How To Host An Effective Virtual Roundtable Discussion For Your Business

Posted by Sophia Duplin

Why Virtual Roundtable Discussions Matter In Your Business

A virtual roundtable discussion is an event that brings many people together for group discussion and covers specific topics that are important to the group and organization. 

 

In a roundtable discussion, there is a moderator (also called a facilitator) to organize the discussion and keep it moving. There are many speakers discuss various parts of the subject from different perspectives, and an audience to observe and participate. 

 

The roundtable format is ideal for a small group. For example, business people typically use this discussion format because it brings together different points of view while giving all audience members a chance to learn and interact with each other. 

 

The roundtable format is ideal for organizations that need to make important decisions and want to engage in group discussion. A virtual roundtable is a great way to hear the ideas and opinions of others in a convenient format. If done correctly, roundtable discussions bring relevant people to an important topic. As a group, they will find a direction and a strategy that they all agree on and can pursue. 

 

These discussions can also make communication smoother and more transparent since all members will be able to hear and interact with various discussion points throughout the meeting.

 

 

5 Ways To Host More Effective Virtual Roundtables

A successful roundtable meeting requires all participants to engage and follow some basic ground rules to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of the meeting. While face-to-face meetings are expensive and difficult to organize, many organizations adopt event technology to gather audience members in an online forum for brainstorming and cover important discussion points.

 

If your business or organization is looking to streamline the decision-making process, then let’s take a look at five ways you can ensure a successful roundtable discussion today!

 

1. Find The Right Objectives Based On Your Audience

First, before you decide the topic of the discussion, it is important that you know the goals of your business, the audience, and yourself. What are you trying to solve? What will bring value to the audience?

 

Proper objectives will guide the roundtable in the right direction and help the moderator keep everything on track with the right discussion topics. These goals might be converting guests into clients or finding new avenues for your sales team. Work out what you and your business want from this discussion and what has to happen to succeed.

 

Once you know what you want for your business, you have to add value for the attendees. First, ask yourself why they would want to show? What would they receive in return for their time? Having these questions answered from the beginning will be crucial for building and presenting the correct message and promotion to land these potential new clients.

 

2. Select A Topic That Matters To Your Audience

Based on the objectives for your business and your audience, you should now be able to define the subject matter for the roundtable discussion further. This may be a challenging process, but talking to your sales team or other business partners for feedback will likely provide welcome suggestions.

 

The audience should be drawn in by the topic. Ideally, what they can get from attending the discussion should be immediately apparent based on the topic alone. Another thing you must consider is what your company does. What do you offer? How will your solutions help them?

Your business is there to solve their problem, so you need to get them into the discussion for them to see that. Bring them in with a topic that can prove your business’ usefulness to the audience. An unrelated issue does nothing to pull clients to your business.

 

Be sure that your topic makes sense for you and your audience. Note as many topics as you can, talking to coworkers and partners to confirm relevant topics. You don’t have to find it on your own. However, bouncing ideas off of others will help significantly in finding and eliminating possible points of discussion. This challenge will be worth the effort once you find the right topic. 

 

3. Invite Relevant Guests To Attend

A person uses a laptop to attend a virtual roundtable

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

 

Now that you know your goals and have chosen discussion points that are relevant to your audience members, you will need to invite the right people to the table discussion. Invite people who have passion for what they do, are relevant to the discussion topics, and have insight that can help the group progress in the specific topic of the talk. 

 

This will shine through when they speak and give the right impression, which will lead to a productive discussion. Inviting senior decision-makers will give the ability to search for action with immediate confirmation that the path is worth pursuing. It is common to have people of similar roles and titles.

 

Be sure to invite a range of individuals to gain a wider scope of insights. Just because someone isn’t an executive or a decision-maker does not mean they can’t add value or knowledge to the conversation, so make sure to look for people who have the potential to provide valuable ideas for the discussion format.

 

You must also decide on the number of people to invite. Virtual roundtables give more flexibility to who can show up to the discussion, but you also have to consider people not showing up. You should not invite too many people because you want everyone to have their moment to contribute to the conversation. Having too many people could cause people not to be heard or even slow down the conversation.

 

4. Make Your Roundtable As Engaging As Possible

Engaging your audience members can undoubtedly prove to be difficult, but this is essential for a successful roundtable. Even though the term “roundtable” comes from King Arthur’s roundtable, roundtable discussions in business were popularized around the 1980s, which means people have been hosting and attending them for decades.

 

Standing out and ensuring you make a lasting impact is crucial to a successful and engaging virtual roundtable discussion. Many tactics and tricks have been used, but you need to search for ways to stand out and bring something refreshing for people who have been to many. This typically all begins with the moderator.

 

The moderator should have a strong presence. They should be welcoming and engaging while being capable of steering a conversation without totally controlling it. 

 

Anything that mixes it up and doesn’t feel like an everyday, run-of-the-mill meeting or conference call. This should feel like an event, so try to build excitement and build hype around it. Be well prepared and prepare the guests ahead of the discussion. 

 

Perhaps you could provide them with a schedule or agenda to keep them in the loop — this will let them create excitement and mentally be ready to participate.

 

5. Make Sure You Follow-Up After The Roundtable

Your job is not done after the event is over because you will need to send out resolutions or notes on the roundtable discussion topics that you covered during the meeting. 

 

Following up is very important to the actual effect of the roundtable discussion. If you do not follow up, the discussion could end up a waste of time. You can talk all day, but bringing action to the talk is critical.

 

You should be setting up meetings with the attendees as soon as possible and sending out notes from the meeting within 24 hours of the meeting’s conclusion.

 

Put in the work and follow up correctly to bring the best results. You already have contact with the decision-makers, and you can use time at the end of the meeting to bring up another event that would bring the people that influence them into the discussion. Contacting them and their influencers will put your business in a prime position to make them a client.

 

A person sits at a desk using a computer to attending a virtual roundtable

Photo by Fauxels on Pexels.com

 

Time to Get Started

You now have all the information that you need to get going. Remember to be unique and keep your audience engaged. Planning is just as important as the event itself while failing to follow up will mean you may have wasted your time.

 

Be confident, evaluate, adapt, and don’t try to do it alone. Involving trustworthy, respected individuals can make the process a lot smoother. You are now on your way to providing an incredible roundtable experience that will benefit your company. Trust the process and strive to run a roundtable discussion that even King Arthur himself would be proud of.


 

Topics: Panel Discussions, Speaker Best Practices, Virtual Events, Virtual Events: Best Practices

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FAQs

What is a roundtable discussion format?

A round table is a form of academic discussion where participants agree on a specific topic to debate and discuss. Each person has equal right in participating, as illustrated by the idea that goes around like clockwork.

What is a digital roundtable?

Digital roundtables are a great way to get together with other like-minded professionals and talk about relevant topics. These sessions take place over virtual platforms where participants can engage one another through stimulating discussions while learning new information that will help them grow as individuals or better perform their jobs at an organization level.

What is the purpose of a roundtable?

A roundtable is a unique event that encourages open discussion and exploration of one specific topic. The participants on an equal footing aim to confront issues rather than people with their arguments, which creates interactive learning for everyone in attendance.