Group discussion


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Aditi, Bijoy, Charu, Daisy and Ehsan are waiting for their group discussion to start. They do not have a topic yet and are waiting for the moderator to make everybody comfortable. There, the moderator looks at the clock and announces: “You have 5 minutes for this group discussion. And your topic is ‘How to Succeed in Group Discussions.’ Please start.”

Bijoy: This should be interesting. A GD on GD! I suggest we should discuss the importance of a GD first. I mean, why have a GD at all?

Charu: I find this very strange. How can you have a GD on GD? We should be discussing some current topic to test our knowledge.

Ehsan: I agree that this is rather unusual. At the same time, our job is to conduct a meaningful discussion regardless of the topic. Bijoy has suggested we start with the importance of GD. Today, GD is a very important part of various selection procedures.

Aditi: GD is all about teamwork. That’s all.

Bijoy: Management is all about working with people. I suppose GD is one way of establishing one’s ability to work with others. How we are able to lead and be led.

Charu: (Laughs) You are using some impressive management jargon, my friend! I don’t think GD has anything to do with leading or being led. At the most, a GD may give an idea about how a business meeting is held. Otherwise it is only about sharing your knowledge with others.

Bijoy: (Visibly irritated) Looks like you are very sure about your knowledge. Perhaps there is no need for a group or even a discussion?

Ehsan: We have some interesting points here, Leadership and sharing knowledge. Perhaps, a GD is a good tool to assess how well you are able to function within a group.

Daisy: I want to…

Aditi: I don’t think any discussion is meaningful unless everyone has the same level of knowledge.

Daisy: I want to say something. Pardon if I make any wrong. I am from vernacular medium…

Aditi: Don’t waste our time talking about your background. The topic is GD. Talk about that.

Bijoy: Every subject has various angles. So, many heads can raise many ideas.

Charu: Also, too many cooks spoil the broth (laughs).

Ehsan: Yes, a group makes it possible to brainstorm any issue. Perhaps Daisy has something to add to this thought ...

Daisy: Thanks for giving me chance. A GD is good for ‘consensus.’ It is always better everybody agree. Otherwise only one person is there.

Charu: (Leaning forward and pointing to Daisy) I think the correct word is consensus. Don’t use a word unless you know what you are talking about.

Bijoy: Consensus is fine. But is it necessary that everyone should have the same viewpoint?

Ehsan: That is an interesting thought. Yes, Daisy is right that a GD is about consensus but there can still be differences. A GD provides an opportunity to discuss various aspects of an issue and weigh merits and demerits of different approaches.

Charu: Agree to disagree.

Bijoy: But the question is how to succeed in GD’s. I think the first prerequisite is patience. Some of us must learn to shut up and let others talk (looks directly at Charu).

Aditi: If everyone follows that we will only have silence and no discussion.

Ehsan: I suppose the point is to participate and give others also a chance to participate.

Daisy: Please can I speak?

Aditi: Come on! You don’t have to beg for permission to speak!

Daisy: I said that because I thought someone might have wanted to speak before me. Anyway, is it not possible to only listen?

Charu: (Smirks) I don’t know how the moderator will rate your profound silence!

Bijoy: But Daisy, no one can read your mind. Unless you speak, how do you contribute?

Ehsan: I think a GD is very much like a business meeting. Every participant may present an individual point of view but the thinking about that point of view is collective.

Aditi: I don’t think you can compare a GD to a business meeting. In a meeting, there is usually a chairman whose job is to control the meeting.

Bijoy: A GD may not have a chairman but I suppose one person usually emerges as the leader and guides the discussion.

Charu: I suppose someone fancies himself to be a leader. This is so boring!

Moderator: Your time is up. Thank you everyone. Moderator’s notes: Ehsan shows leadership skills and the ability to hold a group together. He appears to have a good grasp of the subject though on the whole the GD failed to do justice to the core subject of how to succeed. Bijoy also has some interesting ideas but is prone to being provoked easily. Charu is too sure and too full of herself to be able to contribute to a group. Aditi is guilty of intolerance and rude interruptions. Daisy needs to work on her language and her confidence, though she may have the right concepts.