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Cracking GDs: 'Be assertive, not aggressive'
Kamal Wadhera
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January 22, 2009

If you are logical, and can put across your viewpoint effectively and manage to bring others around your viewpoint through the courage of conviction, you are the manager in the making!

You may be a great communicator but you can only CATapult yourself to the managerial chair if you can prove yourself to be a good board man and not a 'bored-man'; a good statesman and not a 'stats-man' in your GD.

While GDs put all your mental faculties to an acid test, something as small as a fist-in-the-air action can spell a doom for you. Yes, you can be down and out that soon.

Remember, it is a 'group' discussion. You can struggle to hog the limelight and not haggle to elbow others out. Don't [Images] act 'Mr. Know-all or Ms Know-all'. Do give sufficient space to your fellow speakers. Speak in measured tones and prove to be a valuable rather than a voluble speaker.

Most of the country's B-schools want their would-be managers to be the people with their feet firmly on the ground. They want them to be quick-thinkers -- to be able to take split-second decisions -- without tottering under pressure. Yes, they want them to have steely nerves and determination to take their companies to great heights.

Some points to ponder on:

It is needless to say that group discussions are basically initiated for segregating the grain from the chaff. Now is the time to prepare well for this exercise, rising above the ordinary, thinking beyond mere communication skills.

GD is the time where you are put under a scanner for full personality traits. As they say, looks can be deceptive but words coming from your mouth speak volumes of your real personality. The big brothers and big sisters are watching you and analysing you threadbare.

So, the bottom-line is, be assertive not aggressive. Prepare well to floor everybody with your acumen. Show everybody that you really mean business.

Good luck!

The author is chief executive officer of Tops Careers & You (, a premier organisation that has been preparing national and international candidates for high-end tests like CAT, XAT, JMET, SNAP, CET, FMS, IIFT and GMAT since 1998.

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