The Beginner’s Guide to Group Discussion

The Beginner's Guide to Group Discussion
Reading Time: 5 minutes

What is GD?

Whether it be an everyday conversation on the hot news, crying over the losses incurred in the stock market slowdown, loud conservation on our regular chai ki tapri, or the serious board discussions on How the company can achieve the desired quarterly results can be called Group Discussion(GD). 

A GD is simply a discussion where people come together, pitch in their ideas & solve a common problem, or it can just be a topic upon which like-minded people share their views.

Take it this way, recently Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) released their first animated series, “What if…?”. The fans went crazy over it, and it is the topic of discussion for fans. Another example includes a political party at the time of elections. They need to discuss their strategies upon which person will get a ticket to contest elections or enhance public relations, which will help them win the elections. These are the topics discussed during the meetings. A GD allows people to reach a common ground and derive essential conclusions from it.

GD tests the soft skills of the candidate and helps them magnify their social skills. It has become an effective tool to test candidates leadership, management, and technical skills.

Types of GD

A GD is of basically two types, namely

1. Topic-Based Group Discussion

2. Case Study Based Group Discussion

In the first category, the topics are given to the candidates for discussion. GDS can further be classified into four types of topic-based GDs,

  • Controversial topics: These topics are intentionally given to the candidates to have every possibility of a GD turning into a debate. The thoughts regarding the issues are often clashing and lead to arguments between group members. These GDs specifically help the panelist test candidates about how they proceed through the discussion in a calm and civilized way by listening to each other’s points of view. It also showcases how the participants show tolerance to matters not agreeable to them.
  • Knowledge-based topics: This kind of topic helps in assessing the knowledge of the candidate. The participants must have the necessary knowledge about the topic given in the GD. They should refrain from speaking if the command is less than in that particular area.
  • Abstract topics: These can have single word topics and can also be considered difficult as a regular discussion has a particular framework around which the topic is discussed, but in an abstract GD, there is no specific framework, and the discussion may diverge and change suddenly as different points are brought forward.
  • Case Study topics: For the case study-based GDs, the problem is given to the candidates, and they are required to solve the problem. The time given for the research and preparation is significant. These kinds of GDs are often done in B-schools and are seldom asked in interviews.


  • A GD starts with an announcement of the topic, which may vary according to the type of GD.
  • Before beginning, a preparation time of 3 minutes is given where the participants can jot down their ideas.
  • Any participant can initiate the discussion, and anyone can continue while giving others equal opportunities to speak up, considering everyone’s point of view.
  • In the end, one person should gather all the significant points to conclude the GD by summarising them and drawing meaningful conclusions

Importance and things to take care:

GD is one of the most significant parameters by which the recruiters screen out the candidates. Many candidates face issues in the GD round. Specific points must be taken care of while in a GD, such as:

Having considerable knowledge about the topic given.

  1. Body language is the key. Showing poor body language makes an abysmal impression on the panelists.
  2. Do not fight during a GD: this is one of the significant problems that disrupt a GD. People often become loud and unruly during GD to prove their point, which leads to the conversion of GD into a debate where no one is interested in understanding the point of view of their peers. This often has a negative impact on the panelists and is one of the significant reasons for the blacklisting of candidates.
  3. Always try to lead with valid points.
  4. Encourage those who have not spoken much. Doing this makes a very positive impact on the panelists and always carries cherry points.
  5. Try to bring the flow of GD in relevance to the topic given whenever the discussion is going off the rails.

How can a GD be successfully conducted?

Points to keep in mind for a GD

  • Communication is the key, and it includes not only speaking but also listening. It helps understand the topic from different points of view. It helps to think accordingly and help reach a solution quicker.
  • Avoid interrupting. It is a discussion, not a battle. Convincing others is an essential skill as it will surely make you stand out in a GD.
  • Staying relevant to the topic and a good detour of the topic helps.
  • Be clear with speech and thoughts. Being interactive and confident might seem like big gestures to follow up. However, as one starts thinking in the right direction, it naturally speaks up even if one is wrong. It is a discussion.

In a GD, how we begin and how we end is essential. Furthermore, a straightforward way to conclude flawlessly can be the “INVERTED FUNNEL APPROACH.” In this, we can jot down the ideas and views of others and ours and create a perfect sequential list that can be used for the conclusion.

Abstract GD

Abstract means existing in thought or as an idea but not having physical or concrete existence. Love and beauty are abstract concepts, which also means they can be perceived differently by every person.

A specific topic can have bias, can make us think either direction, like yes or no, wrong or right, against or for. It has a sense of familiarity. Our brains are forced to look at it and think of it in a simplistic way, which eliminates the possibility of biases, and allows the participant to push boundaries and look at different perspectives.

How to keep speaking when one has exhausted every basic interpretation

When a topic is first presented, every person starts by thinking about the basic interpretations. It may be the same for other people too. Looking at a topic in a different light may help. Consider it as an image, flip it, rotate it, twist it and look at its colors and contrasts. Your mind might now delve into the depths of the topic and find various paths and approaches to think and talk about.

Now, even if the discussion is based on every person’s interpretation, the interpretation should stay relevant to the topic. To ensure it stays that way, a universal point of reference can be kept in mind, which means it should be something that the whole group may identify with. When you start thinking beyond the same usual interpretations, that is when one may start finding connections.

A secret to thinking of ideas faster and enhancing the overall discussion scope in an abstract GD lies in the mnemonic SPELTER.

S: Social

P: Political

    E: Economical

L: Legal

T: Technological

E: Environmental

R: Religious


The topics can be associated with SPELTER and can widen the horizon of the whole discussion. GDS holds a special place in academic and professional setups and is one of the most valuable and practical tools to overcome an institutional problem.

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