Conducting a Virtual Roundtable: Everything You Need to Know

October 1, 2023

ViB Editorial Team

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As a B2B marketer, you know the importance of building relationships and generating demand for your products or services. One way to do this is through virtual events, such as webinars, conferences, and workshops. But have you considered hosting a virtual roundtable?

What is a virtual roundtable?

A virtual roundtable brings together a group of experts or thought leaders to engage in a focused and collaborative conversation on a specific topic. By facilitating a roundtable discussion, B2B marketers can gather valuable insights and ideas, build relationships with potential clients, and ultimately generate strong demand for their products or services.

Unlike a typical virtual event, where one speaker presents to a large audience, a virtual roundtable encourages participation and dialogue from all attendees.

Hosting a virtual roundtable discussion can be a powerful way for B2B marketers to generate demand for their products or services, and go beyond a traditional event.

Benefits of hosting a virtual roundtable

So, why should you consider hosting a virtual roundtable as a B2B marketer? There are several benefits to this type of event:

  1. Gather valuable insights and ideas. By bringing together a group of experts or thought leaders, a virtual roundtable allows you to tap into a wealth of knowledge and experience. You can gather valuable insights and ideas that can inform your marketing strategies and help you generate demand for your products or services.

  2. Build relationships with potential clients. A virtual roundtable provides an opportunity to connect with potential clients in a more personal and meaningful way. By facilitating a discussion and actively engaging with the participants, you can build relationships and establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry.

  3. Drive demand for your products or services. By hosting a virtual roundtable on a topic that is relevant to your target audience and aligns with your demand generation goals, you can showcase your expertise and drive demand for your products or services.

Use cases for virtual roundtables

There are a variety of use cases for virtual roundtables, depending on your target audience and demand generation goals. In our context of B2B demand generation, some possible use cases include:

  1. Industry-specific discussions. Host a virtual roundtable on a specific topic or the latest trends within your industry. Invite experts or thought leaders to share their insights and experience. This can be a great way to showcase your expertise and build relationships with potential clients within your industry.

  2. Product or service demonstrations. Use a virtual roundtable to demonstrate your products or services to a small group of potential clients. This can be a more personal and interactive way to showcase your offerings and generate demand.

  3. Customer panel discussions. Invite a group of your current customers to participate in a virtual roundtable discussion on their experiences with your products or services. This can be a great way to gather valuable feedback and showcase your products or services to a wider audience.

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How to host a roundtable discussion

Here are some tips on how to host a successful roundtable discussion:

  1. Identify the topic and purpose of the discussion. The first step in hosting a roundtable discussion is to determine the topic and purpose of the discussion. Consider what you want to achieve through the discussion and who your ideal customer profiles are. The topic should be relevant and interesting to your target audience, and the purpose should align with your demand generation goals.

  2. Invite the right participants. The success of a roundtable discussion depends on the quality and diversity of the participants. Invite experts or thought leaders who are knowledgeable and passionate about the topic at hand. Consider inviting participants from different industries, backgrounds, and levels of experience to bring a range of perspectives to the discussion.

  3. Set the agenda and format. Once you have identified the topic and invited the participants, the next step is to set the agenda and format for the discussion. The agenda should outline the topics to be covered and the time allocated for each topic. The format should be structured but flexible enough to allow for open discussion and collaboration. Consider using breakout sessions or interactive activities to encourage participation and engage the audience.

  4. Promote the event. Once the details of the roundtable discussion are finalized, it’s important to promote the event to your target audience. Use social media, email marketing, or a B2B demand generation agency to advertise the event and encourage registration. Consider offering incentives, such as discounts or exclusive content, to encourage people to attend.

  5. Facilitate the discussion. As the facilitator of the roundtable discussion, it’s your job to keep the conversation on track and ensure that all participants have the opportunity to contribute. Start by introducing the participants and setting the stage for the discussion. Encourage open and respectful dialogue and use questions to guide the conversation and ensure that all participants have the opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas.

  6. Follow up after the event. The work doesn’t stop once the roundtable discussion is over. After the event, be sure to follow up with the participants and thank them for their participation. Consider sharing any insights or takeaways from the discussion with the wider community and use the event as an opportunity to build relationships with potential clients and drive demand for your products or services.

