Conference
September 13, 2021

The Virtual Reality: Tips for Making the Most of Conference Attendance in 2021 and Beyond

Conference
July 26, 2021

The Virtual Reality: Tips for Making the Most of Conference Attendance in 2021 and Beyond

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What will conferences look like for MSLs throughout 2021, 2022, and beyond? And how should MSLs prepare to make the most of the changing reality?

Scientific conferences are an essential tool for any Medical Science Liaison. They offer a convenient and efficient way to engage with KOLs and provide an influx of new data for insight generation. But the nature of these events has changed drastically in the last year. As we look with hope to the post-pandemic future, what can we expect? What will conferences look like for MSLs throughout 2021, 2022, and beyond? And how should MSLs prepare to make the most of the changing reality?

Allow us to make a provocative prediction: The future of conferences is definitively virtual.

While hybrid and in-person events have begun to re-appear on our calendars (including the 9th Annual MSLS Conference!), the pandemic has shown us both the benefits and feasibility of virtual events. And in the long run, there’s just no going back. In fact, 64% of the Top 100 Oncology conferences in 2021 are still planning to be held completely online.

The benefits of virtual conferences are easy to see:

  • Higher attendance from a broader audience without travel or geographic limitations
  • The ability for attendees to participate in more sessions through virtual platforms
  • Expanded access to other attendees before, during, and after the event
  • Lower cost for organizers and attendees

In the end, these benefits all contribute to a potential shift in the way the academic, pharmaceutical, and scientific communities think about conferences. Why wait for one annual conference to disseminate meaningful data? Could a distributed model of more frequent online meetings actually enhance the experience and the resulting impact on patients and providers?

There’s only one way to find out. As experts in remote work and virtual gatherings, we present our tips for successful virtual conference attendance, before, during, and after the event:

1. Plan Ahead:

Virtual attendance means access to much more content—and potentially more KOLs. Review the abstracts as soon as they’re released and set a reasonable schedule for what you can accomplish and who you can connect with during the event. Consider a conference planning tool to help analyze the data and sessions you don’t want to miss.

2. Do Your Research:

An essential MSL skill, even the most dedicated MSL can’t keep up with everything their KOLs are up to in the chaos before a big event. Think outside of the box and look for KOL activity in other digital events (like podcasts and webinars) and in social media. As the start date of the event becomes more difficult to put your finger on, your engagement opportunities now start long before the opening plenary.

Continue reading at The MSL Journal here.

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