🚀 The Event Playbook: Proven strategies to level up your next event!

🚀 The Event Playbook:
Proven strategies to level up your next event!

The Event Planner’s Guide to Virtual Roundtable Success

The potency of virtual events is undeniable. In today's fast-paced business landscape, virtual roundtable discussions have emerged as an essential tool for fostering meaningful connections, exchanging invaluable insights, and catalyzing collaboration across diverse sectors. So, how does one orchestrate a successful roundtable that yields tangible results?

Defining Virtual Roundtables

Virtual roundtables serve as a powerful medium for business leaders to convene and deliberate on pressing issues or themes pertinent to their respective domains. 

Conducted online, these digital gatherings enable professionals from across the globe to assemble within a single virtual environment and engage in open discourse, dissecting multifaceted viewpoints surrounding the focal subject.

Typically, virtual roundtables showcase senior executives from a singular industry; however, CEOs from diverse backgrounds may also participate.

Depending on the roundtable’s objectives, it can take the form of a casual learning and sharing opportunity or adopt a more structured, debate-like format with contrasting opinions.

Furthermore, virtual roundtables facilitate forging substantial connections between pivotal decision-makers in your commercial network, transcending the limitations of conventional online communication methods such as emails or video conference calls.

The Unparalleled Influence of Virtual Roundtables

there are four people talking on the same screen with a speech bubble, representing advancemments in communication tech

As technological advancements propel the prevalence of video chats, online forums, and instant messaging applications, virtual roundtables have become increasingly accessible.

These discussions empower members of an organization to explore topics from myriad perspectives, allowing each participant an opportunity to voice their thoughts and exchange ideas.

Consequently, virtual roundtables foster a sense of connection that may surpass what traditional in-person meetings can offer.

10 Steps to Hosting Effective Virtual Roundtables

Whether you’re a seasoned event organizer or new to the virtual space, our pro guide will equip you with the essential strategies to host an engaging virtual roundtable. 

Let’s delve into the 10 key steps to an exceptional virtual roundtable experience.

1. Define Goals for Your Virtual Roundtable Discussion

someone is drawing a light bulb with arrows and a question mark, representing problems that could be solved by your virtual roundtable

Always consider the goals of your business, audience, and goals. What problem needs to be solved? How can you bring value to the audience? Some goals may be: 

  • Increasing sales
  • Gaining valuable feedback from customers
  • Building relationships with potential clients
  • Collaborating with important stakeholders and potential customer base
  • Drive idea generation and solutions among attendees and participating companies
  • Create a robust platform for senior decision-makers and expert discussions
  • Once you know the specific goal that needs solving through the roundtable discussion, this will provide a strong foundation for developing objectives that are tailored towards helping answer that goal.

    2. Choose Topics That Impact the Target Audience

    people engaged in an event sitting in a row clapping and clapping with their hands

    Finding content that engages and excites your audience guarantees they stay connected with your message until the end. 

    Think about current events or industry happenings that are hot topics today — these serve as great starting points for productive conversations that demonstrate your knowledge of the industry and allow you to tackle even more complex questions together.

    Create solutions. Make a big impact! Whatever it is, you want to ensure it’s valuable for those attending so they walk away feeling like their time has been well spent.

    3. Promote with Strategic Event Marketing

    Half of planning a virtual roundtable discussion is promoting the event.

    Event marketing using proven methods will increase ticket sales and excitement. Promoting your roundtable early and often is essential for ensuring strong attendance:

    1. Promote your event early and consistently to maximize attendance
    2. Use targeted email campaigns to reach potential attendees effectively
    3. Segment your invitation list based on title and industry for relevancy
    4. Use social media platforms for broad event awareness
    5. Focus on LinkedIn and Twitter to reach companies
    6. Utilize high-end branded visuals to stand out in newsfeeds and captivate interest
    7. Strategically use catchy event hashtags to expand event visibility beyond your network
    8. Build business relationships with potential attendees during the promotional process

    And don’t worry if you don’t have the time to market your event. When you work with a professional event marketing team, you guarantee event success. 

    For example, We & Goliath does the heavy lifting for our clients, managing successful marketing from e-mails to interactive registration sites to gorgeous graphics

    Partnering with professionals guarantees a successful virtual conference with high engagement and attendance. 

