The Return of the Roundtable: Why a Meeting of the Minds is Beneficial for Your Business

The purpose of a holding a meeting is primarily to share some time with colleagues and potential business partners in order to exchange views, so you can come to an agreement and work out a way to move forward. That sounds like a good idea in principle, but when you end up in a meeting where one person seems to hog the limelight and you seem to end up listening to their views to the exclusion of others, you might be wishing that the next meeting is held roundtable style.

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Travelling to a meeting can be stressful enough, so when you finally get there, you want it to be a relaxing experience, and a roundtable discussion can fill the bill. Be sure to arrive early, so you can take some time to relax before the meeting, especially if you end up with a flight delay or cancellation.  If that happens, you may be eligible for compensation, and to find out more, be sure to use the free and easy online flight compensation calculator at  bottonline.co.uk to help you.

The most important tip before you leave is to request a roundtable meeting setup. Here’s why.

A Meeting of the Minds

A roundtable format is not a new concept as such, but it is a style of meeting that allows everyone who attends, to get the chance to air their views and share valuable insights, rather than listen to one person trying to dictate proceedings.

A roundtable meeting typically consists of about a dozen relevant people who share a common interest in the subject matter being discussed.

The way the meeting is arranged and planned allows everyone the opportunity to enjoy the chance to exchange meaningful dialogue in a more open way around the table, rather than the sort of level of formality that can sometimes stifle progress and spoil the benefit of meeting in the first place.

Chairperson

If you are following the rules of engagement that generally apply to a roundtable format, then there should be someone who assumes the role of chairperson, but mainly acts as a moderator rather than dictating proceedings.

There often has to be structure to a meeting and an agenda as to what is going to be discussed, so even a roundtable meeting that is designed to be more of an open discussion format, does need someone who is able to help with the rhythm and progress of the meeting dialogue.

Keep it Moving

As with any meeting format there are certain do’s and don’ts that are best to follow if you want to get the most of a roundtable discussion.

It is often a good idea for the chairperson to make everyone aware of time limits for each topic of discussion, and then impose those restrictions so that you keep the dialogue moving along at a good pace.

For a roundtable meeting to be truly effective, your aim should be to ensure that each topic is clear, as this will mean that you get a good level of feedback and input from everyone around the table.

As a general rule, aim to wrap up everything you want to talk about within a 60-minute timeframe. Any longer than that could result in the conversation losing shape and purpose, which is not something you want if you are going to get the best out of your roundtable meeting.

Some meetings are productive, while others are not, but a roundtable discussion gives everyone a chance to speak their mind in a more casual manner. This can open up a valuable dialogue, solve problems and reduce roadblocks to success.

Kevin Farrell run an events company which has grown from a 1 man band to a staff of 20. He likes to share his, sometimes unconventional, business tips with other startups and small business owners.