Thursday, April 28, 2011

Improve Your Business E-mail and Medical Writing – Part Three

Author: Michelle Mudge-Riley, DO, MHA

In my last blog, I discussed the importance of effective business writing. Specifically, I mentioned e-mail because these days, e-mail is often the first or only way the majority of doctors network or work towards a non-clinical opportunity. It’s also one of the easiest ways to begin a conversation with someone about a possible opportunity.

But e-mail isn’t the only business writing out there. I often get questions about the medical writing industry. My past two blog entries this month have dealt specifically with business e-mail and that advice also applies to other medical writing such as blog entries, magazine column or article writing and books. The additional advice below will also help you in any medical writing.

Think like a reporter.

Like a reporter, answer the “Five W’s”—who, what, where, when, why (and how). Remember that business writing is clearer when it’s to the point. Don’t give history and “interesting” background details unless it directly relates to what you want the reader to do.

As you write, consider answering the following questions in your writing:

• Why should the reader care?
• How will the reader benefit?
• What should the reader do?
• When should the reader do it?
• Who else will benefit? Why?

Know your audience.

Is your audience internal or external to the organization you are interested in pursuing? Is there an online or Linked In profile of the person that will help you determine their interests and communication style? If this is an article or a blog entry, who visits this site and reads the entries?

Take a moment to also consider your reader’s preferred communication style. In their position, do you think they will want you to “get to the point,” or would they rather you start with a story about your family and then asking how their family is doing?

About the author:

Dr. Mudge-Riley is a senior consultant for brokerage firms, health systems and large employers in wellness and health promotion and President of Physicians Helping Physicians in Richmond, Virginia.  She has spent the past seven years advising and coaching other doctors in their career by counseling physicians on business skills, assisting with compliance and risk management issues and mentoring in personal wellness and balance.  She has worked with hundreds of doctors and in various health systems located throughout the United States. To read more about Dr. Mudge-Riley, click here.

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