    4. Create Your Speaker List and Moderators

    a brightly colored light bulb with a white background, representing knowledgeable speakers

    The ideal speakers for virtual roundtables should bring their specialized knowledge and insights related to the subject matter. Ask yourself how much they know about their chosen topic and what expertise they have.

    Invite subject matter experts who can contribute unique perspectives and solutions that add value to any conversation and provide relevant information.

    Do your homework when looking for qualified roundtable speakers and thoroughly evaluate each candidate before sending out invitations.

    What is the Role of the Moderator? 

    Your moderator plays a vital role in creating an inviting and interactive space for your guests and attending companies. 

    When looking over potential moderators, ensure they understand their role in facilitating discourse while leaving aside any direction or agenda for the conversation. 

    An informed and impartial moderator will ensure your roundtable meetings run efficiently and effectively. Consult with other experienced event planners in your network for moderator recommendations. 

    5. Invite Your Target Audience and Customer List

    there is a subject matter expert standing at a podium giving a presentation

    Inviting key partners, subject matter experts, and potential customers to participate in your roundtable discussions guarantees efficient and productive dialogue. 

    It maximizes your chances of success by pairing up with someone who can offer valuable insights. 

    Giving each attendee a chance to share their perspective on the discussion topic helps create a more productive session. Invite regional businesses in your industry, top executives, or senior decision-makers. 

    Build a Robust Potential Client List

    A key benefit to inviting a robust conclave of thought leaders, speakers, and companies for your virtual event includes building up your client list. 

    Many of the speakers you invite will use this opportunity to speak on their chosen expertise, build up their own customer list, and increase their overall reach and possible opportunities. 

    For this reason, spend significant time compiling a list of senior executives, companies, and influencers that will contribute to the discussion and bring a wide range of potential clients to your roundtable meeting. 

    Easy starting packages • Advanced options • Proven results

    6. Choose the Right Virtual Event Platform and Production Team

    man sitting on a couch having a meaningful discussion with another person on his laptop computer screen

    Virtual roundtables offer a valuable opportunity for meaningful discussions in a secure environment. However, setting up a successful virtual roundtable can be challenging, requiring a user-friendly and feature-rich event platform

    Well-known solutions like Zoom and Crowdcast excel in this area, but other reputable options are available. 

    Platforms like Adobe Connect and Cisco Webex offer useful virtual tools. Your production professionals can work with you to find the perfect event platform

    Partner with the Right Virtual Production Team

    Work with a seasoned virtual event production team for your roundtable. 

    Find a production team with technical expertise in virtual event technology, professional equipment, and prior experience in organizing roundtable discussions. 

    The team should execute the event seamlessly, collaborate and communicate effectively, and handle unexpected challenges.

    Assess their ability to customize the event and offer post-event support. Choosing the right team delivers a smooth and engaging virtual roundtable experience.

    Work with a seasoned virtual event production team for your roundtable. 

    Find a production team with technical expertise in virtual event technology, professional equipment, and prior experience in organizing roundtable discussions. 

    The team should execute the event seamlessly, collaborate and communicate effectively, and handle unexpected challenges.

    Assess their ability to customize the event and offer post-event support. Choosing the right team delivers a smooth and engaging virtual roundtable experience.

    7. Prepare Engaging Moderator Questions and Activities

    there is a moderator sitting at a desk with a laptop and a plant

    Preparing questions on roundtable discussion topics for your moderator beforehand guarantees all perspectives are represented thoughtfully and respectfully. 

    It also helps facilitate engagement between the audience and panelists by allowing everyone to contribute or ask meaningful questions during the meeting. 

    Encouraging people to submit questions during registration incentivizes potential attendees to sign up and become involved. Some common questions are: 

  • “What are your thoughts on this topic?”
  • “Can you share an example from your experience?”
  • “How do you see this impacting your industry?”
  • “What challenges do you anticipate in the future?”
  • “What solutions or strategies have you found effective?”
  • With the right combination of professional moderation and active engagement from participants, any discussion yields positive results.

    8. Host an Unforgettable Virtual Roundtable

    photo of a group of people standing around a table with a laptop to symbolize event preparation

    Preparing for your virtual roundtable discussion requires thoughtful consideration, and a few days before the event, it is important to take the time to ensure all attendees are prepared.

