Virtual Programming: Virtual Round Tables

Virtual roundtables are hosted among niche groups when the audience will be relatively small and/or the topic is very specific and focused. An example is an employer roundtable, or a directors roundtable to discuss a specific issue such as business school rankings. A member of the Virtual Programming Committee serves as faciliator, and questions can be solicited in advance if desired. The roundtables include open discussion, and typically do not have a presentation component. 

Pre-Event 

  1. Along with the Virtual Programming Committee, determine the topic for the round table based on the organization’s strategic priorities, member feedback, current industry trends and committee input. Unlike the webinars, virtual round tables are often developed as needed based on current market trends and member needs. Each round table should be confirmed no later than four weeks in advance. 
  2. Create the round table title and description and enter it into the round table tracking sheet. 
  3. Once the event registration is live on the web site, be sure to register for the event so you will receive the login details.  
  4. Prepare at least five questions about the topic.
  5. Let the Executive Director know which, if any, interactive tools you want to use during the round table, including:
    • Polls
    • Breakout rooms
    • White board
    • Screen sharing
 

During the Event

 
  1. Log in to the Round Table 15 minutes in advance (along with the Executive Director/Administrative Assistant), using the login information that is in the confirmation email you received when you registered for the event (there is no separate login for facilitators or event leads). 
  2. As a facilitator, you do not need to have any special technical expertise or familiarity with the software. The Executive Director or Administrative Assistant will handle all technical/administrative aspects of the event. This includes: recording the event and muting callers as needed due to background noise.
  3. Introduce the topic at the beginning, and welcome people to the event (see sample script below).
  4. Ask questions to get the conversation started and keep it going. If needed, call on individuals to ask for their expertise or input. Keep an eye on the chat, as some people will ask questions and provide comments there (especially with larger groups). Make sure one or two people don't dominate the conversation.
  5. Close out the event at the end, thanking the speaker(s) and making any necessary announcements (see sample script below)

Facilitation Tips
 

  • Try to engage everyone in the group, if possible. This can be done by encouraging conversation in the chat, using breakout rooms for groups larger than 50, or asking questions like "Has everyone had a chance to contribute?"
  • Ask questions, and ask everyone to respond in the chat. This works well with groups larger than 20 when it will take a long time for everyone to respond using audio.
  • Use screen sharing when there are lengthy questions, but use it minimally so that attendees can see each other.
  • Use polls (let the Executive Director know the questions in advance).
  • Encourage attendees to use the virtual interaction tools, such as hand clapping or thumbs up.
     

Sample Scripts

Introduction

Good morning! This is [name] from  [insert university or organization] I am a member of the MBA CSEA Virtual Programming Committee.  Welcome to all of our virtual round table participants. We're excited to get started today with a converstaion about [topic].(feel free to add more details about why the topic was selected, if desired).

I have few technology pointers before we get started.
  • In order to avoid disruptions and background noise, please mute your audio when you are not speaking. If we hear background noise, we will mute you on the back end. .
  • To ask a question or contribute to the discussion, please unmute your audio and/or use the chat function, which can be found on the bottom of your screen.
  • This meeting is being recorded, and it will be available in the Document Library, which can be accesed through your login at: www.mbacsea.org.
Closing

Thank you for your participation and contributions to this discussion! We look forward to seeing you at future MBA CSEA events. We have the following coming up: [check the event calendar and list all upcoming events in the next month].

Please feel free to reach out to our Executive Director if you have any feedback about this event or ideas for future topics.