What is a Round Table Discussion?

businesswoman addressing colleagues at a corporate business meeting, close up

What is a Round Table Discussion?

A round table discussion is an organized conversation, either in person or virtually, around a specific topic where each participant is given an equal opportunity to contribute. Round table discussions typically have a moderator to keep the discussion on track, as each participant gives insight into the issue at hand. Often, the moderator or meeting leader has a deeper insight into the round table discussion topics and can provide additional information about the issue being discussed.

When organizations face a problem that needs to be solved, an issue that needs to be addressed, or plans for the future that need to be mapped out, they can leave it up to the organization’s leader to make the decision, bring in an outside consultant to make recommendations, or conduct a roundtable discussion to hear everyone's perspectives.

Although there are no hard and fast rules, round table discussions tend to be informal affairs, typically involving no more than eight to 10 people at the discussion table and lasting no more than an hour.

Other discussion formats can be beneficial for different situations:

  • Panel discussions

  • Fishbowl discussions

Example of a round table discussion

An example of a round table discussion in the business world might be one that solicits input on how best to bring a new product to market or new policies or procedures that a company needs to consider. 

Over the past few years, for example, many organizations have held round table discussions on the future of a hybrid work environment. Others have held talks on ways to improve employee morale and minimize turnover, while still others have sought ideas for growth and innovation within the organization.

How to conduct a roundtable discussion

One of the key challenges of a roundtable discussion is ensuring the process stays focused on the task at hand and doesn’t devolve into a general airing of grievances. 

Here are some tips on structuring a round table discussion to keep it productive:

  • Begin with introductions (if necessary)

  • Assign someone to take notes

  • Give an overview of the topic at hand

  • Provide discussion questions and any background information needed

  • Set time limits for individual input as well as the entire discussion

  • Go around the table to ensure everyone has a chance to speak

  • As the end time of the discussion approaches, summarize what’s been discussed

  • Make arrangements to provide discussion notes to participants and relevant stakeholders

  • Schedule a follow-up discussion if necessary

And when preparing for a roundtable discussion, don’t overlook some critical considerations:

First, where will the meeting be held? Good roundtable discussions can be animated, so it’s important to hold them in a space that offers privacy. Additionally, participants may be cautious about offering their honest opinions if their bosses are within earshot.

Instead of holding the discussion in the middle of the office, a huddle room or small conference room might be a more appropriate venue.

Huddle rooms, small spaces that typically hold 2-8 people, tend to offer a casual and minimalist environment that encourages spontaneity. Many companies today incorporate several huddle rooms into their office floor plan.

For groups on the larger side (but including no more than 10 people) a conference room might be the best location. On the downside, conference rooms often have an air of formality that may tend to discourage open discussion. Conference rooms also often need to be reserved days or weeks in advance, potentially slowing down much-needed change.

Best microphones for round table discussions

Whether you hold a virtual roundtable discussion over a videoconference platform, or within a conference room, training space, or huddle room you’ll want to ensure the room and its participants are equipped for great sounding audio.

Consider the following microphone recommendations from the AV experts at Yamaha Unified Communications:

RM-CG ceiling microphone

The RM-CG ceiling microphone utilizes advanced beamforming technology to effectively track which participants are speaking during a round table discussion or other conference room meeting. This allows each participant to be clearly heard, even when discussions become more lively when several people might be talking at once. The RM-CG ceiling microphone features adaptive echo cancellation, automatic gain control, and dereverberation to keep meeting audio crystal clear for all participants in the room, or those listening in virtually via videoconferencing platforms.

RM-TT tabletop wired microphone


Yamaha UC’s RM-TT tabletop wired microphone is engineered with state-of-the-art automatic voice tracking, auto gain control, adaptive echo cancellation, and noise reduction. This intelligent microphone is designed with several customizable directional modes to capture voices in the room no matter where the speaker is located.

YVC-330 USB & Bluetooth speakerphone

The YVC-330 portable USB & Bluetooth conference phone incorporates SoundCap technology that focuses on participants around the table, eliminating background noise to allow participants on the other end of the call to focus on the conversation. The YVC-330 features three built-in unidirectional microphones with Human Voice Activity Detection to pick up speech clearly.

ESB-1090 Enterprise Sound Bar

And Yamaha UC’s ESB-1090 Enterprise Sound Bar features rich sound output and premium sound quality to enhance remote conferencing and content sharing. The Sound Bar incorporates two built-in subwoofers, dome tweeters and full-range speakers, along with three preset modes to optimize sound and operability. The ESB-1090 offers a flexible installation with both flat and wall-mount options to blend into nearly any room design.

These are just a few Yamaha UC products that can help facilitate roundtable discussions at your organization. For additional advice on the best products to meet your communication needs, reach out to the experts at Yamaha Unified Communications. We're here to help!