52% of responses to the survey indicate use of ZOOM with 48% responding that they use Webex. Both are excellent web meeting platforms! We are primarily using ZOOM for web meetings with KOLs / HCP at Biohaven and the field sales team is also using ZOOM virtual meetings. As we made this quick adjustment from in person to virtual meetings, one aspect that was really useful is that our commercial training team developed a ZOOM training slide deck which described in detail all the capabilities of using ZOOM, including the video aspect. Another issue that has arisen is the need to password protect our ZOOM meetings to help assure we are aware of who is on the line with us and prevent inadvertently sharing proprietary information to someone we did not intend to have on the meeting call. With the sales team using ZOOM for all HCP interactions at present, the need to protect ZOOM calls became quite important. Although we did not use passwords for ZOOM meetings in the past, they are now mandatory for both internal and external ZOOM meetings. If you are using a web meeting without password protection, this need may be useful to discuss with leadership and IT.
There are more features than we often use in our regular ZOOM web meetings given that we primarily used ZOOM for internal meetings prior to the pandemic. For instance, we don’t routinely use chat in our internal meetings when on ZOOM unless someone can’t hear. Now that we use ZOOM for virtual KOL presentations, I can ask attendees to use the chat to enter questions and allow me to scan them as I am presenting so I can more adeptly intertwine them into what I am sharing in a natural way. While there are many clinicians who don’t readily want to convert an in person meeting to ZOOM or other web platforms, I usually let them know I can share a unique slide that helps answer a question or provides new data; once they are able to see a particular slide, I am able to navigate to other slides as more questions and topics come up so we keep the engagement dynamic! Another key point for virtual meetings is that you should aim to increase the energy and inflection in your voice a bit more than when you are in person. Remember, you are reaching through the screen to capture attention. Without non-verbal language feedback to rely on when we are in person, the verbal engagement has to carry more energy in the interaction to make it extra engaging and interesting!
Another tip is to be prepared to show your smiling face on web cam and consider elevating your laptop up by about 6 inches using a thick textbook or box to assure others see you at face level and are not looking up your nose! Get on ZOOM ahead of meetings to test that everything is working well, including how you look through the web cam! It takes some extra effort to make the virtual meetings work well, but quite honestly, we save a lot of time not traveling at present! I have been more productive by leveraging technology and convincing my KOLs to convert to virtual meetings more often than not. In person meetings are most vital to build initial relationships and establish the communication, trust and respect between MSL and KOL. Beginning a relationship virtually, in my view, will not ever be quite the same. However, when an existing relationship is established and solidified, the use of virtual meetings may allow for more frequent touch points and keep the relationship growing! My prediction is that once KOLs get accustomed to virtual meetings I may have more requests for them once we are back to regular travel!