COVID has brought long-lasting changes to society. As well as to the pharmaceutical industry. Virtual interactions had to take over face-to-face engagements. This brings up challenges but also new opportunities to the field.
Only in 2020, virtual meetings make up 65% of interactions between sales reps and HCP (Accenture). Despite the clear benefits, these still posed difficulties. Especially in establishing a connection with the consumer. Lacking, oftentimes, a human component.
Deprived of physical interaction, you need to be prepared to engage a tough audience. So, today we are guiding you through ways to bring humanity to your virtual interactions.
The Challenges of Virtual Interactions: A Guide To Humanity
Virtual interactions display two main challenges. They are the lack of physical interaction and difficulty in achieving engagement. These impact the effectiveness of the conveyed message near the target audience.
Physical interactions have been key in the business corporate field. Companies believe in the power of in-person meetings with stakeholders. These have been working as bridges to build connections and exercise influence.
“In-person meetings have their own advantages such as people being able to express themselves by using body language and facial expressions that can better convey a message and create a deeper bond with a customer.” – Dr Valentina Gburcik, Senior Director of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases, Gender Health and Digital at GlobalData
Perse, people connect with people. And it is here that you must build trust. Fostering in consumers a wish to connect with a brand. By scrapping off this integral part of communication, virtual interactions make it difficult to engage with the stakeholders. Thus, failing in creating a connection on a personal level.
Engagement, on the other hand, is another challenge in the virtual world. Even though these maximize reach and cost-effectiveness, they neglect consumers’ active participation. That is why some physicians still value face-to-face interactions. Even as we move toward the post-COVID era.
So, it is vital that you face these challenges and find ways in which you can overcome them. As virtual interactions are here to stay. And so is the digital shift.
What can you do?
1 – Keep your Camera On
Eye contact is important. And so is seeing a face. People tend to trust what they can see. That is a principle that you should rule by in your virtual interactions. And the benefits are sure to bring more humanity to your communication strategy.
First, it captures non-verbal cues. These range from nods smiles and shakes in disagreement. At the core, these cues are fundamental for the host to read the audience. Allowing it to assess the response to take on an immediate level. Thus, creating space for a quick readjustment in communication. One that can better engage the stakeholder.
“I hear, and I forget… I see, and I remember.”- James Bigelow and Amy Poremba in “Achilles’ Ear? Inferior Human Short-Term and Recognition Memory in the Auditory Modality”
At the same time, it reflects confidence. Although it is virtual, you have the obligation to tend to your verbal and body language. People are seeing you, connecting with you. And you want to make sure you do it the right way. So, by making eye contact and smiling, you allow people into your confidence, but also passion.
Overall, the simple show of your face can lead to a notable increase in engagement. Especially if all attendees follow the example. This creates an obligation to pay attention. But also a greater interest in taking active participation in the interaction.
In this way, you become more “human” in the eyes of the attendees. As you create eye contact, you break the wall and connect more easily.
2 – Create a safe space to share ideas
Turning your camera on is a way to start. However, not all participants will adhere to this. And so, you need to have other tools that will help you maintain the audience engaged.
So, how can you make your attendees active participants? Virtual interactions are often marked by conferences and presentations. Which counts with a high number of participants. Within this environment, it is harder to give attendees space to confidently interact.
So, one thing you might want to consider is shortening your virtual meeting groups. When you do this you pave the way for:
- Exchange of experiences and perspectives;
- Greater participation from attendees.
If small groups are not an option, you can venture into dividing your attendees. Voices can get lost in large groups. And breakout rooms help you mitigate that. By using them, you pave the way for networking possibilities. But most importantly, to a substantial increase in engagement.
The possibilities of these will depend on the platforms that you choose to use. For example, Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams already include this function. You as the “host” have then the control over the groups and the time you want them to be in the breakout rooms.
By using breakout rooms, you make attendees more accountable for sharing their ideas. While you give them the opportunity to discuss themes. Most of these that one can miss in the wider presentation. Attendees can, then, bring these forward.
3 – Be innovative and dynamic
Visual contact is insufficient when you want to maximize the potential of your interactions. And so, you must be innovative and dynamic in your approach.
Present-day society is one of a small attention span (only 8 seconds). And so, video has become one of the preferred tools used both by marketers and users. As these value their quickness and information-packed value. For that, retain 95% of content that is conveyed via video (Arkadin).
There are, then, different ways in which you can make your stakeholders more active in your virtual interactions. And that can be done through:
- Video explainers – Including them in your presentations will increase engagement and attention. It will further aid you in sharing insightful complex data on your product, easily.
Learn more about video marketing in pharma, here.
- Interactive graphs – Adding them to your virtual interactions will increase attendees’ understanding of your work and products. Leading to the generation of new leads and prospective customers.
- AR and VR – Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are growing trends in the field. Which has heightened the potential of virtual interactions. By imprinting virtual information in reality, one can experience the message you want to convey, uniquely.
- Q&A sessions – With big amounts of information come doubts and poignant questions. The answer to these can positively influence your stakeholders’ positioning towards your brand. So, Q&A sessions are quite effective in small groups. People, in these, feel more comfortable interacting and sharing their ideas.
Take your first step today! PubExplainer will make your virtual interactions stand out from the competition. All through 90-second animations that will turn your complex information into a memorable experience. Book your free demo today!