Our valued support service of developing, hosting and facilitating Virtual Advisory Boards has gone on-line. 

Following on from the success of supporting hundreds of national and international ad boards; focus groups; forums and discussion panels in the “real world” we extended our on-line facilitation offering in 2020.

We were able to adapt to the challenge before us and continue to gather expert insights on the market and current clinical need. Furthermore, we were able to encourage ongoing dialogue with key stakeholders.

We have managed to develop a structure and offering that is fully health and industry code compliant. 

Our complete delegate management service ensures the insight you need. 

We are proud of what we have already achieved and as such we would like to share some of our learnings from this last year !!!! 

Other than the obvious need to offer this service during a global pandemic, when we physically couldn’t get in front of key clinical and non-clinical stakeholders, this is what we have learnt.

Making the Virtual Ad Board a success:

About the facilitator

A true facilitator is not a meeting chair !!! A facilitator has a wide range of tasks to perform in order to ‘make things easier’ for people who participate in an on-line facilitated discussion. Using an independent facilitator is always better than doing it yourself.

The facilitator is not the chair…

“Facilitation is the art of leading people through processes towards agreed-upon objectives in a manner that encourages participation, ownership and creativity by all those involved”.

A good facilitator will be able to effectively achieve (but not restricted to) the following: 

✓ Design and plan the meeting

✓ Run the process and facilitate the meeting

✓ Set the context and ground rules

✓ Encourage participation and facilitate discussions.

Prepare, prepare, prepare

The general rule of thumb is that preparing a group process / group facilitation usually takes twice as much time as the actual net meeting time when the facilitation takes place. 

Facilitated meetings are great opportunities to innovate, solve problems and make decisions with the collective intelligence of a group. 

On the other hand, meetings are also a frequent source of frustration and many people simply prefer to avoid meetings to protect their productive working hours, or in some cases their own private time.

The cornerstone of on-line facilitation is understanding what the objectives of the session are so you can work towards achieving them. 

Having a sound agenda will help the facilitator stay confident and make adjustments as needed during the event.

Focus energies

In the virtual world it is imperative that the facilitator is able to pick up on non-verbal cues and allocate short breaks accordingly. 

A good virtual facilitator will be able to “read the room” and keep an eye on the efficiency of the group work and adjust the process if necessary.

There are numerous on-line platforms and services available to support online meetings. It is important that you choose the right tool for the job. 

At RHS we have developed internal processes that support in guiding discussion and allows for active participation of all delegates.

Group mix

Group discussions have a natural limit. 

Above a certain group size, it gets difficult to have a discussion where everyone is involved. If your group is bigger than a certain size (this will vary by type of exercise or discussion), you will probably need to split your participants into multiple groups and run some exercises and discussions in parallel. 

Naturally, this takes an increased amount of time. Important to remember though that virtual advisory boards allows for international engagement !!!!

If you have bigger virtual groups, consider clarifying:

✓ If you want breakout sessions to run parallel tracks in your session 

✓ How different sub-groups will report back to the whole group

Develop ongoing enagagement opportunities

Virtual advisory boards lend themselves to ongoing engagement of the delegates, if structured and supported correctly. This allows for virtual follow ups and clarification of points raised / discussed. 

Further review of materials and documents can be done in the delegates own time and thus increases productivity of the overall group.

Whether you are wanting to engage with your key customers in an informal or more formal “setting” we can support you. Do get in touch

We certainly believe that we have developed an efficient solution to complement or replace a live meeting.

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