Last time, we talked about getting conversations started before an advisory board meeting officially begins so your members could hit the ground running. Another pre-kick-off tactic to consider is a touchpoint — and maybe even two.
How many advisory boards have you left saying to yourself “I really wish we had more content to fill our day today”, or “So much time and so little to talk about”? Not many we would suspect! All too often we have 12 hours worth of content that we try to fit into 6 or 8 hours. We can help you analyze your agenda and pull out those key elements that can be accomplished, or at least started, before the meeting. Perhaps it’s reviewing data, or product messaging, or getting some preliminary insights on where the group stands on a particular issue – whatever it is, tackling some of this ahead of time will save hours of valuable face to face time and allow you to hone in on the key discussion points as soon as the meeting begins.
Secondly, you will know the group is prepared and can feel comfortable jumping right in when the board kicks off. We’ve been in so many situations where we believed our members knew what was going on when we began, only to look up at a room of confused faces two hours in. It can be frustrating, and it’s avoidable if you toss a few simple touchpoints out there for your members to complete before the initial meeting.
While you want your members to get involved, you don’t want to scare them away or bog them down with too much work. So we recommend giving them a few well-constructed softballs.
Perhaps it’s a touchpoint to benchmark what they already know about the subject? Or maybe something to gauge their feelings on a particular issue? If you’re thinking you want them to put in a little bit of elbow grease, give them a short article to review and ask them to comment on it. The key is short because the goal shouldn’t be to get them to learn too much at this point — it’s to get the ball rolling before they walk into the room, making the entire day more efficient. Also, don’t shy away from repetition. Repeating information ahead of time that will be discussed during the live meeting will only help to facilitate learning and creative thinking so live discussions are more focused and productive.
Let’s say the objective of your board is to decide how to handle an impending patent loss. We wouldn’t delve too deeply into their opinions on this matter right away — especially if you have a Campaign of Interactions® set up, which might give you 6-12 months to flesh it all out.
Instead, a touchpoint could be a simple survey to find out how they’ve prescribed the drug in the past and what they think of it. It will get them thinking about your product and your problem, and it will set them up for the heavy lifting down the line a little bit. But what it won’t do is make their brains hurt — like we said, you have a whole year to do that.
By clear, we mean from an expectation standpoint: completing this shouldn’t be an option — it should be mandatory. Make sure to include a firm deadline, and if you’re set up with a Campaign of Interactions®, build reminders in so your members get used to hearing from you.