Role of Participants in a Group Discussion

The Group discussion is a task, which is generally aimed at understanding and evaluating candidate’s behavior in a group. Through this method, interviewers can compare and assess a candidate’s knowledge, communication, and mental strength. It is quite obvious through the name that Group discussion involves more than one members and it happens within a group. There could be different kind of participants in the group in terms of the roles that they play. Some of them are:

Starting point: You will notice that in the group, there will be some member who likes to initiate. One who is confident enough to start the discussion and set the tone right at the very first beginning is called the initiator. This position is a bit risky. If you are the one who is starting the discussion you have to be extra conscious. But do not think that if you have begun the discussion, you will keep your mouth shut during the whole conversation. You have to be active throughout the discussion.

Clear Facts: Few members of the group will be data driven. They provide precise data and facts and support their statement with statistics. They provide all the data in a logical manner and make their point stronger with facts. But it is also true that with only data you cannot win a discussion. You have to believe in those figures and put your mind enough to interpret it well. And yes...all your facts should be clear and truthful.

Controller: Some members in the group like to control the discussion. They think whatever they are saying should be approved by others as well which may or may not be the case. Others in the group can very well disagree to the point you are putting forth.

Moderate Referee: This category of the people acts as a coordinator. They ensure that each member gets sufficient time and chance to speak. When an argument gets heated up, they try to keep them calm and bring to a normal discussion by helping others putting across their words. This person is generally a good listener but might not be taken very favorably by others lest he should take all the leadership.

Born Leaders: They are born to lead. They do not have to put in much effort to lead a team. Their voice, their calm head, their gestures say it all. They do not fall in the trap of arguing rather support their points by strong logic, facts, and adequate examples. They have the ability to manage the flow of discussion and give it a right direction. Towards the end, a leader summarizes the entire discussion and squeeze out the conclusion.

Provocative: This person considers himself All in All. They give orders to others in the group and want everyone to act according to them. Sometimes they are annoying and provoke others with a high pitch or irritating voice. They eat up time of others by saying something which is not so relevant to the topic. They are poor listener and cannot comprehend what other’s points are.

Fault Finder: There are some group members who intentionally find fault in everything that the other person is saying. They have objection on anything and everything about other’s pint of view. They criticize almost every other point.

Followers: This is just contrary to the above-mentioned category fault finder or criticizer. This category of people generally agree and support other’s point. They show their agreement by nodding their head or with some other gesture which normally means that they cannot agree more to the point. This kind of people generally do not score well as they do not show their own significant points and logics and merely depend on other’s views

Question Mark: This kind of people, always question others. He/she sometimes irritate other group members by questioning even for a simple understood fact. Rather than putting their own opinions, they tend to interrogate and raise a question in other’s points.

Stopwatch: These kinds of people are quite interesting to observe. During the discussion, they just do not get swayed by the flow of topic, rather keep a check on every other aspect, such as how much time has passed, how much time is still left, who all have had the chance to give their opinions and who have not, etc. They are keen to maintain the order and dignity. But it is better for these category people to come up with their own impactful views.

Aggressive: These members easily get annoyed and get antagonistic at times. They care less about other’s points, sentiments, feelings, and values. They attack verbally in their counterparts and harsh in their tone.

Audience/Viewer: They do not have their own substantial views and opinions. They hardly speak up and hardly make any difference. They just see and listen what others are speaking and never put their own views forward.

Indecisive: This category of people are unlikely to get selected as they are very much indecisive and having a fickle mind. They sometimes contradict their own words and statements. They are unable to express their ideas in an organized manner. They also get too emotional during the conversation and unnecessarily divert the topic from the main point. They agree or disagree with anyone and everyone.

Capturer: This kind of people record every point what others are saying. They take down notes and facts, details, etc. They can be referred later on when someone in the group has forgotten any point.

The Settler: They can be referred as Harmonizer and can find a mid-way of any problem. They avoid extremes and contribute in releasing tension within the group when an argument heats up.

Gist Maker: This defines the position as someone who summarized the entire discussion and draws some valid conclusion through the topic of group discussion.

Blockhead: This kind of group members does not take any initiative to present their views. They are lacing innovative or rather any ideas, opinions and logical views. They do not contribute any positively to the group.

Each of these roles is a part of a Group discussion and plays an important role within that. Their behavior and the role they are playing can talk a lot about their personality, mindset and their thinking.


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