Monday, January 17, 2011


Initiating a GD is a high profit high loss strategy. Whenever a candidate initiates a GD, he apart from grabbing an opportunity to speak also grabs the attention of the examiners and his fellow candidates. So if a candidate, who initiates the GD, is able to make a favorable first impression through his content and communication skills, it will help him sail through the GD. On the other hand, if a candidate while initiating a GD stammered, stuttered or quoted wrong facts and figures, the damage done is irreparable. Moreover, the candidate who initiates a GD has the onus to put the GD into right perspective or framework. So one should “Initiate a GD” only when one has an in-depth knowledge about the topic at hand.
If a candidate has initiated a GD and after that he does not speak much in the GD, even if his initiation was impeccable, it gives an impression that he started the GD just for the sake of starting it or getting those initial kitty of points earmarked for an initiator.
There are different techniques to initiate a GD so as to make a remarkable first impression. A candidate can initiate the GD through any of the following techniques: -


  2. Definition

  3. Question

  4. Shocking statement

  5. Facts figures and statistics

  6. Short story

  7. General statement
Quotes are an effective way of initiating a GD. If the topic of a GD is “Should censor board be abolished”, one can start with a quote, “Hidden apples are always sweet”. For a GD topic, like “Customer is the King”, one can quote Sam Walton’s famous saying, “There is only one boss – The CUSTOMER. And he can fire everybody in the company from the Chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”
One can start a GD by defining the topic or an important term in the topic, for example, if the topic of the GD is “Advertising is a diplomatic way of telling a lie”, one can start a GD by defining advertising as, “Any paid form of non-personal presentation and promotion of ideas, goods or services through mass media such as newspapers, magazines, television or radio by an identified sponsor”.
Similarly, for a topic, like “The Malthusian Economic Prophecy is no longer relevant”, a candidate can start by explaining the definition of Malthusian Economic Prophecy as “Malthusian ‘Principle’ states that population increases ‘geometrically’ or exponentially and that subsistence increases arithmetically. Thus, population increases along the order of 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32…, whereas subsistence limps along at the rate of 1, 2, 3, 4…”
Asking a Question is an emphatic way of starting a GD. It does not signify asking a question to any of the candidates in a GD so as to hamper the flow, it implies asking a question and then answering it yourself. If in a GD a question is being asked to hamper the flow of a GD or to insult a participant or to play devils advocate, it should be discouraged, but if a question is being asked so as to promote the flow of ideas, it is appreciated.
If the GD topic is “Should India go to war with Pakistan”, you can start by asking a Question, “What does war bring to the people of a nation. We had 4 wars with Pakistan till date, but a pertinent question is what have we achieved?”
Shocking statement
Initiating a GD through a shocking statement is the best way of grabbing immediate attention and putting forth your point. If a GD topic is “Impact of Population on Indian Economy”, it can be started as, “Near the center of the Indian capital stands a population clock that relentlessly ticks away. It tracks 33 births a minute, 2,000 an hour, 48,000 a day, which calculates to nearly 12 million every year. That is roughly the size of Australia. As a current political slogan puts it, ‘Nothing’s impossible when 1 billion Indians work together’.”
Facts figures and statistics
When a candidate decides to initiate his GD through Facts, figure and statistics, he should quote them accurately. Approximation is allowed in macro level figures but micro level figures need to be correct and accurate, e.g., we can say that approximately 70% of the Indian population stays in rural areas (macro figures, approximation allowed), but we cannot say 30 states of India instead of 28 (micro figures, no approximations).
If a person ends up stating wrong facts it works to his disadvantage. For a GD topic, like “China, a rising tiger”, a candidate can start, like, “In 1983, when China was still in its initial stages of reform and opening-up, China’s real use of FDI only stood at USD 636 million. China actually utilized USD 60 billion of foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2004, which is almost 100 times that of its 1983 statistics.”
Short story
A short story can be used in a GD topic, like “Attitude is everything”. This topic can be initiated with the help of a short story as follows, “A child once asked a balloon vendor who was selling helium gas filled balloons whether a blue coloured balloon will go as high in the sky as a green coloured balloon.
The balloon vendor told the child that it is not the colour of the balloon but what is inside it which makes it go high.”
General statement
A general statement can also be used so as to put the GD into proper perspective, e.g., if the GD topic is “Should Sonia Gandhi be the prime minister of India”, one can start the GD by putting it into proper perspective, like “Friends, before jumping to the conclusion, ‘Yes, Sonia Gandhi should be…’ or ‘No, Sonia Gandhi should not be…’, let’s first find out the qualities of a good Prime Minister of India. Then we can compare these qualities with the qualities possessed by Ms. Sonia Gandhi. This will help us in reaching a conclusion in a much more objective and effective manner.”