Group Discussion (GD) is like a parliament in session where statements and counterstatements, agreements and disagreements are registered. Candidates plays the role of either defender or offender as per their knowledge, opinion and choice. Though all have special parts to play, all the candidates need to follow the basic role of a positive participant.
Generally in GD, a problem-based topic is given for discussion and candidates are expected to use their analytical ability to measure its pros and cons and come out with the right decision. It becomes necessary for all to think about the topic rationally and prepare their points logically with facts and examples. They need to think how to solve the problem and prepare relevant questions which can constructively lead the discussion to a solution. While speaking, his/her speech should be loud, clear and audible. Everyone should try to present their ideas in simple language without using complicated terms. The goal should be to convince others. One point at a time must be discussed. When one is speaking then others should listen carefully and if possible should make a note of the idea and state, if they agree or disagree. Here others can also note if there is any additional point in context to the idea which they can relate later on. It will save the time and there will be no repetition of ideas. The speaker should not be interrupted. In case if they disagree they should note the relevant reason for the same which they can convey later. The disagreement should be shown in a polite and tactful way without hurting others. Instead of bluntly denying the idea, elaborations and logic can be asked for the idea. It should be kept in the mind that all are expressing their views to get a correct solution and all agreements and disagreements are for the expressed ideas and not for the speakers. Therefore all should display a healthy team spirit. This general instruction manual must be followed strictly as it decides on the positive and negative roles of participants.
Broadly there are four types of roles played during GDs namely Initiator, fountain head, piggy rider and spectator. The interesting fact of GD is that these four roles are switched among candidates as per their knowledge, attitude and expression from one idea to another.
- Initiator is somebody who acts like a beacon light. Just as a beacon light shows the presence of rocks and path to ships, in the same way the initiator defines the topic and tries to lend the discussion a specific direction.
- Fountain head is like an innovator who now and then bubbles with new and fresh ideas and pours them in discussion, which serves as food to think for all. S/he keeps the fire of discussion burning by poking or pushing woods of strong and important points related to the generated ideas. S/he acts like a soul to the body.
- Piggy rider is somebody who rides on the existing ideas in the discussion. S/he speaks after listening to others and can be termed as a best actress or actor in supporting role. Piggy riders form the body which is now and then shaken by the soul to realize their awareness. They mostly work as elaborators for the existing points in discussion.
- Spectator is somebody who makes negligible contribution in the discussion. S/he does not take discussion seriously and interrupts the process with inappropriate behavior. GD is not a spectator’s sport. The entire group has to come into the play. Never be a spectator in a GD.
Other than these four roles, there is one more crucial role of a leader that has to be played for moderation of discussion. Usually in GDs somebody is asked to play it or sometimes initiator or fountain head takes over this role. The leader mainly has to ensure participation of all the group members by asking questions and offering suggestions. The leader may have to act as a elaborator, coordinator, energizer, harmonizer and encourager. S/he has to strike a balance in discussion and be vigilant that no particular sub group leads and influences all unless their arguments are coherent. S/he has to watch that useful ideas generated in the discussion are well built for reaching solutions. S/he has to guard the group against negative behavior of individuals like putting others down, interrupting and fighting tendencies. S/he has to continuously drag spectators into piggy rider category. S/he needs to ensure that the disagreements should be analyzed properly. And finally summarize the entire discussion and its output. A Leader is somebody who puts the various pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together.