Round table guidelines

What is a roundtable discussion?

The roundtable discussions are an opportunity for participants to get together in an informal setting to examine issues as they relate to cultural or cross-cultural psychology. There is no formal agenda, but there are specific topics. The facilitator needs to be well-versed on the topic and engage group members in the discussion.  The duration of a round table will be of a maximum of 90 minutes

There is no projection available during these sessions.

Format Options:

Facilitators can have questions prepared in advance and provide it to the registered participants (the goal is to get at and discuss the issues surrounding this topic).
Another format is to have the audience present questions to the roundtable participants. If you choose this option please have questions sent to the Scientific Committee at, these will be made available to the participants by July 16, 2019.   A combination of these is also an option.

Qualities of Effective Roundtables:

  • Time managed carefully
  • Moderator well versed on topic and keeps focused
  • Facilitator does as much prep work for discussion as possible
  • Summary of highlights
  • The roundtable discussions should take at least 60 minutes
Suggestions for preparation materials and Roundtable Discussion issues.

Background information, findings publicized, and other key facts about the topic to be discussed.
Provide as much information as possible to the roundtable participants. Any summary background information that is available, pertinent or pending legislation or regulatory requirements, web links, other references.

Suggested presentation:

  • The central question/issue/problem you examined
  • Your findings
  • Your conclusions based on these findings
  • Implications for research, policy making, and practice
  • Questions for audience members
Roundtable discussion issues

One format for a roundtable is to have the questions prepared in advance and provided to the participants. If this is the chosen methodology, identify the key topics the roundtable is to address. Then develop thought-provoking, open-ended questions to get at and discuss the issues surrounding these topics. Be detailed in the formulation of the questions. Develop enough questions to completely explore the issues. You do not need to expect a specific answer to each individual question; the discussion can address multiple questions. The best source for topics and related questions are the people who will participate in the roundtable.

Another format is to have the audience present questions to the roundtable participants for spontaneous response.
A combination of these two formats is also an option.

Suggestions for roundtable facilitation

The overriding goal of this type of event is participation and information exchange by the participants. If this happens you’ve achieved your objective. The following bullets are intended to help the facilitator get into the proper frame of mind to achieve this goal:

  1. Re-familiarize yourself with your objectives, process, and deliverables in advance.
  2. Review the process you will use (how they are going to get there) so the group will know what is to be covered now or later, when, for how long, etc.
  3. Get participants to supply the responses to the questions.
  4. Stay on point/issue/target with the group as much as possible.
  5. Recognize your view is least important to the group.
  6. Avoid answering your own questions.
  7. Stay active, attentive, standing, engaged.
  8. Maintain a positive, supportive, on-point attitude.
  9. React to participant comments with patience and non-evaluative demeanor.
  10. Focus on participant while speaking and paraphrase back for clarification as needed.
  11. Demonstrate you know something (but not too much) about the area under discussion.
  12. Recognize all who want to speak with attentiveness and a smile.
  13. Maintain a posture of openness, interest, and interaction.
  14. Appreciate people for their contributions to the discussion.
  15. Move the discussion to the next point when interest wanes or overkill is evident.
  16. Promise and deliver on the results they achieved.
  17. Do not allow any one participant to monopolize the roundtable.
  18. Have a designated scribe and facilitator assistant available at the roundtable. The scribe should obtain feedback of member sentiment.
Suggestions for opening comments / introduction / ground rules
  1. Facilitator self-introduction and welcoming of the group.
  2. Explanation of facilitator’s role and process.
  3. General expectations/objectives of roundtable.
  4. Discuss schedule, timing and ground rules. Review planned roundtable format (what? how? how long? why? what’s in it for you?).
  5. Participant introduction.
  6. Gather preliminary discussion questions and record.
  7. Reach consensus and summarize roundtable objectives and ground rules.