ASCO 2012 ChicagoThis morning I am heading off to the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago from June 1 to 5, 2012.

Finalizing my conference schedule yesterday afternoon led me to reflect that at major meetings with multiple parallel sessions, one of the keys to success is having a plan before you arrive. 

This year, ASCO have the best Congress eplanner that I have yet to see, and what’s more you can not only create and print an online schedule or export it as an Excel spreadsheet, but sync it with your iPad or iPhone/Android conference app.

Congratulations to ASCO in creating an innovative app that cuts down on paper and makes it easier for attendees to plan their program!  For those attending ASCO for the first time, a few suggestions:

Tip 1:  Have a plan in advance of arriving

Whether this is to follow a cancer tumor type, or area of clinical development you want to learn about, have a draft plan of what you want to see and perhaps more importantly, which leading experts you want to hear.

Tip 2:  Be flexible & follow #ASCO12 live tweets

I am a great believer in the “law of two feet” which says if there’s something more interesting going on elsewhere & the session you are in is not delivering what you want, get up and leave.  Many times I have seen live tweets from a session that I was not in that turned out to be the place to be – Twitter can help you find the hot topics.

Tip 3:  Don’t be afraid to talk to people

Take time to network & meet people. Sounds obvious, but a lot of the science & data can be revisited on the outstanding virtual meeting program. This meeting is about making connections, whether you are a clinician, researcher, media or in the industry. I always try and talk to people on the ASCO bus from the hotel to the conference center – it’s fascinating to have a brief chat with people from all around the world who have a common aim to treat and cure cancer.

Thanks to @ldtimmerman I’ll be contributing some ASCO commentary to Xconomy next week and am excited about the opportunity. I’ll post the links when they are up.

If you are interesting in following the news from ASCO 2012 remotely, then Sally Church (@MaverickNY) will be aggregating live #ASCO12 tweets on Pharma Strategy Blog.

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