15 steps to maximize your congress attendance as an MSL
PRIOR to the congress: PLANNING IS KEY.
- Find out which of your KOLs will be attending the congress far in advance
- Plan meetings with your top KOLs and the global medical and IIS team who will be present as well to discuss study concepts and new clinical trials
- Closer to the conference, book appointments with your KOLs, especially after your companies data presentation (meet up at the booth is easiest). Make sure you have their phone number in your phone (and WhatsApp number if it is an overseas conference)
- Add all the interesting sessions to your (conference app) calendar, then prioritize the sessions and posters you definitely want to see. Be realistic about how many sessions you can attend! Try not to move from one room to another one, international conferences are too busy and rooms are a long walk.
DURING the congress: USE YOUR TIME WISELY
- Conferences are an amazing opportunity to create new connections (with colleagues and KOLS) and consolidate existing ones!
- Introduce yourself and network with as many global colleagues as possible at the medical booth
- Engage and gain key insights from all your KOLs during the congress. P.S. Posters are a great place to meet and chat with your KOLs ask them about “the biggest impact of today’s session”
- Attend all company presentations and company organized meetings/training sessions.
- Spending time at the conference exhibition booth is a must. Meet with peers and network if you want to learn more about the latest pharma trends, competitor products and your future employees (e.g. from other pharma companies)
- Leverage the congress app! Most congresses have an “app” that includes presenter information, session attendees, content, and a way connect with fellow attendees.
- Don’t forget about the networking sessions or Meet-ups. They commonly occur at the beginning and end of each day and offer an opportunity to connect with peers and thought leaders or they summarize the highlights of the day. Don’t miss these. These events can be as important as the sessions!
After the congress: SHARE WHAT YOU’VE LEARNED & FOLLOW-UP
It is your job to gather as much information as possible and distill it down so that these individuals who did not attend.
- Produce a detailed report for the Medical Department and a targeted (on-label) report for the Marketing and Sales teams of items that can affect the business
- Organize follow-up meetings with the KOLs you met at the congress to get their expert opinion
- Organize meetings with KOLs that were not able to attend the congress to share the latest (on-label) information with them and get their expert opinion
- Organize department, lunch, dinner meetings where (a) KOLs present the congress data to their peers and how this data will challenge the current standards of care in your country.
A conference is a whirlwind of activity, but with goals, a plan, a schedule, and a strategy, you can succeed at making the experience extremely valuable for both you and your company.
Love to hear your top tips!!