Need to Document Your Success? The Proof is in the Meeting Metrics When Leveraged Correctly

March 7, 2024 Array Team

Budgets are tight, but life science meetings remain critical tools to educate, inform and inspire action. More than ever, stakeholders want to know their objectives were met and if they received either a return on investment (ROI) or a return on education (ROE), depending on their focus. Leveraging meeting metrics the right way will demonstrate the return, and also tell a story of how to achieve progress and identify successes.

Set the goals

To be able to measure ROI, you first need to define what return the stakeholder wants. Most often, this includes being able to prove a significantly high number of participants are walking away understanding and able to use the most important information shared during the meeting. Data from pre and post-surveys can help demonstrate a change of thought or understanding. If the stakeholder’s goal is to gain interest in use of a treatment or drug, that also can be ascertained with an exit polling query,“How likely are you…?” Identify your goals early on and then determine what data will help prove whether they were met so you can implement tools to collect that data throughout the meeting.

Collect more, learn more

Think creatively beyond what the stakeholder knows it wants to hear, though. What additional value can the meeting bring, and what data would you need to demonstrate that? Data by itself is simple information, but adding context either affirms a strategic plan, makes you think about and change it or— if it sheds light on a totally different idea you haven’t had before—gives you the opportunity to take a deeper dive into something that could prove beneficial.

For example, a report of questions asked, verbatim transcripts and an executive summary will provide a consensus for whether the attendees were following along and thought you were going in the right direction. It most likely will not tell you what didn’t resonate, which can be more important and more impactful to the stakeholder’s overall business goals.

By gathering data as to what slides were saved, what notes were made on them, and questions asked, along with survey and polling data as to individual insights and opinions, you can look not just for what landed, but what missed the mark. If what didn’t resonate is what the essence of a study is going to be, for example, that clearly sheds light on a problem. If most attendees were asking questions or taking notes that indicated they weren’t clear on something or didn’t agree, you need to dig deeper to find out what happened. What prevented this information from being understood or accepted? Looking at assessments of the speaker, overall engagement (were they paying attention and engaging and still didn’t understand?) and specific questions or comments can tell you if there was a problem with the way the meeting ran or the information was presented, or if there’s a larger issue with the subject matter that may impact your overall success.

Look for the gaps

Array collects data from every participant individually, including demographics such as the region they are from, their title and role, education levels and whatever additional data is needed to provide context for the desired insights. Often the results of data collection and analysis look like a story about the positives and negatives learned from their engagement. It shares the good news of who learned or accepted the content as well as a clear indication of who still needs additional training or follow up, both important ROI metrics.

While the picture painted by these positive or confused types of engagements is pretty clear, we also provide actionable insights around the gaps. If, for example, it was expected that everyone was going to be excited about the meeting or the clinical trial’s topic, yet our analysis shows people didn’t take notes, save slides, ask questions or seem to engage around its key points, that signals there is a barrier or challenge that needs to be understood. Where are the gaps between how the stakeholders expected the participants to think and act and how they ultimately received the content?

Data from notes and questions also helps identify gaps about a topic or aspect of a topic that wasn’t covered but is of interest. Why is this an interest? Is it something they’re facing in clinical practice, is it a performance issue, a skill issue? Determining why they want to know will help stakeholders decide if they need to engage further.

Question the questions

Similarly, it’s not enough to track the number of questions that were asked (and a high number of questions is often mistakenly considered an ROI indicator for engagement). Questions your participants asked need to be analyzed from a contextual and cognitive perspective. You will learn more about what challenges you may still face as well as where there’s a discrepancy or cognitive dissonance.

Did the participants’ questions seem to be striving for greater understanding of the basic concepts? Maybe people weren’t clear as the content was being presented. Compare this with post-surveys to see if knowledge was ultimately gained. If the questions seemed to insightfully be digging deeper into the topic, you likely struck a chord and have piqued interest and buy-in.

Reflection as an important element of ROI

Everybody expects to attend a conference, program or investigator meeting to gain knowledge. The secondary piece that is among the greatest returns on investment is impacting what they are going to do with that knowledge. For example, at a primary investigator meeting, they need to understand which patients need to go on trial and how to  select those patients and get them registered. From an education perspective, they have that new or affirmed knowledge. The greater impact on the stakeholder’s business, however, is around what they do with that knowledge. Will they share it with their teams when they return to work? Will they be eager and inclined to follow through with identification and registration of the patients? Essentially, is it going to be applied in practice in a way that maximizes the stakeholder’s benefit from the meeting?

This is where including a reflection element comes in. Include opportunities for attendees to consider ways to use the information in their practice and then collect data that affirms they will. Ask if they are inclined to do what you need or want them to do after the meeting. Analyze the responses along with the data as to whether they took positive notes, circled or saved slides around the important content, asked deeper questions and seemed engaged throughout. This can show they found it to be important to them moving forward.

Data highlights the real return on investment

As much as data can demonstrate the basic objectives were met, robust data that is analyzed contextually will prove the greatest return on investment. Array works with our partners to put data in context, make connections and parse out the complete story it tells. With a more comprehensive data set, stakeholders can learn about individual inclinations beyond the consensus of the room, what opportunities exist for further engagement and influence, and what targets were not met and why. With these deeper insights, meetings will be able to inform and impact ongoing business strategies and actions.

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