Common Mistakes to Avoid in Group Discussions



Group discussions have emerged as a common hunting ground of prospective candidates for prime institutes as well as the leading employers today. The organizations rely heavily on this process to pick out the probable aspirants from the incoherent horde of applications that arrive on a daily basis on their desk. The least you would like to do is to commit a dim-witted mistake and be thrown out of the selection procedure.

The Purpose of Conducting a GD

Common purpose of a group discussion
Every institution yearns for a pool of best chaps to adorn their premises, and a group assemblage is just meant for this very purpose. A person who suits to their organizational values, shows the signs of dependability and commitment and has the appetite to learn and flourish – is all that they require for their establishment. If you are too awkward, nervous, overconfident, sloppy or arrogant, you are bound to loose in spite of all the preparation and rehearsal. The more you keep a check on gaffes, the better chances you command at the competition.

Focus Elements of a Group Discussion


Many slip ups are involuntary – the result of haste, nervousness or unpreparedness. As such you can do nothing about them once you enter the debate room. What about knowing them and preventing them from showing up all at once at the wrong moment? Read through the below mentioned list of common blunders that are under your control to avoid them from jeopardizing your opportunity to come out as a victor in the contest.


1. Not Taking Proper Rest a Night before the GD . 


This mistake can be fatal. Once you start looking sloppy and absentminded, you are immediately thrown out of the competition. You may forget your proposition amid the debate, become blank or clueless while speaking or, at worst, lean at the table in front of you. To evade the arrival of this situation, you should ensure proper sleep and refreshment a day before the test. A fresh and jovial face will surely earn you some brownie points.


2. Not Getting Dressed Properly


A well-knit formal attire is the way to go. It will boost your aplomb and make you seem pleasant and tough before anyone who encounters you.  Very showy or glaring outfit is bound to attract the unnecessary attention of the assessment panel, which is not desirable here. Some institutions allow the use of informal garbing in GDs. If you are not informed or communicated about this, its better to choose the safer way and dress conservatively.


3. Making a Wrong First Impression


Your turn to make the first impression count starts long before the commencement of GD session, and hours earlier than many of the aspirants even realize. How you behave at the reception counter and how you chat with your fellow participants outside the discussion hall - are immensely significant to the final outcome. Modern institutions keep a track of every activity undertaken by the candidate once he is inside their premises.  In addition, A good morning is also a prerequisite to balance your mood and prepare you for the meeting.


4. Repulsive Body Language


Your body language speaks a lot more about you than yourself or anyone else. This is the first aspect which is noticed about you and also the most defining feature of your personality you are remembered for. Display the best facets here. Your posture should be descent and compact. It should show nerve and self-belief. Don’t try to lean on the table or on your side or relax bizarrely on the chair – it is sure to piss off the judges. Don’t fix your eyes on the assessment panel or on a particular contestant. Rather, make a pleasant and poised eye contact with the group as a whole. Sit straight with your legs apart if you are a male. Ladies are not forbidden from crossing their legs. Have a control over your facial expressions and movement of hands while you address the audience. Don’t try to act pointlessly in a comic or a bleak fashion. Be yourself.


5. Keeping Mum


This is the greatest of all the sins you can afford to commit in a group discussion. You have not gone there to remain silent, but to contribute to the conversation and earn points. It is plausible that you don’t know much about a given topic. In that case, it is better to offer the initial chance to others until you come across an idea and you want to convey it. When you are ignorant about anything it is better not to speak, but being hushed up throughout the procedure will ruin your prospect for selection. Speak something you are confident of at an appropriate time. Express your ideology, if you don’t have the data.


6. Speaking Too Much


A GD is a place to exchange your views about a given topic and arrive at a consensus. It is not the place to address a mum audience from the rostrum and inflict your superiority upon others. Doing this will only expose your arrogance and triviality. To ensure that your each word has a value stamped upon it you should break in after right intervals to give other the change to produce their ideas before the co-debaters. Express your views for sure, but if they are too many, cut them short or choose the ones that are most crucial to the argument. Let others speak too.


