The answer to this question depends on what type of in person meeting I had planned. For instance, when I am seeing a KOL during the middle of a busy clinic day I am likely to get less time together – maybe 15-20 minutes! If I had a dinner meeting planned, in all likelihood I would have met for at least 2-3 hours! The survey results indicate that 46% are having meetings 16-30 minutes long and 27% are having 5-15 minute meetings. Less responses were given for longer duration meetings with 11% having 31-45 minute meetings and 3% having meetings longer than 45 minutes.
Most virtual meetings are set up for 30 or 60 minutes. This is a typical time allotment that we use for regular meetings. So in some ways I am getting more time on a virtual meeting than when I am running between busy clinics by day, however in other instances I am getting less time because it’s challenging to keep someone’s attention for more than an hour, particularly when you are not there in person. Using slides and videos helps extend the time with a KOL because it’s naturally more engaging. If you plan it well, you could even work to set up a follow up virtual meeting in 1-2 weeks to go into more data and bring back any follow up information requested that you don’t have on hand. Overall, I would say that we lose some time on average with our virtual interactions, but we get back time when we are not traveling so it’s possible to actually have more virtual meetings across a broad expanse of one’s region on any given day and in the end you could find you are even more productive than when you are on the road!
If your virtual KOL meetings are running short, take more time to do pre-meeting planning for the KOL meeting. I have a KOL pre-meeting worksheet that helps MSLs delve deeper into planning! Consider the agenda for the meeting. What are you trying to accomplish? Lay out appropriate aspects of your agenda in your email invitation. Look for opportunities to have deeper medical discussions with KOLs who like scientific exchange! Do lit searches in advance to see if your KOL has published on a topic or have they spoken at a past conference on a particular area that relates to your product or research areas? Are there speakers who need some extra polish? Be opportunistic to use your extra time when not traveling to be of service! As you finish a meeting, ask the KOL if you can check back in a particular time frame to provide follow up information or continue discussion and add the follow up note to your calendar! Despite working virtually at present, KOL engagement and building advocacy can be done in many ways! It’s time to get your creative juices flowing and tap into your fellow MSLs for other great ideas as you work to extend your KOL meeting duration!