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Group  Discussion

Main Topics Guidelines Elements Agenda Doubts Assessment


In a letter to a friend, Ben Fralnkiln wrote in 1789: " In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes." If Franklin were to look at contemporary life, he would probably amend his statement to include group discussion. Groups run our democratic society. Groups run industry, government, even the educational enterprises. In fact in almost every activity of the modern day man, there is one form of group discussion are as inevitable as death or taxes, they are bound to be as popular as well.

It is because of this growing reliance on group activity that group discussion has taken so much importance and is even uses as a selection criteria for admission to business schools and professional organisations. The examiners want to test how effectively are individual is able to participate in a group, how he contributes towards group objectives, how much importance he gives to group objectives vis a vis his own, how well does he listen to other's points of view and how open-minded he is towards accepting contrary views.

It is therefore essential that we all know how to size up a group, how to discover what a group might accomplish, how to talk in ways that might influence others, and how to resolve (and not avoid) conflicts that sometimes impede groups.

Learning how to be productive in a group can give your career a valuable boost, as it is basic to succeeding in our society. It is true that Group Discussion is as inevitable as death and taxes, but neither is it as final as death nor as painful as taxes. In fact, it may be one inevitability that people may enjoy and find productive.

Learning about skills can be done by reading literature on group discussions. However, learning alone does not guarantee success in executing these skills. In addition to reading literature, by participating in simulated exercises and by observing others, one can develop one's own style. Listening to criticism will enable one to correct one's errors and learn more effective ways of behaviour.

Through some of the IIM's do not mention it specifically in their call letters, the IIM interview is preceded by a group discussion. The numbers of participants vary from 12 to 15, depending on the number of absentees. There are, normally, 2 observers. Before announcing the topic, one of the observers may ask the group members to introduce themselves. So, do be ready with what to say by way of introducing yourself.

I am Sabeer Bhatia. I work with Campusrox.com as a Designer.

OR

"I am Jerry Wang. I am a final year student of economics'

Make it short, but clear. Do not add your interests and achievements unless the observer has asked you to do so. You would do well to keep ready a brisk 2 or 3 sentences to cover these, though.

After this ritual is over, the observers will announces his topic, Sometimes he may give about 5 minutes time for you to arrange your ideas. Do not waste this time in gaping blankly at others; employ it in anticipating the nature of the discussions that will follow. Decide on which side you are. What are the main points you should make? Could you open the discussion convincing? Or, would you rather be the second one to speak?

Sometimes in place of a general discussion topic, a management situation (case study) may be given for discussion. These 5 years IIM (A) has used for group discussion case studies such as are given in Chapter 2 of this Note. At the Bajaj institute they often use the themes of R.K.Laxmanís cartoons (You said it) for initiating group discussions. (The IIM (A) also asks you to prepare a written summary of the discussions after the discussion is over).

Earlier we have sent you a list of popular discussion topics. Most of those have, at one time or another figured in the discussions of past years; they may be used again, In addition, this note contains a list of some more topics asked in the last few years. You would do well to remember that knowing the main points of the topics is of utmost importance to you. Work methodically on all the topics listed, and try to identify the points on both the sides of the issue-not only the point of view you feel partial to, but the other side as well. This practice will prepare you adequately to counter the arguments of the opposite camp.

Those of you who would like to gather important statistics (to be uses sparingly in discussion) would do well to take their figure either from the statistical Handbook of India (TATA Economic Consultancy Services) or from the Times of India Directory. These are considered authoritative and up to date.

Some to the topics, we sent you, will have marked, having nothing controversial about them, In the discussions of these topics the originality of your contribution is most important.

The discussion lasts for about 15-25 minutes. Sometimes, after the discussion you are given a piece of paper to write down in5 minutes, the summary of the discussion you had. What is intended to be found out is mainly, your listening ability- whether you took note of all the points, for and against, that came up during discussion, and the consensus (if any) that may have emerged. The sample of the Group Discussion Evaluation Sheet, given at the end of this note will give you a fair, idea of how your performances will be judged. Do look up Chapter 4 of this note for some. Do's and Don'ts of the GDs.



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