Raising Standards: The 5 Ws of an Effective Virtual Roundtable

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Now that you’ve decided to tackle important issues over a virtual roundtable, you find yourself wondering what specifics to consider and how to put all of them together. The standards of an effective virtual roundtable are more pronounced and elevated, and these five questions should serve as a guide throughout the roundtable planning process

Whom is this virtual roundtable geared towards?

Let’s focus on the ‘who’ for now, and we ask you to remember this statement: your guest’s audience is your audience.

Your guests’ concerns, together with the concerns of their respective organisations, may be aligned with the issues you’d like to raise during your event. Their relevance, however, should also extend to their respective audiences—audiences for whom your participants are, ultimately, addressing these concerns.

This audience, which they represent alongside their organisations, includes investors, stakeholders, clients, customers, and other groups keen on exploring the ideas you and your participants will be exchanging throughout your event.

What key takeaways should participants leave with?

Focusing on the ‘what’ at this point, we’d like to remind you that, while lessons are the key to growth, reason turns the key.

Solutions and troubleshooting tips are typically the most sought ideas at physical and virtual roundtables alike, but many roundtable organisers don’t realise there’s more value to be had. Recommendations and similar insights only scratch the surface.

Understanding the rationale behind these observations is critical to applying newfound knowledge efficiently. The effectiveness of your virtual roundtable rests heavily on exploring the basis of your participants’ strategies for resolving the issues they face in their organisations. It’s just like unlocking any door: it’s not enough to have the key; you have to turn it to enter.

Where should I look for a suitable moderator?

The biggest challenge faced by virtual roundtable organisers is ensuring all participants are comfortable enough to engage one another in a discussion. Without that comfort, maybe just one or two of your guests will command the discussion and, consequently, bury the ideas of other participants.

How, then, might you avoid this obstacle in your event? It’s fairly simple: break the ice; get them warm and cosy.

But you can’t expect a bunch of strangers to do that on their own. You’ll need a reputable moderator who does more than ask the right questions to facilitate a proper exchange of ideas. This moderator’s reputation must also showcase masterful intuition in warmly inviting participants to engage—and eventually connect—with everyone else in the room.

You won’t need to look far and wide for a candidate with all the above qualities. The Ortus Club is connected to a global selection of influential, passionate moderators who ensure all participants stay engaged and entertained. We invite you to let us handle the logistics of bringing in an expert moderator who can facilitate your virtual roundtables and urge your guests to participate in the conversation.

When (and how long) should the virtual roundtable take place?

Dates and schedules are easy enough to negotiate and set, but durations are a little trickier, which is why you should always keep them short and simple.

Securing a date and time when you and all your participants are available for your virtual roundtable is not the end of the road. Depending on the number of participants you’ve invited to your roundtable and the topics you’ve prepared, you’ll need to allocate an appropriate period per segment to ensure that your event does not extend beyond the agreed-upon duration.

Making these arrangements also prevents oversharing and a general information overload, which may hamper your participants’ knowledge sharing and knowledge gathering, two extremely dangerous threats to the effectiveness of your virtual roundtable.

 

Why are we tackling these issues?

All the pertinent details of your virtual roundtable are pretty much set. At this point, you can choose to do one of two things: proceed with the necessary follow-ups with your guests leading up to the event, or, before you start your follow-ups, take a few moments to ponder the significance and possible impact of your roundtable.

We’ll pose an alternate question for you as a guide for this reflection: why will this roundtable matter?

One crucial thought you have to keep in mind is that your roundtable doesn’t end after the farewells and handshakes. Gauging the effectiveness of your roundtable entails finding out whether your participants will have left better professionals for themselves and the people for and with whom they work.

Take the time to reflect on these things as you continue preparing for your virtual roundtable. As mentioned earlier, the whys matter as much—if not more—than the whats in discussions such as yours.


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