Group discussion

CA Preeti Agarwal (article) (839 Points)

21 May 2012  

After posts related to Interview !! Now its turn for Group Discussion. For those who missed my posts related to interview. Click :- /forum/interview-tips-202379.asp


Group Discussion Tips

If you can follow few basic tips during a Group Discussion, you will find a way to be the best in a Group Discussion. Here are some tips that can help you while participating in Group Discussions

Maintain Eye Contact While Speaking

Do not just look at the evaluators. Maintain eye-to-eye contact with all the group members while speaking.

Initiate the Group Discussion

Initiating the Group Discussion can make a big plus point for you. But remember, take the initiation only if you understood the group discussion point, and only if you have proper knowledge and awareness of the topic. Speaking without proper knowledge can bring a bad impression on you.

Allow Other Participants to Speak

Do not try to interrupt someone while speaking. Even if you do not agree with their points or thoughts, do not try to grab the chance to speak. Instead, you can take notes while they are speaking, and raise the point and clear it out during your turn.

Speak Clearly

You should speak loudly, still politely and clearly, so that you can be heard by everyone. Try to use simple words that can be understood by everyone. Do not try to put heavy vocabulary thinking that it can bring a plus. Group discussion not to evaluate your language, rather it is to evaluate your communication skills, where it is necessary to be understood by everyone.

Even if you do not like someone’s point, or if someone’s point hurt you, try to express yourself calmly and politely, instead of being aggressive.

Don’t Deviate from the Topic

Do not try to bring points that are irrelevant to topic. Even by chance someone tries to distract the team from the topic; it is a good move for you to take the initiative to bring the subject back to the topic.

Positive attitude

Speak confidently. Don’t try to dominate other participants. Maintain positive body language.

Speak sensibly

Do not speak too much, just to add time to your speaking duration. It is not about how long you speak, it is about how sensibly you spoke. Though you speak for less time, it should be of sensible and relevant, and should try give an aim to the topic.

Be a Good Listener 

Pay attention while other members are speaking. This makes you involve in the group positively, and it brings a coherent discussion.

No Need of Statistics

The discussion is about how much you are aware of the topic. You do not need to come up with exact figures and numbers. As you have very limited time, just be precise and try to convey your thoughts in a short and simple language.

Formal dressing:

You should always attend a group discussion in a formal wear. No funny and fancy dressing. It is just like a personal interview.


While following the above tips, it is better for you to be aware of some personality traits that an evaluator looks for in the candidate, during a group discussion. Here is the list of the most essential personality traits that the candidates need to possess while participating in a Group Discussion.

Team Player

Business Schools and Organizations put a great importance on this factor because it is very important for managers or any other professionals to be good team players, because managers or other professionals always work in teams, and from team member he can become a team leader one day. Candidates who lack good team skills cannot become good team leaders.

Reasoning Ability

Reasoning ability also plays an important place while expressing your ideas and opinions at a Group Discussion. It is always good to give proper reasoning for your ideas and opinions. It shows your reasoning ability and makes your points reasonable and can be highlighted among the group.


Usually three types of situations arise in a Group Discussion.

1.       A Group Discussion where participants are not able to speak much or not able to coordinate properly

2.       A Group Discussion where participants may get emotionally excited and the Group Discussion gets chaotic

3.      A Group Discussion where participants discuss aggressively on the topic

Here, there is a need of a leader who can facilitate the third situation at a Group Discussion

A leader should have the following traits

§   Get the group back to the track while the group go away the topic

§   Coordinate different team member’s efforts in the Group Discussion

§  Contribute to the Group Discussion regularly with his/her valuable approach

§  Inspire and motivate other members to express their ideas and views

Along with the above, you should also try to steer the discussion towards the goal.


The candidate should be open to others ideas as well, and balance them with your own ideas. This is what flexibility is about. But it is not at all good idea to start a group discussion with a conclusion or a stand.

For instance, if the topic is ‘Should India declare war with Pakisthan?’, most of the candidates tend to get emotional and take a conclusion either against or in favor to the topic, like ‘Yes, India should declare’ or ‘No, India should not declare’.

By concluding, you are already expression your decision, so there is no need of discussion about the topic, i.e. you are indirectly saying you are not interested in considering other participants’ views.

Also, when you encounter a strong point of opposition during the conversation, you will face trouble with the conclusion that you made in the beginning

§  If you change your view from your conclusion, you will be considered as a fickle minded

§  If you do not change your view even when there is a clear explanation by someone on the topic, you will be considered as stubborn and inflexible candidate.


The participant should always express the point in a vigorous, confident and positive manner. Assertiveness is often confused with aggressiveness.

Aggressiveness is about forcing your views on the second person, and can look like a threat. Aggressive participant displays negative body language, where as the assertive person displays positive body language.


A general belief among all is that, it is a good move to take initiation in the Group Discussion, but it has a risk-high return strategy. You are suggested to take the initiation in a group discussion, only if you are very much aware of the topic. If you start the topic, and if you are not able to contribute in the discussion at regular intervals, it gives an impression to the evaluators that you initiated the Group Discussion just to score marks for the initiation.

Creativity/ Out of the box thinking

A perspective or an idea that opens new possibilities for the discussion is always appreciated. If you express a new idea that is discussed at a long length by the remaining participants, you can be found in the good books of the evaluator.

Inspiring ability

A group discussion is considered as good, when views of all the group members are incorporated. If you see someone trying to say something but are not able to express themselves, by giving them an opportunity to express their opinions and ideas, which will be considered as a positive trait by the evaluator.


This is where many of the participants get negative remark. Everyone wants to express themselves, but is never ready to listen to others point of view. You need to try to balance between expressing your opinions and considering others.


The candidate must be well versed with both the macro and micro environment. Your awareness on the environment helps you a lot on the Group Discussion content, which carries maximum score.