How to Host a Successful Virtual Roundtable
In the age of remote work and virtual communication, virtual roundtables have become an increasingly popular way to connect with others, share ideas and knowledge, and build relationships. A virtual roundtable is a live online discussion or meeting, typically featuring a small group of participants who share their thoughts and insights on a specific topic or theme.
Whether you're a business leader, a community organizer, or want to bring people together for an engaging and productive conversation, hosting a virtual roundtable is a great way to achieve your goals.
In this guide, we'll provide you with practical tips and strategies for hosting a successful virtual roundtable, from planning and preparation to execution and follow-up. By following these best practices, you can create an engaging and productive virtual roundtable that leaves a lasting impact on your participants.
What is the objective of a roundtable discussion?
A roundtable discussion aims to bring together a small group of people with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives to discuss a specific topic or issue. Roundtable discussions are often used to generate new ideas, solve complex problems, build consensus, and share knowledge and expertise. They are typically less formal than traditional panel discussions or presentations and are intended to foster open and interactive dialogue among participants.
By creating an environment where participants can share their thoughts and insights respectfully and collaboratively, roundtable discussions can help promote learning, innovation, and positive change in a wide range of contexts, from business and academia to government and community organizations.
12 steps to organize a virtual roundtable conversation
Define the topic
Choose a clear and specific topic relevant to your participants and broad enough to allow for a range of perspectives.
Identify your target audience
Determine your ideal participants and how you can reach out to them. This will determine how you announce and promote your roundtable, and where you host the virtual event.
Set a date and time
Schedule the virtual roundtable in advance and send out invitations to the participants with the date and time details. Use a booking platform like Calendly to make the whole process easier!
Choose a platform
Select a virtual platform that is user-friendly and accessible to all participants and has the necessary features for a roundtable discussion, such as video conferencing, screen sharing, and chat functions.
Select your speakers
Invite speakers who are knowledgeable and experienced on the topic and can offer diverse perspectives.
Prepare your speakers
Brief your speakers in advance on the topic, the format, and the audience, and provide them with guidelines on delivering their insights effectively. You can send them a list of questions beforehand if you want them to be more prepared. You can also make it an organic discussion if you’re going for a more casual roundtable event!
Create an agenda
Develop an agenda that outlines the format, the speakers, the topics, and the time allotted for each conversation segment.
Encourage all participants to engage in the conversation, share their perspectives, and ask questions.
Moderate the discussion
Assign a moderator who can manage the flow of the conversation, keep the discussion on track, and ensure that all participants have a chance to speak.
Use interactive tools
Use interactive polls and surveys to engage the participants and gather feedback.
Record the conversation
Record the virtual roundtable so that participants who couldn't attend live can still benefit from the discussion.
Follow-up after the event
Follow up with the participants after the event, share any resources or insights discussed, and gather feedback for future events.
How to be a more effective virtual roundtable moderator
Being an effective virtual roundtable moderator ensures that the discussion runs smoothly and participants are engaged.
Prepare in advance
Familiarize yourself with the topic and the speakers, and create an agenda that outlines the flow of the discussion.
Set clear expectations with the speakers and participants about the format, rules of engagement, and time allotted for each segment of the discussion.
Encourage all participants to engage in the discussion and create a welcoming and respectful environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing their perspectives.
Keep the discussion on track
Keep the discussion focused on the topic, and steer the conversation back to the agenda when it veers off course.
Be mindful of time, and keep the conversation moving so that all speakers have a chance to contribute.
Use active listening
Practice active listening by paying close attention to what the speakers are saying and summarizing key points for the benefit of the group.
Encourage dialogue and interaction between participants by asking open-ended questions, inviting follow-up questions, and facilitating the exchange of ideas.
Be prepared to adjust the agenda or the discussion format if needed, and be flexible in responding to unexpected events or disruptions.
Wrap up effectively
Summarize the key points of the discussion, thank the participants for their contributions, and provide any necessary follow-up information.
Host a virtual roundtable at Videohaus
Hosting a successful virtual roundtable can be a great way to bring people together and promote learning, innovation, and positive change. By following the pointers we've outlined, you can create an engaging and productive virtual roundtable that will leave a lasting impact on your participants.
If you're looking for support in producing a virtual roundtable or any other kind of virtual event, Videohaus can help! With our expertise in video production and live streaming, we can help you create a high-quality and engaging virtual experience that will resonate with your audience. Book our livestream studio today!
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