"I highly recommend ViB to anyone who is looking to engage their audience, gain insights, generate demand, and overall give participants an excellent virtual event experience.”
Paula Ellis​
Director, Global ABM Center of Excellent, UiPath

Virtual roundtable best practices

It’s important to follow virtual roundtable best practices to hold the most productive meetings possible, such as coming up with creative names for roundtable discussions. 

1: Goal alignment

First, you should define your overall mission or objective. Why are you hosting the discussion, and what problems are you hoping your panel will be able to solve?

2: Structure

You should also decide on the proper format. Most meetings range from one to two hours—any longer than that and you risk losing your participants.

In some cases, it may even be helpful to have an expert moderator overseeing the discussion. 

3: Learning from experts

For ideas on how to moderate a roundtable discussion, it can be helpful to view a round table discussion example. Modeling your discussion after another successful meeting can help ensure adherence to best practices and help keep everyone engaged. 

If this is your first time hosting a roundtable event, it can be particularly useful to study other examples and templates. See what has worked well—and what hasn’t—for other businesses and determine what might work best for your company. 

Working with a virtual roundtable platform or partner

Learning about how virtual roundtable platforms work is a great starting point for holding an effective meeting. But to actually host that discussion, you should know where to turn. 

A virtual roundtable platform provides the tools and software for users to host roundtable discussions. 

You can use a team round table to speak with a large group, and there are even platforms that cater to smaller teams. To get your team excited about the event, you might consider browsing creative names for roundtable discussions to liven things up. You should also think about audience, geography, and industry when choosing topics and platforms. 

Best platforms for hosting virtual roundtable discussions:

  • 6Connex
  • Adobe Connect
  • AltspaceVR
  • BigMarker
  • Cisco Webex
  • ViB

 

With ViB, also get end-to-end support for planning, promoting and hosting a virtual discussion with minimal legwork on your part. Especially if you’re looking for external participants to join your event, the ViB Community has you covered.

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Coming up with round table topic ideas

Thinking of the perfect round table discussion topics is critical to ensuring a successful meeting and to keep your participants especially engaged. So what are some things to know to nail this step?

Tip 1: Pick an open ended and broad topic

Ideally, you should aim to cover topics that couldn’t be covered in a regular meeting or email. 

The goal is to have a thorough discussion with lots of input from your guests, so while it’s important to keep things lively, you should also ensure you’re touching on each of your critical points. Common topics include attracting new talent, managing remote workers, new employee onboarding, and how to deal with burnout.

Tip 2: Connect your topic to existing goals or challenges

When coming up with round table discussion topics for employees, it can be helpful to gather feedback from the participants themselves. 

Before setting a meeting agenda, ask around and see what it is people are most interested in discussing:

Does anyone have a new idea that they’re just dying to share? Are there any questions or concerns that should be brought up in a meeting? 

Round table discussion topics for businesses

If you’re looking for round table discussion topics for business, I’ve got that covered too. These range from onboarding ideas to new tech implementation. There are so many fun round table discussion topics you can leverage to promote a lively, productive conversation. 

When coming up with round table discussion topics for employees, you should think about your business goals. Is there a big project coming up that you feel should be introduced? Are there any questions or concerns that should be immediately addressed? 

Topics for round table discussion can vary a great deal, so it’s up to you to determine your most pressing business needs. 

Business networking discussion topics include professional development opportunities, customer satisfaction and retention, business growth, your company’s social media presence, and more. Further, leadership roundtable discussion topics might center around issues pertaining specifically to organizational leadership.

For instance, you might discuss future goals for the organization and where you plan to take things in the near future. Whether your roundtable discussion involves the whole company or leadership only, it’s important to tailor your discussion to the most pressing topics that pertain to your business. 

Digital work may be on the rise, and the days of meeting in-person only may be coming to an end, but virtual roundtables can be just as engaging as traditional discussion groups. With the right tools and topics, you can promote lively conversation and get the most out of your events.

Getting started with a virtual round table conference

A virtual round table conference is a great way to engage with others in your organization, hear their perspectives, and come up with new ideas for future projects. 

One of the most important parts of conference is orchestrating all the moving parts: from planning and ideating, promotion, preparing for show day, hosting and moderating, and then tracking.

If you lack the resources to host a conference independently, consider working with platforms that specialize in hosting virtual roundtables. Zoom and Crowdcast are two of the most popular platforms for holding virtual roundtable discussions, but ViB is among the best due to its focus on audience engagement and custom support. 

Get all you need to know about ViB’s event marketing solutions today.

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