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

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

No, I’m Not Tweeting—I’m Marketing

Social media may seem like a haphazard series of tweets, likes, and posts, but behind this evolving technology is marketing potential, and with effective marketing, comes new business. Social media marketing experts Jennifer Minarcik and Ruwaida Vakil will be presenting this topic in the open session “Using Social Media for Marketing: Harness the Power of Twitter, LinkedIn and Beyond” at the AMWA 75th Annual Conference in San Antonio, TX, September 30-October 3, 2015.

Although the Annual Conference does not kick off for a couple months, the presenters have shared a few nuggets of information—a taste of what is to come!
  • Use webinars as a content marketing tool. Presenter Ruwaida says that when conducting a webinar or presentation, you can use social media marketing for social listening on LinkedIn and Twitter. For example, create a private LinkedIn group for all your attendees and a related hashtag on Twitter. Why? Ruwaida explains (1) “the LinkedIn group allows you to continue the conversation with your attendees” and (2) “the Twitter hashtag helps you listen to and relate to your attendees during and after your webinar.” Ruwaida addresses webinars further in a blog post.

  • Create effective visuals to increase exposure. Presenter Jennifer recommends using visuals to bump up your brand’s exposure, ultimately driving more traffic to your website. To create visuals, Jennifer suggests the online tool Canva because it is a great do-it-yourself design tool for creating unique, targeted images. “But don’t just post images,” she says, “add captions and descriptions (for example, hashtags, a website URL, or a ‘Call to Action’).”

  • Humanize social media to reach your audience. As insiders, Jennifer and Ruwaida share a final secret, “This year, the goal for anyone using social media should be to share relevant content while becoming more human. Social networks, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, and YouTube, provide freelancers the ability to create content specifically designed to attract dream clients.” Along with this push to make social media marketing more personal come fresh concepts, such as social selling, content curation strategies, real-time social media marketing, visual content, video content, and advertisement campaigns.

Open up a hard copy of the AMWA Journal or log on to read more about social media marketing in Jennifer Minarcik’s article “The FDA and Social Media” published in volume 30, issue 1. Also, tune in to the YouTube channel Freelance MedWriters for more expert advice.

To join the Twitter conversation, follow @AmMedWriters and use #AMWA2015. To tweet about the upcoming social media marketing open session and follow tips from the presentation, use #AMWA15SM.

For those interested in the open session described in this post, listed below are other related presentations and activities offered at the 2015 Annual Conference. Descriptions, dates, and times for each offering can be found in the registration brochure.

  • T-03: Quick-Start Marketing for Freelance Success
  • T-04: So You Want To Do a Webinar
  • T-07: Nobody Ever Wins in a Twitter Fight!
  • T-27: Freelancing: Starting and Marketing Your Medical Writing Business
  • S-04: The Social Media Tool Swap Shop
  • S-13: Five Tips to Prevent Your Website from Becoming an Antique

Open Sessions
  • OS-12: Basics of Content Writing for Medical Practices and Hospitals
  • OS-39: How to Make Your Webinar Relevant, Impactful, and Memorable

  • WS-44: Fundamentals of Freelance Business Marketing

-Christina Bennett, 2015 Annual Conference Planning Committee 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Earn Credits Toward ISMPP CMPP Recertification at the AMWA 75th Annual Conference

If you were CMPP certified in 2010, this is your year to recertify! The International Society for Medical Publication Professionals (ISMPP) has approved the following 4 sessions offered at the AMWA 75th Annual Conference for credit towards Certified Medical Publication Professional (CMPP) recertification.

WS-20 Ethical Standards in Medical Publication (3 Continuing Education [CE] Hours)

Open Session
OS-24 Transforming Perception of Medical Writers from Coal to Diamonds-if Superman Can Do it, so Can We! (1.5 CE Hours)

S-09 Journal Selection: Does it Matter in the Electronic Age? (1 CE Hour)
S-12 Permission Granted! Copyright Compliance and Permission Requests (1 CE Hour)

Please see the registration brochure for the detailed descriptions and times of these sessions.  Attendees seeking CE credits can email to request attendance verification documentation after the conference.

-Noelle Demas, 2015 Annual Conference Administrator

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Creative Readings Returns to the Annual Conference

AMWA members are far more than just skilled medical writers and editors. Many of them use their considerable talent in more creative writing endeavors. For a number of years, they had an opportunity during the Annual Conference to share their creative efforts with fellow AMWA members at a Creative Readings open session. But because of low turnout over the past couple of years, it was not offered at last year’s conference. Thanks to attendees who said they missed it, the Creative Readings is coming back—on a new day and time.

Traditionally, the Creative Readings session was held on the first night of the conference, following the Welcome Reception. The AC Committee wondered if perhaps this time slot for the event was a challenge, because members, tired from their travels, were anticipating an early morning wake-up call and the full day of workshops that lay ahead of them. So, the Committee decided to offer the Creative Readings session on Saturday afternoon (3:30 to 5:00 PM), as a perfect time for members to unwind after a busy 3 days of conference activities.

This open forum provides an opportunity for conference attendees who “dabble” in creative writing to share their works with their colleagues. Over the years, members have read short stories, science fiction, excerpts from novels and plays, and creative nonfiction, both serious and humorous. Song parodies have been another popular offering. Several years ago, a member lamented about the life of a bench scientist to a tune from “The Pirates of Penzance.” More recently, a member played his guitar and sang about the trials of being a copyeditor.

A past Creative Readings session also served as the impetus for gathering humorous observations about the lives of medical writers that were subsequently published in the book More Than 101 Ways to Know You’re a Medical Writer, which will be available for sale at the conference (at the Editorial Rx Press booth on the Exhibit Hall).

The purpose of the Creative Readings open session is to share and appreciate—not evaluate or criticize—in a comfortable nonthreatening environment. And the event is not just for those who want to share their creative work. It is also for those who like to listen and appreciate the creative endeavors of others—and perhaps get ideas and encouragement to stretch their wings and try writing their own poem, short story, or humorous essay, or starting that novel they’ve been thinking about writing.
No reservations are required to attend. However, we do ask those who want to present to please sign up ahead of time so that we can make sure everyone has an equal opportunity to share his or her work with an appreciative audience of peers.

If you would like to sign up to be a presenter, or would like more information about this special event, please send an e-mail to Creative Readings chair Donna Miceli at

—Donna Miceli, 2013 Annual Conference Committee