Many Companies and Institutes have Group Discussion as one of their preliminary round to screen candidates. It is also observed that people who are good at Group Discussions perform better than those who are not, at higher levels in most Organisation. So it is essential for everyone to know the basics of Group Discussion so that he/she can deliver when required and prove that he is not just intuitive but cognitive when it comes to discussions. Lets jot down the basic questions that comes to mind when we talk about Group Discussion.
- What is Group Discussion ?
- Why is it needed ?
- What do they test in a Group Discussion ?
- How is it Different from a Debate ?
What is Group Discussion ?
A Group Discussion is free exchange of ideas on a given Topic. The topic could be general of specific, in rare cases the topic could be abstract too. It generally has more than 2 participants and the number can go till 15 in some cases. All the opinions are welcomed, whether the group reaches a conclusion or not. Candidates are generally made to sit around a table facing each other or facing the Observer panel. Group Discussion can be anywhere between 8 to 15 minutes depending on the rules specified by the Observer.
A Topic is given and about 10% of total time is allocated to think before the Group Discussion starts.
Why is it needed ?
There are numerous reasons why Group Discussions forms a basic part of the recruitment/screening process. While it is impossible to list them all, here are some important and obvious reasons.
- It helps you understand the subject deeply.
- It improves your ability to think logically.
- It helps in reaching consensus on difficult topics.
- It helps in improving listening skills.
- Increases your confidence in public speaking.
- It helps in getting views of others and thus giving you a wider perspective, which leads to much better decision/understanding.
- It shows your willingness to listen to others and interest in leading a group.
- It ensures that you will speak up for yourself in future, the list goes on….
What do they test in a Group Discussion?
- How good are your communication skills.
- How do you behave in a group.
- How open-minded you are.
- Are you a good listener.
- How well can you put forth your ideas.
- Your Leadership and Decision Making skills.
- Your attitude and confidence.
- Can you think logically under time constrain.
Group Discussion is not just limited to points mentioned above, it also checks on how aggressive and critical you are.
How is it different from a debate ?
From my personal experience I have seen that most people don’t understand the difference between the two. They use the terms Group Discussion and Debate interchangeably. Well let me make this clear for you, Group Discussion and Debate are entirely different in nature and the rules governing the two are diagonally polar to each other. Here are some quick differences between the two.
- Debate is for argument and to attack to win while group discussion is to exchange ideas and opinions for a better understanding of a topic.
- In a debate, speakers take turns to present their points while, in a group discussion, all participants can discuss a topic presenting their opinions without turns.
- The views of all participants matter in a group discussion while, in a debate, a speaker has to defend or attack to win.
- Debate is an argument while group discussion is communication of ideas
- Group discussion is constructive and cooperative while debate can be destructive too.