Avoid These Mistakes When Hosting Your Next Round Table Meeting

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Avoid These Mistakes When Hosting Your Next Round Table Meeting

Before you host your next round table meeting, there are certain mistakes you’ll want to avoid. This article covers the gaffes you should never do.

Keyword(s): round table meeting

Part of what makes or breaks a business is its ability to come up with out-of-the-box solutions for both internal and external challenges. You need to be able to tackle challenges in new ways and find innovative ways to operate in your industry. One great way to do this is by hosting a round table meeting.

While round table meetings are fantastic tools for creative collaboration, they can get out of hand if not managed properly. Read on to discover some of the mistakes you should avoid when planning your next round table discussion.

What Is a Round Table Meeting?

Before we dive into which mistakes to avoid in your round table meetings, let’s talk some about what these meetings are. In essence, a round table discussion is a brainstorming session for your company. You invite creative, influential, and/or expert people to discuss potential solutions to a given problem.

Round table discussions are often comprised of leaders within a company or industry. These people will have the best knowledge and background to come up with creative, functional solutions. This kind of collaboration can also help people with different areas of expertise understand more of their counterparts’ perspectives and needs in the industry.

Benefits of Round Table Meetings

One of the best things about round table meetings is they can generate out-of-the-box solutions. Everyone gets an equal platform to present their ideas with no judgment or concern about office politics. You have the best and brightest in your industry working together to generate new approaches.

Your company can also get a better insight into the kinds of miscommunications and barriers that might be hiding within your business during a roundtable meeting. If you have a meeting with people from different departments, you can watch how they interact and what sorts of issues arise. This information can help you develop a more cohesive company culture.

Don’t Make a Plan

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when arranging a round table meeting is not to make a plan. It may seem tempting to put a topic on the table for discussion and turn your group of experts loose to tackle it. But this approach will end with a lot of unrelated tangents, unstructured discussions, and wasted time.

Instead, lay out a loose outline of points you want to cover during the discussion. Start with which approaches your company has already tried, what the results were, and why they failed. From there, you can move to potential solutions. End by taking the most feasible solutions and breaking them down into practical considerations for the group to tackle.

Get an Inexperienced Moderator

Having a strong moderator is one of the most important keys to a successful round table meeting. Your moderator will be in charge of making sure no one gets interrupted or criticized. They will also keep conversations civil and unemotional and keep the meeting on track.

You don’t want an inexperienced or unconfident moderator running your round table meetings. Your moderator needs to feel comfortable managing a group of driven, accomplished people and putting them back in line when they go too far. They also need to be skilled at keeping a conversation moving forward without making things feel rushed.

Don’t Control Your Participant Pool

You might also find yourself tempted to open your round table discussions to anyone who cares to join. After all, the more heads in the discussion, the more creative ideas you can come up with, right? But having a participant pool that’s either too large or too small can kill a round table discussion.

If you have too many people in your round table, some people will start to feel like they can’t get a word in edge-wise, and the meeting can drag on. If your group is too small, there may not be enough dynamic interplay to get the kind of brainstorming you want to see. You need a group small enough that everyone will be able to contribute to the conversation, but large enough that you get a variety of perspectives in the meeting.

Invite the Wrong People

When you’re choosing your participant pool, you need to be particular about who you invite. Some people are too passionate, too hot-headed, too meek, or too thin-skinned to be able to handle round table discussion dynamics.

Even if they’re experts in their field, these people will derail your conversation. This can cause things to dissolve into chaos, even with the best moderator at the helm.

Look for people who are competent and level-headed to participate in your round table meeting. You want people who have a history of working well with others and collaborating on creative solutions. You also want people who can handle some disagreement or even criticism (though your moderator should do their best to minimize this).

Allow One Person to Dominate the Discussion

When you get a group of smart, creative people in a virtual room together, every one of them is going to be excited about their ideas. If you’ve chosen your participant pool well, these people will also be confident in their abilities and will not be shy about sharing their ideas. Unfortunately, these people are also likely to wind up dominating a conversation, whether by accident or not.

When you’re planning your meeting, set up protocols to keep everyone participating on an equal footing. This may include talk time limits, a limit to the number of times a person can speak on a given topic, or a system for getting each person’s thoughts in turn.

Your moderator should also feel comfortable cutting someone off if they’re spending too much time talking. They should also give quieter participants a space to give their input.

Make Your Next Round Table Meeting a Success

Round table meetings can be a spectacular way to get new ideas and creative solutions for your business. But without proper planning and moderations, these discussions can descend into chaos. You also need to make sure you choose a pool of participants who will be well-suited to these sorts of brainstorming discussions.

If you’d like help navigating your next round table meeting, check out the rest of our site at Frictionless Solutions. We understand the digital landscape and can help you navigate through the many virtual platform options. Contact us today and start running your meetings the smart way.