    1. Before the event, send a reminder email with the agenda
    2. Check-in with guests and participating businesses before the event starts
    3. Arrange a backup guest speaker if needed
    4. Organize effectively for a smooth conference
    5. Schedule opportunities for networking with businesses and thought leaders

    Being well-prepared and working with a seasoned team will help ensure that you host an unforgettable roundtable experience. 

    On the virtual conference day, ensure your moderator greets everyone pleasantly and properly introduces them before jumping into any discussions or questions. This will form an inviting atmosphere and allow everyone to express their thoughts without feeling awkward.

    Keep track of time throughout the event, too, so conversations don’t run over or remain unbalanced across topics. 

    A successful virtual roundtable relies on prepared event organizers and strong management.

    9. 12 Ideas for Interactive Audience Engagement

    man on a virtual conference using his desktop computer for video and tablet for audio

    Attendees want to feel engaged during the roundtable, like their insights matter. How can you do this? Incorporate interactive sessions and activities that build interest and audience engagement. Some popular ideas include: 

    1. Poll attendees for real-time feedback
    2. Encourage active participation through chat discussions
    3. Conduct interactive Q&A sessions with participants
    4. Share relevant visual presentations or slides
    5. Use breakout rooms for small group discussions
    6. Incorporate interactive polls, surveys, or quizzes
    7. Foster networking opportunities through virtual icebreakers
    8. Engage attendees with live surveys or opinion polls
    9. Invite guest speakers from diverse perspectives
    10. Enable virtual hand-raising for audience questions
    11. Gamify the event with interactive challenges or contests
    12. Provide downloadable resources for further engagement and learning

    By scheduling exciting activities for your virtual roundtable discussion, you create a valuable experience for your attendees. 

    10. Always Follow-Up After The Roundtable

    speech bubbles with the words thank you on them

    The essential goal of a follow-up plan after a virtual roundtable discussion should be to capitalize on the insight gained from the conversation. Build rapport and create community.

    Invite Attendees to a Follow-Up Event

    Schedule a follow-up meeting as soon as possible, preferably within two weeks of the initial discussion, to ensure your audience and participating companies remember you and explore potential opportunities, customer relationships, and innovative partnerships.

    Show Appreciation with Thank-You Notes

    Sending thank-you notes for their time is also important; it shows professionalism and appreciation, increasing customer satisfaction. 

    Ideally, your purpose behind this follow-up plan should be building relationships with attendees and businesses while driving progress toward possible outcomes such as expanding sales or obtaining partnerships with influencers and businesses in your industry.

    Send Out Feedback Surveys to Gather Valuable Insight and Data

    Collecting feedback from roundtable discussions is an incredibly valuable exercise. It allows participating companies and attendees to express their thoughts and opinions and provides helpful arguments for any potential tweaks or adjustments you need to make. 

    Surveys offer a great opportunity to do this, letting participants easily fill out the questionnaire after the completion of the discussion. This makes getting feedback easy and provides meaningful data that can be used to refine your program further. 

    Foster Innovation with a Successful Virtual Roundtable

    Hosting a successful virtual roundtable event requires careful planning and execution. By following these 10 steps, your event will be engaging and impactful.

    With these winning strategies in place, you’ll be well-equipped to host a memorable and productive virtual roundtable event that leaves a lasting impression on your participants.

    We & Goliath is Ready for Your Next Big Impact Event!

    Our team hopes you are inspired to host your next impactful event! Since 1999, the We & Goliath team has offered highly successful digital campaigns, including virtual and hybrid event production and marketing for global enterprises, SMBs, and non-profits, with an 89% conference client retention rate.

    We know the odds against success – and how to overcome them!

    We combine smart strategy and beautiful designs with expert marketing and innovative technology to create virtual experiences enjoyed and remembered.

    Whatever your goal – increased ROI, enhanced collaboration and performance, education, fundraising – count on We & Goliath to create an event that will achieve with our innovative end-to-end solutions!

    Contact us today for your free strategy session. No matter the challenges you face, we’ve got your slingshot.

    We & Goliath

    We & Goliath is an award-winning, top 100 worldwide event agency known for increasing conference attendance by 7X and profits by 3X through beautifully designed virtual, hybrid, and in-person events. Since 1999, their team of innovative strategists and creative designers has worked with global enterprises, SMBs, non-profits, and other organizations to engage audiences and exceed expectations.

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