You may think you’re at the finish line once you’ve followed all the preparatory steps of finding the right key opinion leaders (KOLs) and scheduling an interview. But there may be a few more pitfalls ahead, the next challenge is to successfully navigate through the discussion. Once the interview is happening, it is time to roll your sleeves up and navigate through a potentially difficult and science-heavy conversation with someone who is very knowledgeable in the topic. We have gathered a few tips on how to conduct your interview to get the responses needed and let us tell you, a friendly conversation without structure won’t get you anywhere.
1. Moderate firmly but kindly
KOLs often have busy daily schedules and thus appreciate a confident moderator steering the interview to ensure that it’s productive and within the allotted timeslot. Stick to your prepared question list to ensure a steady flow of conversation but be flexible if the conversation takes an unexpected turn. Don’t forget that it’s up to you to keep the KOL on topic. If possible, always have someone else take notes while you focus on leading the interview to get the most out of it.
2. Utilize prepared notes and materials
Preparing notes and supporting materials such as a description of the product or solution you want to discuss is essential for setting the scene and gathering relevant feedback. You don’t have to remember everything by heart! We found that presenting a few slides at the beginning of the interview sets a good start to an interactive discussion. If your interview time is limited, however, sending materials in advance can work effectively too. The most important lesson here is to make sure that the KOL will be able to provide informed and relevant information.
3. Ask, ask, and ask again!
It’s easy to miss important information or misinterpret a response, especially in a science-heavy discussion. Don’t hesitate to ask clarifying questions if you feel confused or to ensure that you have interpreted the KOL’s feedback correctly. Use the opportunity while the KOL is engaged in conversation, don’t rely on being able to get a response after the interview for clarifications or follow-up questions. In case you don’t get a response to your question, or it’s too vague, rephrase your question and ask once more to make sure you get your point across. It’s also good to know if the KOL doesn’t know the answer to a specific question, which might happen sometimes.
Want to know more?
Our team has experience with KOL interviews across many different indications and has a few tricks up our sleeves. Our sweet spot is where life science and business meet.