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Supporting Virtual Excellence in Unprecedented Times

By August 1, 2020January 11th, 2021Focus On Training


Supporting Virtual Excellence in Unprecedented Times

FEATURE STORY – By Pam Marinko, KC Warner and Elisabeth Sanders-Park

Even when we return to the training room, the appetite and opportunity to deliver excellent virtual training will remain.

The world has changed quickly. Life sciences companies are now seen as the hope and the promise of future treatments and vaccines. The training and learning function within these companies has become indispensable, and we now have a “seat at the table.”

Our job has never been more important: We train our teams to deliver critical clinical information to HCPs so they can make informed treatment decisions for their patients.

The challenge is, how we connect with those who need us and how we deliver solutions has shifted. We must now train, lead, coach and sell virtually. This is new, and many of us are not ready for it.

Polling during an April 22 LTEN webinar showed that 54% of life sciences training teams are busier than ever, but less than 25% of field professionals are confident in a virtual setting.

For the sake of our customers and the difference we can make in the world, it is
critical that we quickly start delivering excellent virtual training and show others
how to transfer these techniques to create virtual engagement. This skill can be
learned, and it can be used anywhere around the world.

Maximize AI-Enabled Learning

In a virtual world, artificial intelligence can equip managers, coaches and trainers to help learners rapidly develop skills. AI-enabled learning also creates ongoing opportunities for targeted learning and offers data-driven feedback remotely.

As reported by the World Economic Forum, virtual learning has rapidly become common around the globe. Even when we are permitted to return to the training room, the appetite and opportunity to deliver excellent virtual training will remain. These unprecedented times are our chance to pivot for virtual excellence now and in the future.

Virtual training is most effective when you use brain-based strategies to capitalize on how humans learn and remember.

How to Pivot – 6 Principles

Regardless of your platform choice, just adding technology does not make for excellent virtual training. There is a missing piece. We must understand the techniques by which we bring our training to life in a virtual environment. And we are running out of time.

Life sciences training programs are carefully developed to teach individuals and teams how to be excellent as they discuss, teach or promote their company’s products and services. The content is time-tested and effective.

We recommend these six principles for virtual delivery:

  • Good Content: All the technological bells and whistles will not improve a poorly designed training program. Effective virtual training starts with clear and compelling content — a message worth sharing. Consider your goal, audience and current circumstances, then make sure your content is compelling. You must provide something of value to your learners.
  • Supportive Environment: The best virtual engagements occur when presenters are calm and focused. Your surroundings should support your content and objectives, display your professionalism and put you at ease.
  • Arrange your space – light, sound, privacy, technology, materials – so you have everything you need, and remove anything that might be a distraction.
  • Strategic Interactions: Similar to live engagements, virtual trainings are most effective when you use brain-based strategies to capitalize on how the human brain learns and remembers. For example, use images instead of words, get them talking, allow pauses for thinking time, integrate physical movement, encourage writing or drawing. Organize your content in short segments of 3 to 10 minutes and change it up often to keep things interesting.
  • Personal Presence: Technology opens a line for remote connection, and personal presence transforms that into a powerful virtual engagement. Presence is what you bring to the experience when you are not actively communicating. Prepare so your posture, appearance, resting eye contact, expressions and energy communicate that you are engaged, open, interested and present, which invites your learners to do so.
  • Active Behavior: Effective virtual training occurs when your behavior welcomes people, creates a learning community and lets them focus on the learning.  Behavior includes all your active communication, intentional or not, including eye contact, gestures, expressions, voice tone and more. Curate your verbal and non-verbal communication to welcome your learners and support your goal.
  • Technology: Technology on its own does not result in great virtual experiences. Choose your technology wisely, learn it well, plan ahead and use it expertly.

Remember, this is our moment to serve. If we can pivot to do what we do best in the virtual world, we can make a profound difference in the world.


Pam Marinko ( is founder and CEO of Proficient Learning. KC Warner ( is a life sciences executive coach with WSI. Elisabeth Sanders-Park ( is president of WorkNet Solutions.

Summer 2020



About LTEN

The Life Sciences Trainers & Educators Network ( is the only global 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization specializing in meeting the needs of life sciences learning professionals. LTEN shares the knowledge of industry leaders, provides insight into new technologies, offers innovative solutions and communities of practice that grow careers and organizational capabilities. Founded in 1971, LTEN has grown to more than 3,200 individual members who work in pharmaceutical, biotech, medical device and diagnostic companies, and industry partners who support the life sciences training departments.

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