7. Making a Factually Wrong Statement


Be extra-careful about bragging yourself for something you don’t know. It’s a group and there is a big possibility that someone or other will spot it and even point to it in front of a relishing audience. Even if your blunder gets through unnoticed, the assessment team is sure to punish you for your inanity. This also makes you feel awkward for the rest of the duration in a GD and your chances of smooth revival are slim.


8. Being Nervous


Being nervous is not a mistake in itself. It is just a reaction to the various impulses your body feels at the given moment. Though it is merely another reflection of your mental composure, it has a huge bearing upon the result. You can stutter, stammer, or halt between your speeches to display and earn a bad reputation from the panel. Practical public speaking lessons and yoga courses will remove your hesitation and nerve problem from the route. But, this has to be done in advance.


9. Interrupting Too Often


It is fruitful to interrupt someone who is leading the conversation on a wrong direction. If the topic of GD is led astray, and is going off-track, it is OK to meddle. But interrupting without proper reasons will attract penalty for sure. Once your arrogance is visible to the participants, it is hard to form a consensus even when your proposition is right. This is why this trait of a candidate is given so much importance to. You should know when to speak and when to stop.


10. Engage in Heated Arguments


It often seen that when we debate about contentious issues, the result is a frenzied spat where people often lose their cool and become personal. The purpose of a group chat is defeated when this is done. This single blooper will overpower all your merits and the judges will be forced to intervene or throw you out of the possible list of contenders. No matter how strong and argument put it gracefully before your peers. Maintain your composure. If you have to contradict a notion, do it with dignity. The ability to curb your wish to yell at an opponent is also a desirable trait the judges want to test.


11. Being Needlessly Agreeable


Arriving at a conclusion doesn’t require your approval and you need not be too agreeable with opinions put forward by your fellow contestants. Nodding your head to every postulate presented by every person will only make you appear an easy going person. It is never going to aid your cause of winning the conversation. If you disagree with something, don’t hesitate to convey your thoughts accordingly. And of course, you are bound to nod your head sometimes if you feel it’s right. But be informed that you have to add something of your own to the congregation.


12. Taking the Wrong Initiative


You can start a GD in numerous ways. The most popular ones I have discussed in one of my earlier posts. Every method requires that you fully understand and uprightly comprehend the topic in question. Sometimes, in effort to take a lead in the GD, you just utter anything without giving due thought to your proposition.  This should not be done. If you  make a wrong assumption or present a faulty figure or data to commence a GD, you will face the ire of the evaluation committee. An erroneous beginning may lead the group discussion into an incorrect course making the whole affair a futile one.


13. Not Making Enough Contribution


Many of the contenders think that speaking once or twice after waiting tediously for their turn suffices in cracking the GD and are reluctant to open their mouth more than once. This is a huge mistake. A meaningful contribution means that you are an inherent part of the team dissecting an idea. You should not always wait for your turn, and step in once you spot even a second of silence. For this, you have to jot down your ideas on a piece of paper while you are not speaking shoot in with them once you get an opportunity. And, when you speak, be audible enough. Don’t mumble, don’t shout.


14. Not Paying Attention


The art of listening is an essential managerial quality that every individual that wants to succeed in this rat-race ought to have. If you don’t pay attention to the views of other participants, you are never going to know where the GD is going, what you ought to say or what has already been said. Don’t be lost in thoughts about the topic. Think, but keep your ears and brain open. Make use of your presence of mind.


15. Not Making a Conclusion


The aim of a group discussion is to arrive at a conclusion. As there is a person who initiates the GD process, there must be someone who concludes a GD within the given frame of time. If your time is up before you realize it, you have not concluded it. In managerial terms, you have not made a decision and the time has elapsed. The whole group can be rejected sometimes for only this solo slip-up. Be conscious about the timings and conclude accordingly. Present the essence of the discussion in your conclusion.

Mistakes can be committed by anyone, but it is also possible to rectify them. But being proactive and avoiding them is the best route when it comes to group discussions where you never get a second chance to mend. You have to wait for a whole year for the same institute if you are a student. You wait for few more months or till the new opening if you are a professional. Why not protect ourselves from these gaffes and be on top of our generation.