The core of any fruitful and productive roundtable discussion lies in the topic. It’s the first thing invitees see, and it’s the last thing on the minds of satisfied guests. So how do you choose something exciting and relevant at the same time? It’s best to keep these tips in mind.
What is the objective?
The first thing to have in mind when determining the topic is the overall goal of the discussion. Ask yourself, ‘What am I doing this for?’ Next, visualise your desired outcome from the get-go, whether that’s to expand networks, gain insight into relevant issues, or learn about the industry’s future. A roundtable devoid of focus can easily lead to disinterested guests and unhappy clients.
What exactly do you want to address? Everything has become so fast-paced in this digital age, and agility is a must across all industries. Decision-makers and leaders face new opportunities, as well as challenges every day, so you have a plethora of possible roundtable discussion topics to choose from.
The challenge is selecting the right one and constructing an appropriate roadmap for the conversation. At The Ortus Club, we see that we are always on top of industry trends and current events in business to establish relevance.
Keep your audience in mind
At the end of the day, a discussion is only as good as its participants. Take your time researching the subject matter, as this is critical in understanding your guests and why they would choose to attend your event. Even if you have the world’s brightest minds in one room, the conversation will only go as far as you take it.
Spend time getting to know your guests, moderators, and clients all the same. It’s these relationships that allow you to formulate roundtable discussion topics that keep everybody enticed. This is key in ensuring that guests and clients leave with valuable insights and the desire to attend future events.
“Take your time researching the subject matter, as this is critical in understanding your guests and why they would choose to attend your event.”
What can your guests bring to the table? How they will participate and share their insights varies. But if the right topic is chosen, all attendees can contribute based on their expertise.
Understanding who your guests are and how they relate to your topic will allow your group to delve into industry-specific or role-specific aspects that may otherwise go unexplored.
Ideally, you’ll have a guest list full of participants from various backgrounds and roles, bringing with them a variety of perspectives. Therefore, have an interdisciplinary approach to your topic creation. Structure your topic and discussion points so your guests, no matter their specialisation, will learn from and contribute to the discourse.
Keep it concise
Once you’ve decided on your general subject, it’s essential to focus on the specific aspects of the topic. Broad topics, while appealing to significantly larger audiences, tend to veer off track and alienate participants. Going into tangents can also lead to portions of the audience hogging the discussion, leading to disorganised chatter.
Concise roundtable discussion topics stay relevant to the crowd and keep conversations on track. Not only that, but these conversations offer more respect to your guests’ time as it eliminates the possibility of unnecessary overtime.
The Ortus Club roundtables follow a solid framework that keeps the conversation structured and rolling. We foster an environment open for input and feedback from our guests. We let our discussions flow freely and seamlessly, moving from subtopic to subtopic, with each guest being able to share what’s on their mind.
Choose a topic that’s for the people, by the people
There are so many factors to consider when choosing a topic. But everything comes down to selecting something that potentially impacts the industry significantly. Is it a relevant issue today? Can organisations contribute insights regarding the issue? Is it something worth setting time for? If all these questions answer ‘yes”, then you’ve chosen the right topic.
SUGGESTED READ: 6 Easy Roundtable Discussion Mistakes
The Ortus Club is open to guests and clients of all backgrounds and expertise. If you’re interested in hosting an executive virtual roundtable or masterclass but don’t know where to start, you can leave your details on our Host an Event page, and one of our team members will get back to you with more information.