Within your HCP communications plan, running effective and engaging face-to-face sessions with and for Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) is an essential activity. We understand that KOLs’ time is very limited, so we need to make each and every touchpoint count.
At emotive, we work hard to ensure maximum engagement across all meetings activities, from advisory boards and symposia, to expert forums and standalone events. Here are six key steps to creating engagement from the outset, boosting efficiency for all parties and giving your KOLs a positive experience.
- With KOLs taking time out of busy schedules to attend your meetings, it is important to ensure that you provide as much information as possible in advance. This includes logistical information, such as time, location and date, and details of the agenda so they know what to expect from a learning perspective.
- For KOLs supporting you in facilitating the meeting, make sure you provide them with all the service hours required in the lead-up to the meeting so that they have the capacity to meet the required approval deadlines and participate in any rehearsals and briefing calls. Ensure that the service hours are captured contractually, both for cover and to be transparent about the work required.
- Align internally to make everyone aware of the vision, timeline and dates to demonstrate seamless meeting excellence to attendees.
- Remember to keep each KOL’s local market team in the loop from the first briefing so they can provide support with any local approvals and highlight any market-specific compliance deadlines
- It is important to get full participation and engagement from the outset. How about using an icebreaker to kick off the day with positive energy? This gets people talking and creates a comfortable open forum for discussion throughout the day.
- There are plenty of icebreakers to choose from depending on the KOLs attending. If your meeting is part of a series, then start with a light icebreaker that doesn’t involve sharing personal information. Across a series of meetings, when the group are more familiar with each other and you have an understanding of group and boundaries, you can explore other ideas.
- Energy comes not only from attendees, but also from the space that you’ve chosen for your meeting; secure a venue that has sufficient room to move around and natural light to maintain energy throughout the day
- Creativity is key, not only when it comes to the look and feel of a presentation, but also in keeping your KOLs engaged. Your agenda should include varied methods of presenting information and encourage them to share back what they have remembered. For example, consider formats such as a workshop, group breakouts or infographic creations vs. didactic presentations.
- Referring to your meeting as a ‘Masterclass’, ‘Expert Forum’ or ‘Workshop’ can make a meeting more appealing on an invitation.
- Develop a visual identity for the meeting that runs across all information provided in advance, the room dressing, slides and any printed materials. This will deliver a flawless connected experience which will enhance the memorability of the event.
- It is important in all situations to ensure everyone’s voice is heard, therefore, include mechanisms for the attendees to provide their thoughts throughout the day. There are various ways to achieve this, depending on your budget; for example, response paddles (yes/no or red/green), throw box microphones and keypad voting can encourage participation.
- Providing mechanisms for real-time feedback and adding questions based on the information shared allows you and the KOL facilitators to assess whether learning objectives have been met before moving ahead within the agenda.
- It is worth capturing discussion points made outside of the main presentation to provide valuable insights or education gaps that could inform future activities. This can be achieved using a ‘car park’ space – where points raised are literally ‘parked’ for future use.
- It is a rare opportunity that experts in a field are brought together to discuss an important topic they are all interested in; therefore, allow time for the KOLs to speak to each other and build relationships.
- Provide identifiable (compliant) lanyards so that KOLs are able to recognise each other, particularly if the meeting is being held in a large space amongst other activities.
- Host a welcome session the evening before the meeting for individuals flying in; this provides an opportunity to meet beforehand.
- Share a list of attendees before the meeting to all KOLs to make sure they know who is attending and who they may want to speak to directly.
- To wrap up activities, why not set up a pledge wall to ask how the KOLs plan to use the information gained in the meeting in their real-world practice?
- Share your plans for the next steps and whether a follow-up meeting is planned/what to expect. This will make individuals aware of any future events and also encourage them to keep track of their pledges.
- Make certain that your KOLs know who to contact (and how) should they require further information on follow-up activities. This provides a great opportunity to build relationships and create a pool of delegates to touch base with throughout the years ahead.
Based on our experience, following these steps every time helps achieve a meeting that is not only memorable, but also meaningful for your KOLs, and will encourage future participation from KOLs and their peers.
emotive is an independent, London-based, award-winning healthcare communications agency committed to changing lives by helping global life science companies bring novel and innovative products to patients. We recognise that only true engagement can facilitate change and we use our combination of scientific, creative and technical expertise to stimulate optimal participation of all those in the care pathway. We are proud to work with amazing clients on some of the most exciting and meaningful products that will transform healthcare.