How to Host an Engaging Roundtable Discussion

Roundtables can be a worthwhile experience and a valuable way to connect with your target audience. You should be interacting with in-house recruiters and listening to their needs.

The team at IHR has years of experience in countless event types and we’d like to help set you up for success! Learn how to create an experience that will be beneficial for all involved by following these top tips.

Select the Perfect Team Member

This is the first and possibly the most important step in preparing for a roundtable – Select the perfect team member for this role! You will need a confident, personable, and well-spoken professional for this job. We recommend this to be someone who is great at selling but does not necessarily need to make the sell this time around. They need to know your product well and have a good understanding of the industry. Ideally, they would have participated in your events before!

Know your Questions

Be aware of the questions that will be asked during the discussion. Hopefully, your event planner will have forwarded the questions that the table will be asked so that you can get an idea of how moderating will go. If you do not receive these questions beforehand, we suggest asking for them prior to the event. Do your research if it’s a topic that you’re unsure about and be prepared to take notes specific to your interests during the session.

Be Personable – Tap into Your Own Experience

Therefore, the person you choose to represent your organisation matters. Use your personal experiences and recommendations when participating in the roundtable conversation. This makes you more relatable and could help others to share their own experiences. You can get the dialogue going by sharing your own analogy, and by doing this it could help others to open up or be reminded of their own experiences.

Allow Everyone a Chance to Talk

This is when you must put your moderator hat on and be aware of who is speaking up. You will want to be sure that everyone is able to participate and has had a chance to give their input. Your goal is to have everyone engaged and have a good experience, so if you notice someone is either being spoken over or not participating at all – this is your chance to reach out. Don’t be afraid to direct the question to them first to kick things off or end a topic by asking if they have anything to add. Think on how you can help some attendees to participate as maybe it is their first time to an event of this nature.

People Buy from People

Following up from the last point, people buy from people. You’ve probably heard this quote before because it’s true, especially in this situation when you can read the room. You’re getting a unique chance to connect with your audience on a personal level. Get to know them and vice versa, save the sales pitch for later. Invite the roundtable to catch up with you at your stand if you have one at the event or if not, let them know that you will be in touch soon. You should have a creative way to follow-up prepared and that’s when your spiel can come into play.

This is Not the Time to Sell

Remember when we said this is a good job for someone good at selling but does not necessarily need to make the sell at this event? This is why! You are hosting this roundtable to listen and interact with your target audience. This is an opportunity to understand their pain points so that you can get to know them and communicate (or sell) with them in the future. You shouldn’t spend the whole time giving a sales pitch or steering the conversation back to your product/service.

It’s Your Responsibility to Follow Up

Hopefully, you have already prepared a creative follow up for interested attendees, prior to the event. If you are lost on how to do that, don’t worry we have a list of tips for you here, The Perfect Way to Follow Up After an Event. The responsibility to follow up after an event falls on you to do so fast and in an effective way.

Soon hosting roundtables will be a part of your skill toolbelt! Let us know what your go-to tips are and the success you find when using ours. If you would like to put your new skills to use and are interested in hosting a roundtable, please reach out to our partnerships team.