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Archive for May, 2011

Last week, I had the privilege of taking part in the annual SPBT (Society of Pharmaceutical and Biotech Trainers) Conference (Orlando this year – but next year, New Orleans!)

My review will consist of scattered thoughts on topics that stood out to me. So, here we go…

Facility: we were housed at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort. The place was humongous, with a great variety of restaurants and bars, and capacity to accommodate multiple events easily. It is more of a corporate destination than a family resort, but if you do like golf and poolside lounging – well, you’ve got that big time at the Creek. Plus, my reserved room wasn’t ready upon check-in so I got upgraded to an executive suite. No, I did NOT argue – especially since my bride of 30 years came down for a few days afterward and we got to remain in the suite (thanks, front desk folks)!

Did you know that Orlando’s Shingle Creek is the headwaters for the Everglades? Neither did I.

Organization: I will make a prediction right now: next year’s SPBT event – and all that leads up to it – will be very different from what we’ve seen in the past! We’ve had some transition during 2010/2011 and I think that new directions being set by Managing Director Kevin Kruse, President Mike Capaldi, and others will be very exciting. This year’s show seemed quite well-organized, and it was good to see Scott Sauve, Christine Gaudet, and Miki St. Clair (among others) actively making things run smoothly. There’s a lot of fresh thinking going on behind the scenes. Stay tuned!

Exhibit Hall: This year, the facility layout allowed the exhibit area to be right next to the main ballrooms, plus all the workshop rooms were in easy walking distance. We’ve had some difficulties with layout in past years but this event was optimal for creating booth traffic. Booths continue to be more modest in size compared to some of the go-go growth years. And, as expected, there were lots of iPads about, with various proto-apps being shown. I maintain that iPad development will be one of the few bright spots in training development over the next two years.

It was great to see my pals from Advantage Performance Group exhibiting for the first time at SPBT!

Keynotes: Dan Pink, author of the book Drive (among others), was fabulous. And while it was good to hear directly from Jim Lovell (of Apollo 13 fame – a wonderful milestone in our space program), his talk was little more than a re-telling of the tale you saw in the movie by Tom Hanks. Yes, it’s an inspirational story, but to be perfectly honest, there was nothing in the keynote that was particularly new, instructive, or actionable. It may seem heretical to say it, but I was kind of disappointed.

Workshops: As always, a mix of really good and maybe-not-so-great. Of course, I was only able to attend a handful among the dozens offered. Some of the workshop rooms were too small (upstairs), while some of the downstairs rooms had 35-foot ceilings that swallowed up the speakers and acoustics. For people in the sales training business (both client and vendor side), I’m still perplexed by how many don’t create immediate audience engagement through skillful storytelling; and there is still far too much Powerpoint-as-data-delivery-device going on. Sigh. (note: Brian Lange’s session on Rock Star Openings was a great example of audience engagement and actionable info – I actually made changes to my next-day workshop on Advancing your Career Through Social Media based on Brian’s content!)

Social Media: There is slow uptake of social networking among pharma professionals, and still plenty of hesitation as evidenced by the attendee input during my workshop. The Social Media Shack in the exhibit hall did have some visitors, however, and some folks got started on Twitter during the conference. The good news is that much of the new leadership “gets” social media and is helping to raise the profile of digital networking. I put up a link with some networking resources, including an updated e-book on getting started with social networking, as a follow-up. SPBT on Twitter, by the way, is @spbt_tweets.

Networking: The great value of SPBT for me is the networking, with colleagues new and old. It was absolutely non-stop this year, including two very enjoyable dinners out (thanks to my friends at Verilogue, and Yukon Group). After about 15 years of rubbing shoulders with him at SPBT gatherings, I got to have an in-depth talk with Jim Trunick (Allergan) during one of those evenings and was delighted to see how the passion to excel still burns bright in him.

Our industry is in transition, and SPBT is in transition as well. I’m looking forward to seeing where some new ideas and approaches take the organization in the coming years. Can’t wait for New Orleans in 2012 (though Orlando sunsets are hard to beat)!

