Let’s think for a moment how many competencies you can demonstrate with a stellar performance in your group exercise. There’s teamwork, leadership, effective communication, generation of ideas, time management — the list goes on and on. How do you make sure that your employer sees you as a team player, a team leader, an efficient worker, and in general, as a great addition to their team?
In five easy steps!
Create a friendly atmosphere.
Put your team members at ease before the group exercise, and it will go much better for everyone involved. Before the exercise begins, it is a great idea to find out everyone’s names. First of all, this is going to create a naturally friendly atmosphere. Secondly, addressing candidates by their names in the discussion adds to overall clarity. Make sure to smile and use positive body language. It is a stressful situation, and it is really worth trying to make everyone, including yourself, feel more at ease!
Contribute but do not dominate.
A common mistake that candidates make is being loud and overbearing. While it is great to show off enthusiasm, save your one-person act for the interviews. There is a difference between dominating the group and contributing to the discussion — and here’s your main rule of the thumb in the group exercise environment. Make sure that your ideas are clear, concise, and on point — and importantly, listen to the others’ ideas too. Always try to move the conversation forward and avoid impasses. Under strict conditions of restricted time, there is only so much time to waste on discussing a single point. If your idea is rejected, acknowledge its weaker sides and build the next argument. Aim to create about five separate great ideas — but by no means feel discouraged to introduce more if time and the collaborative spirit allow you to do so!
Show off teamwork through active acknowledgement of others’ points.
Nod your head silently at someone’s idea and lose points for teamwork. While it is absolutely essential that you acknowledge other candidates’ points, make sure that your acknowledgment is active. Do not be scared to speak up and say “Great idea!” or “Good point!”. Another part of active acknowledgment is building on your teammates’ ideas. Say “Great idea! In fact..” and develop the idea further — and this is how your teamwork becomes impeccable. Aim for as many top-ups like this one as possible, especially if you are having trouble generating great ideas on your own.
Aside from generating ideas, you can showcase your teamwork skills by incorporating quieter members. If you notice that someone has had less opportunities to join in the discussion, address them politely and ask them for their opinion. Avoid being too pushy and opt for maximum friendliness instead — this will help you to ease the atmosphere and create better relationships within the group. In a similar vein, do not shut other people’s ideas down, even if you think that they make no sense. Instead, it is always a better option to amend the idea and turn it into a fruitful point. If nothing can be done to salvage the point, leave it aside and propose to look at the problem from a different angle. In any case, all your efforts should be directed at facilitating teamwork.
Speak clearly throughout.
You do not want to be too loud, but being quiet does not win you the game either. Strike the perfect balance by making sure that your voice is clear, especially if you are generally on the quieter side. If you have a choice of where to sit for the group exercise, aim for the centre of the table. This way, you will naturally find yourself in the epicentre of the discussion. And finally, keep calm and composed. You want to come off as professional, easy-going and resourceful, so it is a good idea to smile and avoid excessively long or complex sentences. Neither self-consciousness nor overly complicated points are going to help you perform well!
In our experience, these tips give you the perfect arsenal to nail your group exercise. To make full use of these, the best idea is to practice before showtime. For instance, you can do wonders with your voice if you record yourself a couple of times before the actual group exercise and listen to the recording beforehand. Alternatively, if you know that preparing bits and pieces is nothing like practicing the real thing, you can drop us a message on firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us via Facebook, and find out about our group exercise coaching!