Monday, January 08, 2007

GD - How to handle a fish market GD

Shankar had posted a comment and had asked my suggestions on how to handle a chaotic discussion. He was concerned that the whole group would get eliminated in such a case and had asked if there was some room for selection in such a case. I had replied with my comments on the 'comment section', but thought I will post it here so that people dont miss out on it.

GDs become fish markets either due to topics that generates opposite and strong passions. Or it could be just because there are 2-3 people who are passionate about everything they speak and dont agree with each other. Among the points I have given below, the first few are more relevant to the first case and last few are more relevant to the second case.

Some ideas on finding the shore when you are lost in such a sea
1. Withdraw from the fight.

2. Calm down, look cool and think on good points. People are fighting and losing out time on thinking new points. Use the opportunity.

3. Think on two or three definite points you want to make and make them in between (loud and clear) and withdraw. The panel will certainly take a note of this.

4. Make sure that the points you make are not obvious. E.g., in a discussion on topic like 'world is becoming intolerant', once the fish market behaviour starts, do not tlk about terrorism, religious hatred etc at all. That will be covered by others and people will be fighting for it. Make points like 'intolerance also has a positive effect. I feel we have become intolerant to govt lethargy and the govts these days seem more responsive.' After making the point loud and clear, back off and think of the next point :)

5. Try and see if you can bring a complete different perspective. Many times it may not be possible since the topic is such.

7. Try to garner support with eye-signs of a couple of people in the group who are also feeling that the group is getting too noisy. Usually it is one or two in the group who are the rotten apple. If you can isolate them, then you can still have a sensible discussion.

8. Help others get in and they will help you in return. E.g., You can say, 'I think Mr Vishal here has been waiting to make a point. Lets here him out before we proceed". People may not listen to you when you want to break in, but will listen to you when you are trying to tell them to listen to someone else. Remember in a GD, you not only get marks to make points, but also for encouraging a good discussion (which is the final purpose of the GD afterall).

9. Do not get up from your seat or get flustered or beat up anybody :)

10. Leave the rest to the panel.

Some other points to note
1. Usually the panel intervenes if it gets too noisy because they dont 'want' to put good candidates in losing situation because a few are fighting it out.

2. If it continues, the panel may ask a couple of people specifically (especially the ones they feel have not been allowed by the group to make a point) to say 2-3 sentences. You have to be prepared for such a scneario. When such an opportunity strikes, you should not be found thinking or repeating points.

3. If the whole GD goes bad, the chances are that the panel will ask you for your points in the interview. Be prepared and dont get googlied. Talk crisp, talk sense and do try to kick the group in the butt. You can take a position like "I think that people in group were too eager to prove themselves. Given a less competitive environment, the group was capable of having a more productive discussion"

4. If in the worst case you think everything got screwed up and the panel did not make any efforts to save your soul and you want to make one last attempt at redemption, talk about it at the end of the interview. Just tell them that you had a couple of points to make in the GD that you couldn't because it was too noisy. Do this only if you think that the situation is desperate.

Though such GDs are not very common, they are not rare either. I had such an experience in IIMB during our interviews for summer internship. And of course all these people had cleared the CAT GD process :)) I think it was the pressure situation that got them.

Hope the comments help



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