For instance, when Warren Levy, president of Compelling Meetings in the Philadelphia area, planned a law firm's annual partners meeting two years ago, he persuaded his client to opt out of the traditional approach to panel discussions.
enlisted a moderator to pepper the speakers with tough questions on new developments in the industry and to encourage them to elaborate on points of disagreement.
The firm got such positive feedback from its partners that it hired him to plan the following year's meeting.
Running a meeting this way takes an extra effort to get panelists to buy into the idea in advance, he
"The challenge is you have to pick speakers who are willing to do that," he
"There are some panelists I describe as inert.
They want to make their point of view known and go."
Giving attendees more opportunities to interact with speakers informally can also add value to client meetings without a higher price tag, Levy
At a recent healthcare related meeting for a global consulting firm, he
arranged in advance for the speakers to sit at tables among the senior executives who attended when they weren't at the podium, to foster more offline discussions.
"It would have been interesting to have them there just to speak, but it's much more revealing and original to have them interact with everyone," he
believes such measures are necessary at a time when many executives are questioning whether they should bother attending certain meetings at all.
"CEOs have made the decision that their time is too valuable to attend meetings, unless they are going to be interacting with people who are critical to them," he