How to speak well in SSB Interview Group Discussion without dominating

When do you know that you have performed well in the Group Discussion?

Or if we reframe that question to-

What exactly does it mean to perform well in a group discussion?

-> Is it speaking for the most of the time?

-> Is it initializing or concluding the Group Discussion?

-> Is it speaking fluently in English all the time?

-> Is it driving the group towards your point of view?

-> Is it making yourself the most prominent person or the limelight in the Group Discussion?

-> Or is it simply convincing other Candidates for what you want to imply?

Here, we will talk about What does it mean to perform well in Group Discussion for Military Interviews, like the SSB Interview. We have mentioned ‘Military Interviews’ here because there is a stark difference between the testing procedure and requirements of the Corporate World and the Military Leadership.

In Corporate world – the formula that works is – BEST FIT,

Whereas in Military World – the formula that works is – RIGHT FIT.

The points mentioned here are to improve your performance in Group Discussion of SSB Interview. Although most of these work well in almost all the Interview GDs.

So, let’s get started.

Group Discussion- The task which shows up in SSB Interview Procedures more than once. Four times, to be exact.

Once, during the PPDT test in which you have to write an individual story upon the hazy picture shown to you during the test, narrate it, and then discuss it with Candidates of your group, to come to a commonly accepted theme of the picture.

And three times in the GTO series! Yes, three times! Two times in the actual group discussion task and one time in the Group Planning Exercise.

Group Discussion happens to be a very effective tool for accessing the ‘people skills’ of the Candidate.

How the candidate reacts when he is contradicted, and how he acts when he has got something to say.

Apart from these, thought process and general awareness is also tested upto some extent.

As a very nice man once said –

The tasks are not important, you are important.

Here we give you five best tips to improve your performance in the group discussion of SSB Interview without dominating the GD in a simple do’s and don’ts list.


1. Use Good Formal Language-

‘Good formal language’ is so much more than just a ‘Gentleman, I agree with you’. The thing which needs to be kept in mind is that it is not a normal chit-chat going on with friends. Here, candidates are being tested and observed by a well experienced Senior Officer in the Armed Forces. And the reason candidates are sitting at the SSB Center’s GTO ground is that they too aspire to be an Uniform Bearer. So candidates have to make sure that they act and speak like one. Formal language doesn’t necessarily mean using fancy bombastic words in the English Language, no! It is just expressing yourself in a way as an Officer Candidate supposed to speak – with some courtesy.

It is not mandatory, but it adds to the quality in the frame of ‘Traits of You’.  🙂 

2. Speak and Listen-

Keeps babbling all supposedly ‘good’ points, doesn’t listen to others at all, and off he goes! Nobody likes a leader who calls in a meeting of his delegates to seek their opinion and instead of actually listening to their opinions, he gives them a speech instead. Just have a thought for a while, who would like to be led by such a man?

So make sure that you speak, and make sure that you listen either.

Genuinely listen to what the other person has to say over it and he will listen to you when you have something to say. That’s precisely the way it works.

3. Keep a good posture-

good sitting posture in group discussion
Ideal Posture for Group Discussion

Keeping a good posture reflects a person’s ‘non-casual’ attitude. Moreover, it enhances the overall demeanour of the Candidate. Sitting comfortably with back straight, palms resting on knees, that’s all you need to do here in the Group Discussion to have a good body posture.

You know what’s the additional advantage of having a good posture? It makes you feel and look more confident.

So, comfortably sitting with back straight and palms resting on knees isn’t a bad deal, is it?

4. Involve everyone in the Group Discussion-

A good leader is not always the one who speaks good. In some situations, a good leader is the one who let’s his team members to speak. That’s exactly what we call ‘not dominating’ the group discussion. No doubt you have to speak, but on the same side, you have to encourage others to speak. You have to make an effort to make the group discussion more constructive. If you see the group discussion swaying away to some other topic, then as a good candidate and as an aspiring leader, it is your duty to get the group on the right path again. Make an effort to raise some points which involves everyone’s participation and gives everybody a platform to speak.

5. Know when to shut and when to speak-

If I speak, I am considered dominating. If I don’t, I am considered shy. What should I do?

The question above is a very common question asked by the Candidates.

How much should I speak?

So, to answer that question, in one line –

You should speak enough to get your presence noticed and appreciated, but not that much which doesn’t let other Candidates’ participation go unnoticeable.

That’s what is the basic difference  between ‘dominating’ the group discussion and speaking well in the group discussion.

You should know that when do you have to keep mum and when to open your mouth.

If someone is already speaking something, then there is no point starting to scream in between, right? It won’t make anything comprehensible.

If you just started to speak something, and two or three other candidates start to speak at the same time. Then instead of making a’competition’ of loudness, it is wise for you to let others speak for the first one or two times.

But – if this is happening everytime when you make an attempt to speak, then you have to show some assertiveness and just speak your point.

6. Include general awareness points-

There is no harm if you include a recent event’s example to support your point in the Group Discussion. Infact, this adds to the quality of your participation in the group discussion. In very simple terms, you are just reflecting that yes, you have been reading about the current awareness and you have the reasoning ability to connect that event with the Group Discussions topic.

7. Show enthusiastic body language-

If you just slouch back on to the chair, and looking here and there, yawning all the time, then definitely you are reflecting a lack of interest in the Group Discussion.

