Many fresher find it very difficult to face Group Discussions(GDs) when they go for professional jobs. GD has been made almost mandatory for most of the professional placements. It is also essential for joining MBA courses. The article highlights the importance and significance and the tools and techniques involved in coming out of this process successfully. The expectations of the employer are explained briefly so that the candidates would develop the same to succeed. The entire session has been divided into three sessions such as pre-session, during session and post-session. The article explained about the norms and rules along with the responsible role of moderator to conduct it professionally. It also dwelt at length about the dos and don’ts during the session. At the end it concluded that it is a very easy process and there is fun in participation.

We discuss too many things in daily life at home or in office or in colleges on various topics. We find a few agree to us and a few disagree with us. At home if there are more family members and when they want to take a decision they talk to one another either at dinning table or at leisure time. After duration of heated or cool discussions they build a consesus and finalize a decision.

At the corporate level also there will be frequent meetings on various issues for taking a concrete and solid decision. Hence, we take decisions regularly whether in our personal life, professional life or social life by means of group discussions. Many companies are conducting Group Discussions (GDs) to prospective employees so as to check their suitability to their corporate culture. While we understood the concept of GD let us look at the objectives of the same.


The main objective of any GD is to provide wide range of solutions to a particular problem and then streamlining and creating a viable consensus solution by means of discussion. Discussions always provide more knowledge base. GD generates ideas by way of sharing and exchanging and at times it unlocks many things unconsciously as everyone has hidden potential. At times, new ideas flash from the subconscious mind unconsciously when provoked. It helps in eliciting the personality traits besides enhancing the knowledge base. Usually people tend to brood over problems only not on the solutions. GD helps in generating too many solutions if it is practiced properly. The corporate conduct GDs in order to find out a few qualities they expect from the prospective employees opting for executive cadre level.



Every employer expects a few qualities out of its prospective employees so as to improve and enhance value addition to its institution. There are number of qualities which are expected but a few of them are mentioned briefly.

• Initiative is essential. Without prompting the candidate should be able to take proactive stance in doing the things. He must be willing to come forward actively and voluntarily to shoulder the responsibility.
• Clarity of thoughts. Whether the candidate is able to express coherently, logically, forcefully and clearly his ideas and thoughts is assessed.
• Team building is an essential tool in the corporate world and conducting group discussion is one of the effective ways and means towards team building. If a candidate is not able to contribute towards an effective team he will become a liability. Team spirit is laid too much stress upon these days. In fact teams bring wonderful results because of many synergies and strengths.
• Content is king. Whether the candidate possesses requisite knowledge of the topic or does he beat around the bush.
• The ability to get along and adjusted socially with other colleagues is observed closely. Or whether is he socially inept.
• Emotional Intelligence is the ability to act and react to the situations without inviting any rift or conflict within the group. There is a strong need to display emotional stability and mental maturity in order to succeed in discussions.
• Leadership. It is a great trait which can be cultivated by continuous practice. The ability to lead from the front voluntarily so as to keep the interests of the group as paramount. The ability to manage divergent people with different opinions and views is essential.
• Interpersonal skills and relations is the area where every employer lays stress upon. In day to day life, everyone should learn to behave smoothly and productively for achieving organizational goals and objectives. Considerable amount of time is spent at the corporate world towards interpersonal skills.
• Ability to manage the given time and equally important is the ability to respect others’ time is more important. Many man hours are wasted because of improper time management.
• There should be burning desire and passion which is essential for success in professional life. As long as there is fire in the belly of an individual lot of results can be expected. There is growing stress on passion.
• Learnability is the ability to listen attentively and alertly to learn the things. As long as an individual possesses this trait the individual will grow personally and professionally.
• Flexibility is the ability to accept others’ viewpoints positively by considering the merits without any egoistic attitude. And also it is the ability to change oneself according to the surroundings and requirements.
• Presentation skills are essential at the corporate life. Every professional needs to deliver presentations regularly either to persuade his clients or his superiors or peers or subordinates.
• Above all, the employer looks for soft skills which are focused heavily these days.

The process of GD can be divided as pre-session, during session and post session so as to make it comprehensive and understandable.


Read number of books, journals, magazines and publications related to GDs. Also visit various websites which will provide right direction. Find out your strengths and weaknesses both at the personal and at the professional level. After taking stock try to overcome your weaknesses. Before going for the real session it is advisable to collect like minded friends and join as a team and conduct mock GDs. In fact, everyone involves in one discussion or the other in our daily life. By converting such informal discussions productively by channelising in a right direction, the art of discussion can be cultivated and inculcated.

