Making Yourself More Valuable to the Client

Have you ever been asked to bus the tables at an event you’re working, empty the trash cans, or load boxes into a client’s car?  I have.  Was it in the job description?  Of course not, at least not for the Onsite Meeting Planner that was needed for that particular med-pharma group, but I did it anyway and I’m betting you would too.  Why?  Because as planners there’s an unwritten rule that comes with the territory – “other jobs as needed”.  Let’s face it, we are the warrior worker bees that – assuming you have the right attitude and physical ability – will do whatever it takes to get the job done.  We planners are oh-so-satisfied when the job is completed and the client gives us a hearty handshake or meaningful hug and says, “You were awesome! I hope to be able to work with you on our next event!” That’s when we have a ‘Sally Field moment’ as our sub-conscious gushes, “They like me!  They REALLY LIKE ME!” And many times it’s those small bits of acknowledgment that keeps us going long after the show-time of the daily work world ends.  But how can we keep those accolades coming time and time again?  By proving your value to each and every client, no matter what they ask of you.  (Oh, and bonus points if you do it with a smile and some enthusiasm.) You hear a lot of people asking ‘what’s your secret sauce for that success?’ now and honestly, I don’t think there’s any secret to providing good service! As temporary onsite meeting planners, we have so...

What to Expect When Your Venue is a Restaurant

If you’re new to temporary or On Site Management (OSM) work, you might think that working a few hours at a dinner program in a fancy restaurant is an easy-peasy assignment.  And sometimes they can be, but other times, watch out!  When you work a number of these programs you’re bound to experience all kinds of interesting ‘happenings’, and sometimes the challenges will be a test for even the most experienced planners. So, what can you expect if you’re a new OSM and/or this is your first restaurant-venue assignment?  Here are a few tips that will help you towards a successful program in what might be new territory for you as a planner: 1)      Upon arrival, clarify the name of your group as it’s listed at the front check-in which may be by the pharmaceutical name or by the drug or other identifiers.  This is important because many times there are multiple medical programs going on in these popular restaurants and attendees get confused right along with the wait staff.  This is also important for you at registration to reconfirm what session you have.  I’ve actually had guests sign in, sit down, commence eating before they realized they were at the wrong lecture! 2)      Understand that restaurant function space is not as user-friendly as hotels, but you have to work with what you get.  When you walk into the room, check the site lines for AV as well as traffic flow for servers and move tables accordingly making sure to work with restaurant staff as you do so.  Because of limited space, there are normally undesirable seats so do...

Medical Meetings: Compliance and Transparency, and NPIs, Oh My!

By now, most of us on the planning side are aware of the sweeping changes that took place in the management of medical meetings since the passage of the Physician Payments Sunshine Act (PPSA), aka “The Sunshine Act.” Since 2009, small steps have been taken to put guidelines in place for enforcement, but as of August 2013, it got serious. That was the start date for the first reporting period of all gifts and payments greater than $10 made to physicians and hospitals by pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers. What does this mean to planners? Well, for starters, now we’ve all become compliance monitors, right? But do you even know what that means? Because there are so many terms thrown around at each medical meeting we manage, I thought it might be beneficial to provide a brief cheat sheet of frequently used terminology that we are now seeing on our paperwork. Think of this as your “Cliff’s Notes” version of compliance communications! So here goes: Physician Payments Sunshine Act (PPSA). The PPSA officially began in August 2013. In its simplest form, PPSA is meant to discourage improper influences by the pharmaceutical and medical manufacturing industry over research activities that could compromise the integrity of patient health care. Think of this as the pharmaceutical industry policing themselves in lieu of the government taking over this job. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). As the repository for all the medical reports that are now being generated, CMS is responsible for public postings. Compliance and Compliance Officers. In its simplest form, compliance means obeying the guidelines set forth by the PPSA. Compliance...

Confused Over New Pharma Guidelines?

Yes, it’s tax time again. And if you lose sleep just thinking about a potential audit of your own personal income because you might possibly have stretched the truth just a teensy bit about some business deductions you made last year … well, consider yourself lucky you’re not a meeting planner for one of the big pharmaceutical companies. It’s possible they’re all sleep deprived now that the Physician Payment Sunshine Act (PPSA) has taken effect. Thanks to PPSA, a key part of the federal Affordable Care Act of 2010, meeting planners and on site managers can now be held accountable for both the information we gather at our meetings and the accuracy of the final submission of those reports. What does this mean to me? As a member of the GCG network, it’s pretty much a given that you’ve worked some pharmaceutical meetings; and for those of us who’ve been at this a long time, “Oh, the changes we’ve seen!”  To the point, it’s no longer good enough that we capture barely readable contact information from our program attendees. You know, the doctors that don’t like taking the time to sign their name on your registration forms?  Well, the requirement for accuracy and compliance in whatever format is requested per client program is our new mantra, and rather than fight the new systems you’d best jump on the PPSA train as fast as possible to avoid being run over by it.  Simply put, now more than ever before as a GCG On-Site Manager (OSM), it’s your responsibility to pay attention to those pesky details that may seem ridiculous but...

WHO AM I? KNOW BEFORE YOU GO!

If you do any amount of temporary work at all, it’s bound to happen at some point, especially with the typical pharmaceutical sponsored dinner events. You show up at your hotel/restaurant/meeting venue only to discover there are multiple similar meetings going on at the exact same time as yours. So, the hostess/concierge will ask, “Which group is yours?” TEMP: “Um, the pharma one?” VENUE: “We have three pharma groups tonight.” TEMP: “Um, the GCG group?” And, 99% of the time that’s the wrong answer. As a temp, the groups we work are almost always booked under one of the following ways: the name of the sponsoring pharmaceutical company, the name of the company that has been hired to manage the program, the drug/product being promoted, or the presentation’s actual title. So, while it’s technically true you are on site working for GCG, rarely will you find the GCG name showing on any of the venue paperwork. For the most part, the venue’s contact will only be the party/company name that’s financially responsible, which is why it’s really important that before you arrive you clearly understand who the ultimate client is and know them by company name. The point of this discussion is to make sure that you know before you go who you are ultimately working for on each event. This is obtained through paying attention to the paperwork issued by your GCG rep as it is always clearly contained within those documents and if necessary, make a copy of the assignment sheet and take it with you for reference. The best way to put this is ‘know before...