And if you are reflecting a lack of interest in the group, the group will reflect a lack of attention to you either.

So, make sure you reflect a enthusiastic body language.

You don’t have to start hopping around to show your enthusiasm, just a simple nodding of your head to appreciate a point of some other candidate would do just fine.

Also, it is worth mentioning here, that DON’T GET TOO AGGRESSIVE! 

It has been commonly observed that before the group discussion starts, everybody is sitting comfortably on the chair, just waiting for the Group Discussion to start, and as soon as the GTO gives a go, everyone almost pulls themselves to the end of the chairs to get into the limelight and make their points to be heard easily. You imagine yourself, how would the candidates appear from the outside?

8. Use ‘Gentleman,I Agree with You’ appropriately-

Now this one is funny!

There are a lot of candidates who from experience or from other sources have learnt this ‘divine’ sentence- ‘Gentleman, I agree with You’.

And funny as it may sound, some candidates use ‘Gentleman, I agree with you.’ to completely disagree with their points.

Like –

Gentleman, I agree with you, but I don’t think that you are right, so I disagree with you. 😆

It may not be intentional, but sometimes, it does happen. So, kindly control this favorite pet sentence and use it appropriately.

9. Remember, it is a ‘GROUP’ Discussion-

You would perform excellent in the group discussion at SSB Interview if you remember just one thing during entire task, and that thing to remember is – It is a ‘GROUP’ discussion.

You are not the only one in the group, and you are not the superior Officer in the group, you are just another candidate in the group, aspiring to get into the Armed Forces.

Plus, there is a very sweet thing about the SSB Interview. Guess what is it?

You don’t have to defeat others to win here.

Your efforts should be to Win yourself and make others Win with you too.

The sole purpose of having a group discussion would be justified.


10. Don’t speak irrelevant points!

Wherever possible, prefer Quality over Quantity.

Frankly speaking, if you don’t have anything to say (which is highly unlikely), then don’t speak.

Don’t speak for the sake of making a point in the Group Discussion.

Speak when you have to, speak when you ought to, speak when you want to.

As simple as that.

11. Don’t make sub-groups!

Oh this! This is a very grave mistake that candidates make during any group discussion!

If someone isn’t listening to them, they start ‘talking’  to other members of the group. And while there is already one person addressing the group, two or three candidates start discussing amongst themselves, making sub-groups in the Group.

Like mentioned earlier, it is a ‘Group’ Discussion. Don’t talk one on one to a candidate. Discuss amongst yourselves, instead of talking to each other.

12. Don’t look at GTO!

Many candidates find it very tempting to look at the GTO when the discussion is happening. They intend to speak their points only when the GTO is looking at them.

When they ‘assume’ that GTO is looking at them, bingo! They make their point and assume that they have successfully fooled the GTO and the group too.

Dear Candidate, this is NOT the way it works!

If you ever notice the GTOs at the SSB, then most of them wear black shades. Those black shades are there to fool you!  😆

So, while you may assume that the GTO isn’t looking at you and you act lethargic, it is a very good chance that the GTO is already staring at you and waiting for you to make a word!

Don’t unnecessarily spoil your opportunity to get recommended by the GTO by just waiting for him to look at you and then make a point.


Just participate in the group discussion in a way in which you are supposed to – that is being with the Group, not the Group and the GTO.

13. Don’t Shout!

Someone isn’t listening to me?
Ah, No problem! I’ll use my high amplitude loud voice to superimpose my voice over others!
Problem solved!

-> This, works fine when one candidate tries to do this.

But just imagine what would happen if all the candidates do that, all at once.

We believe you are smart enough to understand what would be the outcome of this situation. A situation which everybody hates –

fish market situation in Group Discussion
Group sounds a lot like this when everybody shouts!

14. Don’t speak continuously!

You don’t have to speak for the most of the time to be more noticeable and grab those extra marks!

All you need to do is to make three to four good quality points and listen to others.

Make sure that when you speak, you don’t make more than one points together.

And when you speak, the ideal time duration for making your point is around 40-50 seconds max.

Don’t speak more than that if you don’t have to.

15. Don’t wait for opportunity, go grab it!

Some candidates in an effort to act like perfect gentlemen, cease speaking if anyone simply says a ‘I thin..’. You don’t have to be like that. A good leader should have some assertiveness too. Note that assertiveness is different from being rigid.

So don’t just wait on that chair waiting for everyone to keep quiet just because you have to speak something. Seldom does this happen.

Just get to the opportunity and grab it by force!

After all you know that SSB Interview is a test of your Projected Behaviour. If you don’t ‘project’ anything to the accessors, how would they judge you in the first place?

Makes sense, right?

So make an effort to speak, remember it is a ‘Group’ Discussion, have a good posture and have some courtesy while you speak. And that’s it, you know that you have performed well!

These were some of the points which almost every group decides before going to the discussion, but in the group discussion, it becomes chaos because nobody remembers those rules in such a short time. So that’s why we have wrote this 2000+ words articles just to do our part as administrators of a group of Defence Aspirants – SSB Memes.

Hope these tips will help you somewhere in your life.

We love hearing from our audience. If you too have got anything to say, you can do so by commenting in the comments box below. 🙂

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Administrator and Content Writer at SSB Memes

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