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Features of A Group Discussion

The group discussion technique used for selecting candidates has the following main features:

A Form of Conversation

A group discussion is a multi-sided conversation that is spontaneous and not pre-planned. In such a conversation, there is no previous preparation and the discussion may start on any topic.

Different from a Debate

The group discussion is not a debate. All the members of a group have a fair opportunity to express their views on a given topic freely. In a debate, there is a mover of the proposition, a seconder of the ­proposition and then a leader of the opposition. The group in a debate is divided into two parts—one that speaks for the motion and the other that ­opposes the motion. To conduct the debate, there is a speaker or a chairman who calls upon the debaters one by one and allots a definite time limit for each debater. On the other hand, a group discussion is quite informal and is not conditioned by such procedural rules as in the case of a debate. Here the candidates can say whatever they like and whenever they like on the subject under discussion.

No Interference from the Examiner

The members of a group are left quite free to discuss the topic without any interference from the examiner. The examiner or the testing officer, as he/she is called in group discussions, acts as a silent observer in the background. In selection interviews, the candidate has to appear before the interview board face to face. In a group discussion, the members of the group sit around a table and face each other.

Discussion Revolves Around a Given Topic

In a group discussion a specific subject or topic is given for discussion and the candidates are required to talk on that particular topic only. They are free to talk for or against but they should confine the discussion only to the chosen topic.

Cordial and Friendly Atmosphere

An atmosphere of cordial friendliness pervades group discussions. In a selection interview there is always some nervousness because the candidate alone has to face the interviewer or the board members. On the other hand, in a group discussion the participants are of a similar background and as such there is no trace of fear or ­complexes and their natural group behaviour can be easily assessed.

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