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Two years ago that I released this e-book, specifically designed to help business professionals get started with social networking.

A lot has changed since then in social networks, though many of the core principles and practices remain. This 2011 edition features a number of updated links and resources, including an Appendix specifically for pharmaceutical professionals.

During this week’s SPBT conference in Orlando, I’ll be giving a workshop on the theme of Advancing your Career through Social Media.

If you know someone looking for help getting started with social networking – feel free to forward this free resource along!

Getting Started Social Networking 2011

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We’re on the threshold of the annual SPBT (Society of Pharmaceutical and Biotech Trainers) conference. We’re back in Orlando, and it looks like the event is loaded up with lots of good stuff once again this year.

For my part, I’ll be focusing on the importance of social networks – not only delivering a Wednesday afternoon workshop on the topic, but also helping out in the “Social Media Shack” for one-on-one coaching on advancing your career with social networks.

Each year, I look over the agenda and pull out the sessions that are of particular interest to me. Here’s what is catching my eye this year:

Tuesday

Loud, Small, and Disconnected: Adapting and Converting Content for Mobile – Jay Goldman. Mobile is a huge deal, and it will only become bigger. I especially think that tablets (like the iPad) will be game-changers. I’ll be drinking in everything I can learn about iPad apps this year.

Can We Really do Product Training through a Computer? – Braydon Johnson-McCormick and Jeff Taylor. I know both of these gentlemen, and I know what they’ve worked on. It’s very cool.

Customer Insights for Training Success – Manny Gaspar. Fascinating topic. We like data points.

Maximizing Sales Force Effectiveness With a (Simulation-based) Mastery Training Methodology – Kevin Glover. If it says “Simulation,” I’m in. Plus Kevin is a great guy.

Proof That Managed Markets Training Gets Sales Results-A Case Study With ROI! - Kathy West, Dennis Falci, Chris Ayers. Case Study? ROI? Want to see it.

Business Acumen in Life Science Sales: A Discussion Panel – Fred Marshall et. al. Very hot topic. And I’ve had a sneak preview. Powerful stuff.

Product Launch Excellence – Ready, Set, Train! – Philip McCrea et. al. Strong panel and a great topic. “it is critical that companies have the right framework in place while ensuring the organization is product-launch ready.”

Wednesday

Using Experiential Learning to Create Powerful Business Results – Annika McCrea, Alan Gentry, Jeff Tucker, Kelvin Yao. Same time as my workshop on sociai networking, which REALLY bums me out! May have to bring a clone. Plus, Mike Capaldi’s session on Social Learning is also at the same time. Scheduling FAIL! ;>}

Alternative Reality Challenge: An Interactive Blended Compliance Training Experience – Cinda Serianni, Caroline Bennett. OK, I’m a sucker for interactive stuff. You knew that.

Strategic Business Acumen: Training Your Sales Team on the Reimbursement Pathway – Pam Marinko. Business Acumen. Specialty Sales. Enough said.

Enhancing Clinical Understanding through Virtual Preceptorships – Ian Kelly, Ron Schanze. Hey, it’s tech.

Thursday

Lessons Learned in Global Learning – Brian White, Dawn Epstein, Eric Jacobs. Always have to stay on top of this topic.

Creating Lasting Engagement: A Role for Sales Training and Field Coaching – Ed McCarthy, Phil Horne. I like Ed’s angle on this subject.

Of course, there are loads of other workshop topics, and your interests will vary. I’m also glad to see that my friend John Talanca will be giving a talk during one of the general sessions.

During the conference, I will be a “free-ranging” resource for you – happy to talk over your training challenges, make introductions to targeted vendors, give pointers on social networking, etc.

Here’s how to reach me before/during/after the SPBT conference: download my digital business card with all contact info to your mobile, by simply texting swoodruff to 50500. During the conference, the easiest way to make contact is to just send a text.

Hope to see you in Orlando!

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Sign up for the Impactiviti Connection weekly e-newsletter (see sample), chock full of news and resources for pharmaceutical professionals

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