Association for Continuing Higher Education

Contact Us
The Network of Leaders for Lifelong learning

Tips for creating a top-notch roundtable presentation

March 12, 2015 3:43 PM | ACHE Home Office (Administrator)

The Call for Proposals for ACHE's 2015 Annual Conference and Meeting is now open. This year, our planning committee is seeking to broaden our roundtable presentation offerings. Too often, it seems that people are afraid to commit to a conference presentation because they don't think they have something to say, or they're nervous about standing in front of a room full of people talking for an hour, or... well, you get the picture. We say, nonsense! We ALL learn from each other at conference, and we each have ways to contribute to that learning. A roundtable may just be perfect for you!

This week, guest contributing writer Mickey Baines of Fourth Dimension Partners shares his thoughts on what makes a strong roundtable presenter.

Take it away, Mickey!

Mickey BainesA roundtable discussion is one that encourages small group discussion on a specific topic. This format has been increasingly requested by the attendees of previous ACHE annual conferences. Therefore, the 2015 planning committee is attempting to generate additional proposals for sessions in this format. If you’ve considered presenting in the past, but don’t have the time develop a full presentation, or maybe expertise in a subject, the roundtable session may be your format.

In a roundtable session, the presenter spends 10-20 minutes introducing the topic, presenting particular issues and questions she/he wants participants to consider, and hands the remainder of time over to the attendees to lead the discussion. While the presenter should be knowledgeable on the topic at-hand, she or he need not be a resident expert.

The stand-out roundtable presenter will be a good facilitator, can interpret questions and comments, and help the participants delve and explore the topic in a way that deepens their understanding and presents opportunities for others to expand on their experiences. The presenter will be able to ask follow-up questions to participants, can keep dialogue flowing, and move from question to question continuously through the session to ensure the topic is discussed thoroughly. The presenter will repeat participant questions to ensure all members understand what is being asked, and summarize collective responses to maximize the information shared during the session.

As the facilitator, you may choose to break the attendees into smaller groups for discussion, before bringing everyone back to a larger group to share the collective comments, questions and thoughts. The key element for success with this format is controlling the time spent in the smaller groups, allowing sufficient time for each group to share their conversation points to the entire audience. If the audience isn’t too large, you may choose to lead the discussion with all members of the audience.

The roundtable session is one of the most interactive formats of sessions offered at the ACHE Annual Conference. Participants have not only the opportunity to learn from the presenter, but from one another, in a controlled, facilitated dialogue. We want you to join us as a roundtable presenter.

So, what do you think? Are you ready to propose your roundtable topic

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software