meeting facilitation

The most memorable business meetings and panel discussions just don’t happen by accident. They require a few critical components:

  • Select a topic that’s timely and appeals to a large number of people – Perhaps something that’s new and having an effect on the business environment, such as the relationship between CMOs and digital marketing agencies, the pro’s and con’s of applicant tracking systems, or the impact of marketing automation.

  • Promote the event early and often –The more people that know about meetings in advance, the greater the likelihood that they will show up in greater numbers. That’s why it’s important to get the word out through multiple channels including email campaigns, social media, e-newsletters, and websites.

  • Build in a high level of interactivity – Less scripting and more audience engagement generally leads to a more memorable event.

  • Work with a skilled moderator or facilitator – It’s critical to have an outgoing, polished speaker to manage the meeting, interact with the panelists and the audience, and keep the interest level high.

  • Give people the opportunity to ask questions – A great way to engage the audience is to let them know up front that they will have time to ask questions. Care should be taken to allot sufficient time for that to happen.

  • Secure an appropriate venue –It’s important to book a meeting room, conference room, or auditorium that’s appropriate for the event and the expected size of the audience.

  • Use the highest quality audio & projection equipment you can lay your hands on – This is another “must have.” Everyone in the room must be able to clearly see the slides or video that you’re using and hear everyone involved in the presentation. Think about having a secondary roving microphone that can be used when people are asking questions.

  • Offer a playback option for people unable to make the live event – If the event is worth having in the first place, it’s probably worth recording. Consider recording the meeting – at a minimum as an audio recording that can be turned into a webcast after the fact and, if possible, as a video recording shot from a smart phone or tablet. The recording can be edited into a series of video snippets or audio soundbites that can be shared through social media channels. This often overlooked step is capable of giving your company or organization a significant boost in visibility.

Jim Panagas has served as a moderator, facilitator, or guest speaker at a wide range of business events over the course of his career. The event types range from webcasts and podcasts to trade show presentations and panel discussions for professional societies such as the American Marketing Association (AMA), the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), and the Business Marketing Association (BMA). If you’d like to book Jim as a guest speaker or meeting moderator, just use the form on our contact page.

Jim Panagas moderated an insightful panel discussion in March 2019 for a joint event by the American Marketing Association and Public Relations Society of America on how to help CMOs and marketers navigate the evolving role of marketing communications agencies. As a panelist representing the agency viewpoint, I found that Jim asked questions beyond obvious ones and ensured the conversation stayed relevant to the audience. It was one of the better panels that I have been involved in, and I’d love to attend and participate in others facilitated by him. I definitely recommend Jim, particularly if the topic is related to his field of marketing, advertising, communications and sales.
— MONIQUE KELLEY GIGLIOTTI ("Gelati") | Director of R&D Communications | Board Member | Communications Lecturer | PR News' Top Women in PR Award Recipient