Usually people talk of cinema and cricket and other gossips in daily life. And if the same ambience is covered and canvassed with controversial or thoughtful topics, we can make a mock GD. By practicing number of times before the real GD, we can gain wonderful expertise and experience. One may give too many theoretical guidelines and outlines but ultimately it is the practice that makes the man perfect. Through mock GDs the strengths and weaknesses can be analyzed and weaknesses can be corrected so that it becomes easy on the D-day.


The total number of participants must be minimum 8 and moderate level of 10 and the maximum must be 16. Beyond this it will be difficult to manage, concentrate and evaluate. The ideal size must be 8 to 10. And the time frame fixed is between 10 to 15 minutes. If the session is extended beyond 15 minutes it would loose its impact. Make the formation of the group either circular or rectangular.



Every GD will have a moderator who moderates the discussion. He ensures that the participants do not go out of the track. He must see to it that conflicts are averted and commotions are avoided. All efforts must be made to maintain the decency and decorum of the discussion. He should act like a leader and trigger passion amongst the participants. He should stimulate and bring out synergy from the strength of the participants. He should be free from pre-conceived notions and should not judge any participant by his appearance or academic achievements. He has to provide honest feedback to each participant without any prejudices. He must be supportive and sympathetic to the members without any favoritism.


• Speak clearly, audibly and politely. Do not use harsh tone.
• Initiate the discussion if you are confident of the topic and if you can provide valid justification to prove your point. Or else wait for the right opportunity to express.
• Don’t look at the moderator. Do concentrate on the topic only.
• Don’t jump into conclusions. Talk about the topic, provide valid points and then offer firm opinions.
• Listen attentively to the topic and weigh its pros and cons and then comment.
• Try to carry the participants along with you.
• Don’t get emotional and do maintain calm and stability.
• Don’t declare yourself as a self-styled leader.
• Never get sidetracked from the given topic.
• Don’t agree for the sake of agreeing in order to build consensus and don’t dilute your independent thinking.
• If someone talks for a longer time, request him to make it brief and concise and also request him to provide an opportunity for others too to speak.
• Present yourself professionally to create good impression.
• Do demonstrate conceptual skills, human skills, critical skills, analytical skills, common skills, hard skills and soft skills in the entire session.
• Do not interrupt the conversation. If you strongly feel to intervene then add statements like ’if you permit I would speak. . . .’ and then offer your comments.
• How you present is more important than what you present. Application of soft skills will prove to be handy.
• Do not monopolize or hijack the discussion. Provide opportunity to non participants to air their views.
• Don’t provoke any conflict.
• Never snub the participants. Always express assertiveness in your views.
• Support and substantiate your views with facts and figures or by narrating a brief story.
• If possible open the discussion with a wonderful quotation or shocking statements or revelations to make your comments catchy.
• Don’t speak for the sake of speaking but speak for the sake of providing substance.
• Honestly accept and accommodate the comments of fellow participants to get along with the participants. Don’t gaze at a particular participant and talk, rather shift your eye ball movement towards all the participants so that they will develop interest and curiosity to listen to you.
• Demonstrate positive body language.
• Be cheerful and maintain smile.
• Do lay stress on quality of delivery not the quantity.
• You may criticize the views or opinions of other participants but not them personally.
• When you differ with the views of other person, you may say like ‘I respect your views. However I differ with your views on the topic . . .’ and offer your own views.
• Be always tactful and diplomatic especially when your views are not in tune with that of other participant.
• Use simple and straight language and don’t confuse the participants with jargon.
• Present your views logically, coherently and forcefully.
• Look at the things from others’ perspective.
• Manage your time judiciously.
• Try to build consensus, collaborate and bring different viewpoints into one main line of acceptable level.
• At the end, take initiative to synthesize and summarize what was discussed and provide conclusion. But don’t add any fresh points.



After completion of the session, write down your experience by going flash back in the areas where you have done well and where you have gone wrong. Such constructive and creative self analysis will pave the way for better performance next time. Continuously practice such sessions in simulated situations so as to attain perfection, competence and confidence.



Participation in Groups Discussions is indeed fun and provides education and entertainment. Instead of depending too much on theoretical aspects it is essential to actively participate and learn the tricks of the trade. It is like learning how to swim and drive. GD teaches many lessons in life that will help become a successful and complete corporate personality.

About the Author :
Professor M.S.Rao is the Founder of MSR Leadership Consultants, India with more than 30 years of experience in leadership development.
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