The matter at hand: Selecting a roundtable topic

Reinventing finance and procurement business transformation through new technology 6 Knowledge Sharing

There are numerous factors to consider when organising a roundtable discussion. From inviting the right guests to reserving the right venues, and even hiring the right photographers, these knowledge-sharing events have so many moving parts to secure. But, among all the elements that comprise a successful roundtable, selecting the right topic is the most critical.

It is the core of any insightful discourse, and, if isn’t prepared thoroughly and thoughtfully, the event may fall apart spectacularly.

The purpose of the discussion

Before deciding on a topic, you must first determine what specific and pressing challenges require solutions in your industry. Once you’ve figured out what these concerns are, you need to look beyond the possible answers and establish the possible impacts these approaches will have on your participants’ clientele, companies, and even communities.

In establishing the purpose of your discussion, it’s crucial to concentrate on the relevance of the concerns you’d like to raise during your roundtable. It all boils down to the question: ‘Is it something worth setting time for?’ If you find that these concerns are worth taking an hour out of your participants’ schedules, then proceed. If they aren’t, continue exploring. It’s better to spend more time conceptualising a topic before the event, with the more unfortunate alternative being taking up too much of your guest’s valuable time during the event.

Apart from gaining insights into relevant industry trends and issues, you must also consider the other benefits your participants stand to gain from attending your roundtable. One key perk is getting the chance to expand their professional networks by connecting with the other participants in the group.

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 answered ‘yes”, then you’ve selected the right topic.

“Gaining vital insights from their peers is their primary objective in participating in these discussions.”

The people involved in the conversation

Once you’ve established the purpose, you must now search for the right people to fill your seats and examine the concerns you’ve decided to raise. The success of any roundtable discussion hinges on the level of expertise your participants bring to the table. It’s not enough that they’re a part of your industry; what matters more is how much they’ve experienced and learned in your industry.

During the lead-up to your event, keep in touch with your confirmed invitees from time to time. Ask them about what their companies’ challenges and goals are in relation to the concerns you’d like to raise during your event. Keep this question in mind as you execute this pre-event engagement: ‘Can they contribute insights regarding the issue?’

Inviting the most suitable moderator is also crucial to the success of your roundtable. Similar to your participants, an effective moderator must possess a sufficient amount of knowledge and experience in dealing with the issues around which your event revolves. Think of your moderator as the lighthouse that guides your participants to where they need to go during the discussion.

Reinventing finance and procurement business transformation through new technology

The plan to finalise the topic

At this point, you’ve confirmed the real purpose of and the right people for your discussion. Now that you’re equipped with enough pre-event insights, you can now flesh out your roundtable topic. Note that the most effective way to do this is by first finalising the general theme of the discussion and curating specific points as you go along.

The subtopics of your roundtable discussion are where the conversation will mostly take place. As you finalise your roundtable subtopics, ask yourself: ‘How can we keep this conversation on the right track?’ To ensure that your discussion does not go into tangents, you must base your subtopics on the answers your participants provided during the pre-event engagement. Consider those answers the roadmap of your event. 

At The Ortus Club, roundtable experiences are structured around a framework that’s been proven effective in guaranteeing the fruitfulness and productivity of knowledge-sharing discussions globally. This framework enables all participants to contribute their insights freely and seamlessly as they cover the conversation from subtopic to subtopic.

Are you interested in uncovering more insights into creating roundtable topics? Would you like to organise your own roundtable event? Reach out to The Ortus Club today. In partnership with some of the largest names in business worldwide, they aim to cultivate the culture of knowledge-sharing across various industries and regions.


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