Thomas Zachariah 

Life Skills & English Language Coach @ BICS | Public Speaking-CRM-Placement Expert | Pep Talker | Corporate Trainer.  E-mail: [email protected]

Being as a social animal, every human has a natural tendency to form or join in groups and then to communicate with each other. Hence every group involves a great amount of interaction as well as mutual influence. Aswamedham in the Purana is expanding the empire but here it means to conquer the hearts with the variety and valueness by the candidate during the GD.

What is Group Discussion?

GD is a formal conversation in a professional setting such as academic, business and administrative spheres.

  • It is a structured communication process with a definite purpose.
  • It is to share/exchange the views/information of the participants on a topic/issue/ problem in an organized way.
  • In this conversation, the participants are together to create, interpret, and negotiate shared meaning through their interaction.
  • GD is not an activity to win an argument or to amuse other members of that group but to help each group member to explore and discover personal meanings of a text with other participants.
  • Group discussion should not seek to convince; rather, it should deal with matters unresolved and seek to help each member find meanings that did not exist before.  (Adapted from A.W. Combs, The Professional Education of Teachers.)

The Key Principle of GD

“By working together, however, individuals in a group can achieve far more than individuals working alone.” (Effective Group Discussion: Theory and Practice by Gloria J. Galanes & Katherine Adams, 2013)

How does Group Discussion differ from a Debate?

Though both of them can be defined as a process of structured communication in a formal context Debate and GD are two distinctive interactive activities.

In a debate the participant is assessed by the amount of knowledge he or she possesses, however, in a GD while counting on the same as in Debate, the score would be shared with the readiness to accept and learn new dimensions of the given text.

A debate is competitive in nature while group discussion is more of a collaborative group process. In a debate, a speaker can speak either ‘for’ the topic or ‘against’ the topic whereas in a GD, the speaker can express both. But it never means that the speaker can be volatile or stubborn.

The final decision or result in a debate depends on voting while in a GD, the group reaches group consensus.

Why is a group discussion an important activity in a placement process?

As GD is an effective and easy tool to assess the prospective candidate’s ability in problem-solving, decision making, leadership skills, and interpersonal skills, it has an inevitable role in the selection process. A participant should know how to speak with confidence, how to exhibit leadership skills and how to make the group achieve the goals.

How does a group discussion conduct? There will be a panel of the technical or subject experts and assigned staff from the HR (Human Resource) of the company will be there. They will observe the ideas put forward, their originality, the depth of analysis and their relevance to the topic by every participant.

  • Their sole duty is to observe and evaluate the participants of the team.
  • Initially, the introduction of the panel, the rules of the GD – the time limit, panel’s expectations, etc. are explained
  • This follows a topic or case to be discussed is given to the group members.
  • The panel does not interfere during the discussion, it only observes.
  • The panel at its discretion may provide some time to think over the topic.
  • Each candidate is supposed to express their opinion either supporting or against the topic.
  • The discussion carries on until the panel signals termination.

As a candidate, the four major areas are there to measure in GD

Subject Knowledge

The greater your knowledge of the subject, the more enthusiastic and confident you will be during the discussion.

Communication skills- including articulation of thought

How do you good at in generating ideas as well as organize them so that you present it well or not? Active listening capability, the manifestation of apt gestures and substantiate the viewpoint, etc. will also be tested in this part. Indeed, listening is as important as speaking in a GD, unless you listen, you cannot contribute to the stated purpose of communication.

Leadership skills

If a person putting forward new ideas that may work will be accepted as the natural leader of the group. The panel evaluates a candidate’s personal skills which allow him to prove himself as a natural leader in the GD. Note this, there is no appointed leader in a GD, a leader will emerge.  and

Team management

If you are considerate to other participants and open to other views would signal your interpersonal skills. Your group behavior is reflected in your ability to interact with the other members of the group. You must be mature enough to not lose your temper even if you are proved wrong. You must be patient and balanced.


So participating in a GD itself is an opportunity to expand your horizon of knowledge as in the Aswamedham, here the territory you need to explore is the wisdom.

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