research about the same. Remember, this is only a group discussion and not a case fought in court. However, if you’ve done your research and are confident about it, then go for it! If not, then following these guidelines will help.
- Being honest about not having an opinion on something but backing it up
Let’s face it. Sometimes the topic given might be of no interest to you or you just don’t have an opinion about the same.
Action Step: Again, it is important to stay calm. In this case, just listening and participating could still go a long way. The important thing is to say something and not just remain quiet throughout. Try and avoid initiating the conversation in this case. Once it’s your turn, first speak to the person who spoke before you. Start with “that was interesting…” and then address the crowd by saying “I don’t exactly have a view on this but I do agree/disagree about…”. You must try and hold the conversation. You must also gracefully embrace your weak opinion but, back up your defeat with a solid reason. Make people believe you’re still very much in this game.
- Be yourself after all
If anything, a recruiter can spot your pretense. They are trained to do that.
Action Step: Breathe. Relax. Think over all these points in your mind and remember to be authentic. We are sure you will ace the group discussion.