Harvard University lecturer in public leadership Barbara Kellerman shared insights on leadership with more than 300 delegates at the forum.
"There has been a democratisation of everything," said Kellerman, which took place on 26 November, the day before the official show start on 27 November.
Kellerman highlighted that companies must listen and engage with employees to ensure success, as technological change had made former hierarchies largely redundant.
"Technology encourages the de-throning of leaders and empowers and emboldens followers, whether employees, stakeholders or constituents," she added.
"The world is changing in ways that leaders can barely control and they must direct more attention and understanding to their followers."
Kellerman added that people feel they have the "right to have a voice" more than ever before.
She noted the use of technology and social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, in recent worldwide events, including the Arab Revolution.
The Forum at the Fira Montjuic, in Barcelona city centre, included the presentation from Kellerman, ranked by Forbes.com as one of the "Top 50 Business Thinkers", as well as a panel discussion and delegate Q&A.
Joint Meetings Industry Council president Philippe Fournier recognised International Association of Exhibitions and Events former president Steven Hacker with the council’s Power and Profile Award.
The EIBTM Lifetime Achievement Award was also announced at the event, recognising Martin Lewis.
The EIBTM Forum is among new elements of the annual exhibition in 2012, along with a business travel pavilion and hybrid conference, taking place on 28 November.