The MSLA Annual Conference 2023: ‘EXCELLENCE’ Part 2
Welcome back to Part 2 of our MSLA Annual Conference blog series! If you missed our previous post, the conference at the Birmingham Metropole hotel was a resounding success, bringing together MSLs, aspiring MSLs, managers, and other medical affairs professionals for a day of learning, networking, and professional growth. With MSLs comprising 58% of the audience, the conference thoughtfully addressed their unique challenges and career pathways. The main event featured captivating sessions, including Paul Simms' keynote emphasizing the increasing importance of MSLs in the pharmaceutical industry, as well as the main plenary workshop "Achieving MSL Excellence Compliantly," led by Rina Newton, an ABPI Code Expert, providing essential guidance for ethical and efficient operations within industry regulations.
In this blog post,we will delve deeper into two impactful afternoon workshops: "Influencing" led by Julia Carter from Zestfor and "Demonstration of Value" facilitated by Georgie Tilley with a panel of industry experts - Mo Lewes, Mark Rees-Saunders, and Victoria Ho.
Julia Carter's "Influencing" workshop emphasized the importance of effective influencing skills in an MSL's role while promoting an open mindset. Attendees explored challenges like dealing with higher seniority and clarifying influence objectives, while the session defined influence as a powerful force shaping mindsets and behaviours relevant to stakeholders includingmanagers, colleagues, and healthcare professionals. The workshop highlighted seven key traits of successful influencers:
1. Knowing objectives
7. Strong communication skills.
Attendees also learned six crucial steps for mastering influence, from defining objectives to concluding discussions, and created network maps to identify both key relationships and potential areas of influence. By assessing others' perspectives, attendees gained valuable insights into understanding individuals they needed to influence. Julia Carter's message, "Your mindset is your key to success. Start working on that - the skills can be trained, but if your mindset is not right, you will find it much harder to succeed" resonated deeply, encouraging a positive and growth-oriented approach to navigating challenges and excelling in medical affairs careers.
In the "Demonstration of Value" workshop, MSLs engaged with the panel in dynamic discussions about showcasing their value and impact beyond simple activity metrics. The increasing emphasis on metricizing activities and engaging in strategic medical projects was noted, recognizing the significance of stakeholders and opportunities that demonstrate value. The concept of value was categorized into four pillars:
Each representing different aspects of MSLs' contributions. The panel emphasized that MSLs should be disruptors in the industry, actively involved in medical planning and aligned activities. Insights, though essential, were acknowledged as only a part of the value MSLs bring, with strategic impacts and outcomes holding greater significance. KPI evaluation was discussed, encouraging MSLs to shape indicators beyond coverage and frequency, aligning with their objectives. Measuring patient outcomes was acknowledged as complex, yet the audience expressed optimism about advancements in this area.
Overall, MSLs were encouraged to take ownership of representing their value, emphasizing the strategic impact they have on the organization and patient outcomes. As the role of MSLs evolves, shaping relevant and meaningful KPIs becomes crucial in reflecting their true value within the ever-changing landscape of medical affairs.
In conclusion, the MSLA Annual Conference 2023 was a resounding success, inspiring attendees and equipping them with valuable insights for excelling as medical science liaisons. The impactful workshops on "Influencing" and "Demonstration of Value" provided essential guidance and strategies to navigate unique challenges and showcase true value to organizations. With a focus on fostering stronger relationships, cultivating a growth-oriented mindset, and embracing disruption, MSLs are well-positioned to drive positive change in the pharmaceutical industry and contribute to improved patient outcomes. As the landscape of medical affairs continues to evolve, these learnings will undoubtedly propel MSLs towards excellence in their careers, making the MSLA Annual Conference a pivotal event for professional growth and development. We eagerly await next year's conference for further advancements in the pursuit of excellence.