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Top Five Speaker Programming Trends for 2020

The death of speaker programs has been greatly exaggerated. Today, speaker programs still hold pride of place in a pharma company’s peer-to-peer marketing strategy. There’s nothing quite like hearing from a trusted expert and HCPs around the country still listen to the top experts in their field. Let’s look at the top five speaker programming trends for this year.

1. Virtual Programming—Everybody’s doing it

Pharma companies may still be hesitant about whether virtual programs increase ROI, but it's undeniable that they’re cheaper and more convenient and therefore everybody’s doing them. Especially now that we’re all locked down in our homes due to coronavirus, virtual programs are more relevant than ever. Also, virtual programs meet HCPs where they already are. Among HCPs, 92% use a desktop/laptop, 87% use a smartphone, and 71% use a tablet. Additionally, 71% of HCPs use online conferencing to access information and of those, 70% find them influential or very influential on clinical decision-making. See Pando for a great example of virtual speaker programming in action.

2. Case Studies—Is this real life?

Case studies go the extra mile and bring the message home—we’re more likely to empathize with the story of a real person and thus moved to action than we are in response to abstract data. In other words, using patient case studies at speaker programs will make HCPs more likely to get the message. Whether its on prescribing information, dosing guidelines, or patient identification, using the stories of real patients in case studies results in the behavior change you want to see. Case studies are a crucial tool for good medical storytelling.

3. Short Slide Decks—What did you say?

Attention spans are getting shorter. Microsoft came out with a study a few years back that found our attention spans had, in the span of 15 years, going from 12 seconds to 8 seconds, which means we have attention spans that are literally shorter than a goldfish (9 seconds, on average). Regardless of whether you believe this study, slide decks and presentations have indeed gotten shorter. TED Talks-style presentations have been popular for years and the consensus among both HCPs and agencies is that “shorter is better.” Shorter means a more-focused, more-effective presentation with a narrower scope.

4. On the Web—If it’s not online, does it even exist?

When executing a program series, it’s become crucial to ensure the program slide deck is online. Not only that, you need to tailor the deck for the web—shorten the content, add interactive elements, and make it more web-engaging. As we stated in point number 1, most physicians are already online, so it only makes sense to keep the content where they already are. Additionally, keeping slide decks online ensures you can make timely updates without having to send out a new deck each time—saving time and money and ensuring compliance.

5. Skills Training—Back to basics

Speaker trainings are becoming more robust. Not only are companies training speakers on the content to be presented, but they’re also getting back to the basics—public speaker training. In order to deliver the focused, cutting-edge presentations companies are putting together, they need good speakers. Simply put, HCPs expect speakers to deliver the same level of engagement that they’ve experienced on other platforms.

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