Group exercises can vary enormously from:
1. A single sentence or question:'Discuss how you would increase sales in a new area'. This can be thrown into the group and then them left to debate the topic. Assessors are looking at the level of debate and the interaction between people.
2. Exercises where you are all given information that needs to be discussed eg 'Read the following and then discuss, as a group, which depot should be closed to maximise savings but maintain efficiency' . Same as above: who conributes?, what sorts of things do they say? who listens? who has ideas? who is positive?
3. You might get that sort of question where you have actually been given different sorts of information!
4. You might get information but be asked to play a particular role, so in the one above one person might be asked to be the FD and another the HR manager. Each will have some info about their role's priorities. In this scenario you are expected to argue your corner.
5. The observers might want someone to win this task or they may just want to see how you react with others.
6. Think carefully about volunteering to be the Chair of the group, you would have great power but if you don't have authority it can highlight your lack of influence. Leadership is not necessarily shown in that way. It's the same with being a 'scribe', that can give you power but it can also marginalise you if you are standing at a flip chart.
7.Get talking early, research shows that if you don’t contribute in the first few minutes of a meeting you can become invisible. So be present from the start and get a contribution in early. It does not have to be earth shattering, just ask a question, ask someone to repeat something, seek clarification or repeat an idea.
8. People will generally be quite polite to each other, on their best behaviour and interrupting is not good manners. Wait for a space and then deliver well thought out constructive comments.
9. Laugh at other people's jokes, disagree politely and only after saying something like 'that is really interesting but had you thought of....'
10. Be the person they would want to work with.. that's what selection exercises are about, finding out if they can work with you.
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