Every business faces challenges at one step or the other. Senior executives want to have discussions with the same level executives to overcome it. To accommodate this need, hosting a virtual roundtable discussion is a brilliant way out. It helps decision-makers to discuss the most inspiring and actionable strategies. As virtual has become the new normal hosting virtual or hybrid meetings and conferences has become an integral part of industries. Organisations that are widespread around the globe were benefiting from virtual event technology ever since the COVID-19 global pandemic came into existence. Today, a large number of virtual roundtable platforms are available on the internet that offers comprehensive tools and features. Selecting the best depends on the needs and requirements of your business.
Virtual roundtable or we say virtual networking tables are a significant part of any online business event. It facilitates participants to connect and network remotely with other participants over a specific topic of discussion at their own convenience via any device. The virtual hybrid round table enables participants to share their knowledge and experience and discuss business challenges with a group of skilled professionals.
If you have never been a part of a virtual networking table or hosted one, it is not a big deal. Numerous tools are available in the market that enables you to host virtual roundtable seamlessly in a timely fashion. The biggest challenge lies herein is to make senior decision-makers attend virtual/hybrid roundtable discussions. The objective of setting up a virtual round table should be clear in the mind of the organiser to deliver value to attendees.
In this article, we have briefly discussed how to host a virtual roundtable discussion that motivates senior executives and decision-makers to attend the same. Let’s get started!
Steps to Host Virtual Roundtable
#1. Identify the goal and the audience for your virtual roundtable.
Before hosting a virtual roundtable discussion identifying the objective to host a virtual roundtable is a must. Determine the problem you want to resolve by organising virtual roundtable discussions. Whether you want to create new pipelines to achieve or want to discuss the strategies to overcome a challenge, the goal should be clear. Apart from your desired set goals, you must have your potential target audience in mind before kickstarting virtual networking. Create strategies that provide value to them. While deciding upon your objectives of hosting a virtual or hybrid roundtable answer a few questions to yourself such as:
- What should be the target attendance at virtual roundtables?
- What should be our call-to-actions?
- How to make virtual roundtables more interactive and engaging?
- What metrics do we need to achieve?
- What are the topics that evoke the interest of our target audience and they would like to talk about it?
Determining the objective for the event is a must to make your attendees aware of why they should attend it. If you have not thought of it at the first step itself, then it becomes nearly impossible to create the right strategy and a marketing plan.
#2. Select the relevant topic for virtual roundtable discussions
Without a topic, you can not host a virtual roundtable and motivate your attendees to register for the same. Select the relevant topic for your virtual roundtable that your attendees are interested in to discuss upon.
While selecting a topic for your virtual hybrid roundtables keep your target audience in mind. What attracts them and what will make them attend your event. Additionally, figure out the most relevant topics that are trending in the market in your sector.
Instead of picking out just one topic, gather a handful of roundtable discussion topics. Get them validated by senior management and your business partners before finalising one for a roundtable discussion.
#3. Select the right format to host a virtual roundtable
Deciding upon a virtual roundtable format is a necessary aspect to ensure a successful roundtable. An average time for a virtual roundtable discussion should last between 60 to 90 minutes. A longer discussion will make the audience feel tired and drained. Senior decision-makers can easily free up an hour of space to attend a virtual roundtable discussion rather than prolonged 3-4 hour meetings. The ideal agenda for a roundtable discussion must start with a 10-minute introduction followed by 40 minutes of interactive discussion between participants and end up with 10 minutes wrap up. The next step in line is to understand what time suits best to your audience to host virtual roundtables.
#4. Leverage the right technology
To host a successful virtual roundtable discussion you need to select the right technology partner. Select a comprehensive virtual event platform that offers engaging tools and features along with customisable services. However, it results in overcoming the barrier faced during setting up a roundtable discussion. Additionally, check out the quality of your microphone and speaker along with your internet connection before going live.
#5. Invite key partners to co-host a virtual roundtable
Inviting key partners to co-host virtual roundtable discussions offers enormous benefits thus resulting in an increased chance of achieving success. Pairing with partners results in:
- Sourcing more attendees
- Have quality discussions as partners have domain expertise
- Provide credibility
- Cost-effective measure
#6. Invite customers to attend a virtual roundtable
While hosting a virtual roundtable discussion do not forget to invite attendees as well along with key partners. Same as partners, inviting customers offers tremendous benefits. Customers can give a brief insight into how they have resolved business challenges that are being discussed at roundtables. Additionally, the chances of attracting a quality audience increases when customers with big names attend roundtable discussions.
#7. Create an engagement plan
Think out of the box ideas and create an engagement plan for c-level executives. It helps in delivering immersive and unique life-like experiences to attendees. You can introduce polling at the start of the event to know why attendees are attending your event? What do they want to achieve out of it? and what they expect from the event? Creating an engagement plan for virtual roundtables helps in lifting up engagement levels and make senior people talk about the discussions.
#8. Make a plan to moderate a roundtable discussion
Creating a plan to moderate a roundtable discussion is a must. A senior c-level executive of your company or your partner can moderate a roundtable discussion. However, if you get an individual industry expert to moderate your virtual round table discussions it will result in creating more value. An independent moderator will help you in driving more high-quality people to attend your roundtable discussions thus boosting the quality of your event.
#9. Create a follow-up plan
Developing an excellent follow-up plan is a must to achieve the maximum out of the event. Organise a follow-up meeting with your attendees who attended roundtable discussions as soon as your event gets over. Generally, attendees who attend virtual roundtable discussions are senior-level executives and are hard to reach after days of events. Schedule a follow-up meeting as soon as possible once the round table discussion gets over to achieve the desired set goals.
#10. Do not forget to collect feedback from attendees
Do not forget to gather feedback from your roundtable attendees. The feedback collected at the event helps in knowing the impediments and improvising the event to deliver better experiences. You can send a follow-up survey to your attendees via email or ask your sales representatives to collect feedback.
By hosting a successful virtual roundtable discussion you can simply generate business value for your organisation thus boosting revenues. If you are new to the format of the virtual roundtable discussions, the above-mentioned steps will help you to set-up a virtual roundtable, thus ensuring success.