Within the healthcare industry, meetings are a vital way of sharing the latest medical findings. In fact, a striking 87% of healthcare professionals use meetings to acquire new medical information.1

Sadly, the majority of participants feel these meetings leave something to be desired. A recent survey found that 39% of physicians report having negative experiences at their meetings.2 This may be due in part to the fact that 75% of participants stated they would like more say in meeting content and one-third of participants said they were never even asked for input.3

While implementing participant feedback is certainly part of the solution, there are other less visible ways you can make your meetings rise above the status quo. Here are 7 tips for making your healthcare meetings more effective and enjoyable.4,5

  1. Ask for Input Early On

Often, input is merely an afterthought. Go beyond tacking a question onto the end of a feedback survey. Show participants that their input is a priority by asking early on what they are interested in learning. Follow-up with them to make sure you understand their objectives and tailor your meeting topics accordingly.

PRO TIP – The typical meeting structure is changing, especially when it comes to absorbing new information. Move away from the agenda based meeting. Instead, structure your meeting around a goal or objective. This will keep your meeting focused and productive while yielding better engagement and positive feedback.

  1. Offer Premium Content

No one wants to leave a meeting feeling it was a waste of time. Eliminate redundant or outdated news and fill presentations with high-quality scientific content, new developments within a disease specialty, or the latest products in a practice area.

PRO TIP – Before putting together a meeting ask the question: Can this material be found elsewhere?  If the answer is yes, it’s likely not fresh or interesting enough.  In order to hold the attention of busy and well-educated participants your meeting content must fit one (if not all) of this criteria:  new, unique, innovative, hand-on experience, research/data, networking opportunities, and education (not sales pitch).

  1. Encourage Participation

Remember, meetings can be highly interactive while still being professional. Just because the subject matter is highly academic doesn’t mean you need to stick with a lecture format. By providing hands-on experiences, networking opportunities, and small group discussions you will actually increase the educational value.

PRO-TIP – Use gamification and real-time surveys as well as other apps to assist with participant engagement.  Not only with you find participants more willing to interact, but you’ll also gain some value feedback which can help make adjustments to fine-tune your meeting to cater toward those in attendance.

  1. Shorten Session Lengths

When a lecture format is utilized, keep in mind that complex subjects easily become overwhelming. Keep sessions short to optimize retention. Follow up a short lecture with small group discussion or a hands-on session to allow the new information to really sink in.

PRO TIP – To liven up lectures, strive to present in a way that will engage all learning styles. Maximize the learning experience by implementing visual, tactile, and auditory methods all within the same presentation.

  1. Change Things Up

Something as simple as changing up the traditional seating arrangement can make the brain more receptive to new information. If your meetings typically have an awkward, formal feel something like comfortable chairs might be just what is missing. Additionally, try scheduling short times where participants are asked to get up and meet new people. You could even provide a conversation prompt related to the lecture topic to discuss with a new person.

PRO TIP  – Provide opportunities for attendees to venture outside their natural comfort zone and existing network. This can be instrumental in both forming new connections and learning about the new technologies and techniques being utilized within other medical communities.

  1. Don’t Skimp on Snacks

Snacks are likely your lowest priority, but they shouldn’t be. Food communicates value and care. Traditional snacks like trail mix or fresh fruit might be cheap and easy, but they are also predictable.  Look for ways to introduce food and drink options that enhance the overall experience of participants rather than just filling a need.

PRO TIP – Even refreshments can be a learning opportunity. Look for local vendors who specialize in creative and healthy snacks. Not only will your participants be grateful for something new, but it can also be a chance to educate on the latest trends in nutrition.

  1. Gauge Effectiveness

At the meeting’s close, assess how much has been learned by using playful, yet professional methods. Likewise, offer a brief recap by summarizing main points and key phrases coupled with mnemonic devices or pictures. A few months after your meeting send out a follow-up survey to gauge how much has been retained.

PRO TIP – Don’t forget that feedback is the best tool for improving future meetings. Ask participants what was done well. What could be improved next time? Remember, to value your participants time by keeping surveys short and sweet.

When presenting material that is as technical and advanced as the latest in the medical world, there is always the potential for it to be dry and boring. However, the solution is not to water down content. Instead, make it more relevant by asking for input to shape your presentation. Boost engagement with short sessions, creative lectures, and non-traditional meeting spaces. During break times, the space should be filled with lively, yet productive debates and friendly chatter over good food.

Need help livening up your next corporate meeting or event? If so, contact Gavel International to see how working with a meeting planning company can benefit your organization.