Friday, September 25, 2015

Anyone can give a webinar now, but can you really rock one?

Let me start with a confession, I was one those people who was late embracing the webinar. My attitude was attend them when I had to and only host them if I must. Then suddenly I realized I was starting to see some value in those webinars. So what changed? Technology for one thing.  There are now many reliable platforms and user friendly dashboards to take the angst out of webinar logistics. The turning point for me was last year when I had such a great time putting together the Twitter webinar with Adi Ferrara along with the help of Andrew Buskey from AMWA headquarters. So much so that I decided to attend the open session on developing, designing, and executing a webinar by Ruwaida Vakil at our Memphis AMWA conference. What a valuable session that was for me. I left there armed with useful knowledge that helped me make great decisions for using webinars with client projects this year. That was the first hurdle I had to overcome and if you are at that point with webinars now, Ruwaida has a great online webinar available on demand at Beacon Live that can quickly get you up to speed.

Webinars have really grown these past few years and according to B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks they are now tied with video as the 3rd most effective means of marketing today. More and more people are conducting them, but are they doing them effectively? That is why I was so pleased to see a follow-up session by Ruwaida (OS39- How to Make Your Webinar Relevant, Impactful and Memorable) on this year’s AMWA conference program. Last year’s session was a great hands on exercise in getting the session audience comfortable with executing a webinar. This year Ruwaida is promising a session helping speakers to make their webinars more effective by being more impactful. A common misconception for many people is that webinars are the same as public speaking. Ruwaida points out for a webinar to be a success, there is a need to translate the oral presentation into an online presentation and that there are tools and technology that help enable that translation to be successful.

In this session Ruwaida will be presenting the six key components she feels are essential in order for a speaker to assure their webinar will be relevant, impactful and memorable. If you still are not convinced of the value of webinars check out Ryan Parker’s 14 reasons why you should be using webinars. You can also hear Ruwaida’s insights and perspectives on that topic in her on demand “content marketing with a webinar” presentation on youtube.  

As a freelancer I have learned to appreciate the roles critical content and visual marketing have played in my success. Ruwaida feels strongly that webinars are wasted when treated as a sales presentation and her goal is to show this session audience how to use a webinar as an effective educational tool that will help establish a person’s credentials as the content/subject matter expert. Establishing those credentials is an important step in building your brand. Ruwaida’s session OS39- How to Make Your Webinar Relevant, Impactful and Memorable is scheduled for Saturday, October 3 at 4PM. Be sure to check the AMWA Program Brochure for additional information on this session and for other sessions that may be of interest to you as well. 

Additional webinar related sessions at this year’s AMWA Annual Conference Sept 30 – Oct 3 in San Antonio, TX include:

T-04 So You Want to Do a Webinar?

Open Sessions
OS–31 Beyond the Box: New and Money Making Strategies for Freelancers

Don’t forget to join the Twitter conversation and follow AMWA at @AmMedWriters and use #AMWA2015 to keep up with as well as to share the conference events.

-Larry Lynam, 2015 AMWA Conference Committee


Monday, September 14, 2015

Hit Me with Your Best Shot: Mastering Critique and Criticism

Medical writing is both a science and an art. It requires a clear understanding of medical concepts and terminology, a thorough knowledge of specific requirements for different types of documents and excellent writing skills. Perhaps, the most important aspect of medical writing is the ability to handle the unique challenges of critique and criticism. Robin Whitsell, founder and president of Whitsell Innovations, Inc, will be presenting this topic in the open session “It’s Not You; It’s Me: Dealing with Critique and Criticism” at the AMWA 75th Annual Conference in San Antonio, TX, September 30-October 3, 2015.

Although the Annual Conference is in less than three weeks, Whitsell has provided a sneak peek of what she will be discussing.

  • Strategies for handling feedback.
  • How to encourage substantive and actionable feedback that adds depth and insight.
  • The skills needed for handling critique and criticism in a positive way that minimizes defensiveness or anger.
  • How to maintain patience, professionalism, and self-control when receiving feedback.
  • How to have challenging conversations with difficult individuals in order to achieve desired results for: you, others, the relationship, or the organization.
  • Strategies and techniques for establishing and maintaining a team rapport.
Whitsell’s presentation will provide case study examples of crucial conversations with difficult individuals. Audience members are encouraged to share their personal experiences of high stakes dialogue and offer solutions for achieving a successful outcome. This very engaging session is an exciting opportunity for medical writers at all levels.

Taken together, this open session will enable attendees to learn effective communication skills and prepare them to perform as persuasive communicators and problem solvers. These skills are critical to improving: productivity, diversity, and relationships both professionally and personally. More importantly, everyone can and should practice these proven techniques and practical tools in their daily lives. The more we practice these techniques the more intrinsic and spontaneous our communication skills will become.

To learn additional tips on how to best approach a crucial conversation with skill and empathy, check out 12 Tips for Handling Difficult Conversations.

For those interested in attending an additional open session presented by Whitsell at the 2015 Annual Conference, check out “No Weak Links: Mentoring and Coaching in Medical Writing.” Please see the registration brochure for a detailed description and time of this session.

To join the Twitter conversation, follow @AmMedWriters and use#AMWA2015.

-Tara Ann Cartwright, PhD; 2015 Annual Conference Planning Committee