Knowledge sharing has become essential in today’s ever-evolving business landscape, especially now that organisations have started returning to the pre-pandemic mode of organising in-person events. However, online discussion platforms are still here to stay, and business leaders must continue discovering new approaches in organising successful virtual roundtables.
Discovering innovative solutions to the most pressing challenges is critical in ensuring business success and growth—and success may depend on the company of like-minded peers. With the year coming to a close, let’s take a look at the five keys that can guarantee insightful and memorable virtual roundtable experiences.
Staying in touch with your participants during the lead-up to your roundtable allows you to gauge their interest in your event. Doing so will also provide you with a better understanding of their preferences for your event.
Engage with your participants a couple of times before your event by sending them questionnaires about their organisations’ goals and challenges in relation to your roundtable topic. Learning more about how they’ll apply the insights they may gain during your event will help you curate the most appropriate conversation points.
If you want to keep your pre-event engagement light, you could instead ask your participants about their meal or add-on preferences (more on these later). Either way, ensure that your questions won’t take up too much of your participants’ time and effort. The point of these engagements is to guarantee their attendance, so asking too many questions may be counterproductive.
“Learning more about how they’ll apply the insights they may gain during your event will help you curate the most appropriate conversation points.”
At the heart of every roundtable discussion is the meticulous curation of a suitable topic, which serves as both the primary driver of knowledge-sharing and a road map for the conversation. Two key aspects must be considered when determining a suitable topic: the goal of the discussion and the respective backgrounds of your participants.
Thorough research is critical in determining the goal of your roundtable discussion. You must consider which pressing issues or challenges in your participants’ fields or industries require solutions. Understanding how your company can provide those solutions is also necessary. However, as the host of this roundtable, you must avoid framing your event as a sales or marketing campaign for your business.
Your pre-event engagement questionnaire comes into play when factoring in your participants’ backgrounds as you create the discussion topic. Now that you know what their organisations’ specific goals and challenges are, you can develop the most suitable subtopics that can guide the flow of the discussion.
In roundtable discussions, all participants are welcome to share as many insights as they can, but this more conversational dynamic presents two pressing challenges. Open forums such as this run the risk of being dominated by just one or two participants and running much longer than the amount of time allotted for the event.
This is where inviting an effective moderator comes into play. Having a veritable subject-matter expert facilitate the discussion will prevent your event from exceeding the time limit. Equipped with sufficient knowledge on the topic, they’ll know when the conversation starts going off tangent and guide the participants back on the right course.
Knowing enough about the topic isn’t the only trait any stellar moderator must possess. They must also be cordial and sensitive to the mood of any roundtable room. Breaking the ice is vital to empower all participants to speak up during the discussion. Moderators must be personable enough to foster a warm and comfortable atmosphere that encourages everyone in the group to speak confidently.
Here’s one thing you should always remember as a virtual roundtable organiser: your event does not end once your discussion does. Take note that, while your participants attend your events mostly to gain new insights, they also stay to expand their business networks.
It’s inevitable that your participants will discover like-minded peers among the rest of their group. As their host, you can encourage them to connect and share contact information with one another after your event. Doing so will maximise the impact of your discussion and enable your participants to imbibe the values of the knowledge-sharing culture.
As a virtual roundtable organiser, you can create a more enjoyable knowledge-sharing experience by offering your participants special add-on packages. From culinary treats to curated insights, these add-ons will definitely provide more value for the participants of your event.
For instance, you can furnish your participants with a brief yet comprehensive document containing key insights curated from their discussion. These select takeaways can serve as a reference for your participants should they require additional information to achieve their business goals.
Add-ons can also help you break the ice among participants. Last April, The Ortus Club, in partnership with Paypal, hosted their first sake-tasting virtual roundtable, where their guests were treated to sake-tasting kits provided by Inter Rice Asia. This pre-discussion treat warmed participants up for their conversation on creating innovative online customer experiences.
Would you like to learn more about organising virtual roundtables? Are you interested in hosting one of your own? Reach out to The Ortus Club today. With events successfully organised and hosted in over 100 countries worldwide, they can guide you in using these five keys to unlock success in your next event.