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Engaging Conference Attendees Through Live Meetings

This blog will identify some of the innovative as well as conventional ways you can better engage with conference attendees—including key opinion leaders (KOLs)—by delivering dynamic content during live events.

A medical congress by its nature attracts attendees who are typically self-directed and want to be involved in the learning process. Of course, these attendees are usually quite knowledgeable, so it’s important to engage them in a way that leverages their own experience. Presenting content with clear objectives appeals to goal-oriented meeting participants and can strengthen your position as a partner. Efficiency is key when communicating with your audience at a large-scale conference, so make sure your content is relevant to their work.

A new approach to engaging with conference attendees focuses on smaller groups, creating more-immersive experiences, and live meetings. The conventional lecture format of medical meetings can still be informative; however, attendees are looking for unique and memorable learning experiences and want to be personally engaged. A provider of oncology insights for the life sciences industry offers many programs that can help guide you in live event planning. We will discuss formats that engage with meeting attendees in a face-to-face manner, as well as appropriate content that is energizing and inspiring.

Discussion groups are organized around a specific topic and can provide an energized perspective to emerging medical practices and treatments. Different approaches to leading a discussion group can help focus the content and benefit the organizer. One approach, called “appreciative inquiry” (AI), describes a discussion group model that asks questions in order to focus on change, assessing, for example, a product or trial design that may be deficient. Two articles on AI from the NIH database discuss the ability of AI to transform healthcare practices and medical education.

“Buzz groups” are smaller groups that break off to generate ideas that can be taken back to a network or shared with colleagues, enabling further discussion or decision-making. The “jigsaw” approach to organizing discussion groups pairs participants with experts to learn a subset of material, which the participants then share with their own professional group or peer network.

A demonstration or simulated encounter offers a unique perspective and also provides an excellent opportunity to showcase your product. A creative approach may be using models to demonstrate your drug’s mechanism of delivery, or an animated simulation magnifying and articulating the science. Virtual reality is on the forefront of trendy and tech-savvy demonstration techniques; if the technology is accessible to you, this type of demonstration can be leveraged to attract forward-thinking individuals. This is a creative opportunity for your company to establish its brand and product as cutting-edge in treatment options.

Take your presentation from the stage to your booth. You can actively engage an individual or small group with a short animation, sleek infographics, or a dynamic PowerPoint video. This helps focus a private discussion and projects a message that is consistent with your branding story. It is also an opportunity to stand out with a modern and stylish presentation design. You can even email the reference file directly to your private audience. This allows you to pack all your points into an effective and targeted message. Furthermore, media-rich content is money well spent at a large medical conference, because it makes the experience more memorable.

Mini-lectures can make use of the same media content and allow time for a facilitated discussion. As opposed to a key lecture, a mini-lecture presents scaled-down information to meeting attendees in a more personal setting. This can be an effective means of introducing a product or new treatment option or for testing a specific branding position.

Whether they center around a breakfast, dinner, or a cocktail event, roundtable discussions are a terrific opportunity to engage a curated or random group of individuals in very interesting conversation. This is a great opportunity to test the waters regarding the introduction of a new innovative technique or treatment modality.

You can spark a discussion on social media prior to the conference, to ask a question or provide hints surrounding the content you will be presenting. This is one of the most modern approaches to engaging conference attendees and could initiate a relationship that can be carried on throughout the meeting and sustained after it has ended. This approach to conducting live interactions also has the potential to be tailored to the real-time feedback you receive during the course of the conference. Invitations via Twitter or Facebook, for example, are attractive to many meeting attendees. These so-called “tweetups” are like post-conference happy hours; attendees can carry on the conversation after hours or fulfill their networking goals.

In summary, live events are used to initiate more-intimate relationships with meeting attendees, provide a more casual environment for sharing ideas, and strengthen existing partnerships. Discussion groups can focus on actual change, inviting opinions and supporting dialogue directed toward product or trial designs. Simulations and product demos are thoroughly engaging and attract forward-thinking collaborators, and media-rich presentations can foster memorable interactions with meeting attendees. While most of the content discussed in a large-scale medical congress needs to be carefully prepared due to regulatory and compliance requirements, live meetings initiated via social media can offer a less formal and more personal context. Social media channels like Twitter are the best way to organize spontaneous or casual meet-ups, advertise your booth location, or promote the events in which your company is involved.