Speaking into the Ether: Challenges of the Virtual Pharma Workplace

In today’s global pharma workplace, virtual interactions are sometimes more common than live exchanges. We frequently use technology like WebEx or telephone to communicate with others. This presents problems and challenges not seen with face-to-face interactions, where there is visible feedback between the senders and receivers.

Since you can’t see (and sometimes can’t hear) your audience, you can’t read their facial expressions or body language during your presentation, and you can’t see them taking out their phones to play Candy Crush! How do you make your presentation engaging to combat multitasking? How do you gauge if the audience understands what you’re saying? How do you know they are not bored? How do you know they found your joke funny?

What kind of technology tools can facilitate connection with your audience? What do you do when the technology fails?

What are some cultural issues that make presentations to a global group challenging? How should you change your style, language, or content to meet the needs of diverse audiences? In particular, how can modelers more effectively communicate results to non-modelers?

How do you efficiently deal with Q&A and feedback? Is it better to stop periodically to ask for questions or take them all at the end? What if there are NO questions- what does that mean?

In this webinar (a virtual presentation!), Drs. Peter Bonate and Stacey Tannenbaum discussed these topics and other difficulties of speaking into the ether, and offered practical solutions that you can use to strengthen your collaboration in the virtual workplace.