AMWA-MAC 2015 Regional Conference

By on March 23, 2015

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The Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the American Medical Writers Association held its 2015 Chapter Conference on Friday, March 13, 2015 at the Gaithersburg Marriot Washingtonian Center, Gaithersburg, MD. More than 60 attendees participated in the conference.

Breakfast Icebreaker

By Cherie Dewar

The 2015 AMWA-MAC Regional Conference kicked off with an enjoyable session of networking.   Juli Monroe of 1 to 1 Discovery presented networking tips for introverts and extroverts, and how to deliver an elevator speech.

With her good humor, Juli assured introverts that they can make networking less uncomfortable by managing their energy and setting a clear goal, such as introducing themselves to three people before leaving an event. Introverts may also find it helpful to Read more . . .

schedule in rest time at a conference if they find the social events overwhelming.

Juli’s suggested that extroverts avoid talking too much about themselves and be good listeners in order to learn what is important to potential clients; then this information could be built upon when it is their turn to talk. Asking good questions can also make an extrovert more memorable to others. “Hip pocket” conversation pieces for extroverts can be, “What is a good client for you?” and ,“How can I meet a good client?”

Juli also reviewed the parts of an efficient, 1-minute elevator speech:

  • Your name
  • Your company or freelance business
  • A brief review of the work you do
  • A tagline that is noteworthy and sums up your best quality

The attendees gave their elevator speech to those at their table and then moved to other tables to meet more colleagues. The group seemed to enjoy the exercise that definitely accomplished its goal of “breaking the ice.”

Fundamentals of Freelance Business Marketing

By Shilpa Shenvi

A few weeks before the conference, Fundamentals of Freelance Business Marketing began in the form of homework. Students were asked to complete a marketing plan in which they analyzed their target markets, strategies, advantages, and disadvantages. At the beginning of class, Brian Bass, the teacher, returned each student’s homework with individualized advice.

Although students in the class were adept in their chosen fields of work, most did not know how to start a business. Staying true to the name of the course, Brian presented Read more . . .

valuable information that would allow medical writers and copyeditors to confidently begin their own freelance consulting services. After a segment on how to find clients, Brian discussed several detailed marketing strategies. As examples, he presented successful advertising ideas from businesses owned either by himself or by his colleagues. Other useful tips included ways to get samples and to optimize website viewings.

By assigning exercises to be completed in class, Brian allowed students to practice what they would say and write about themselves. He provided personalized feedback to further help them effectively market their businesses. Students were able to finish the class with a clear idea of how to launch their own consulting services.

Writing for Government Panel

By Sarah Markel

During the second morning open session, four AMWA members who write for government agencies discussed the broad variety of medical communications federal agencies need and how to find that work. AMWA-MAC Immediate Past President Jill Roberts moderated the discussion that ranged from the practical details of finding work to the tensions involved in translating scientific information into plain language.

Alison F. Davis, Ph.D., a freelance policy and speechwriter for the National Institutes of Health, explained how she uses her training in biochemistry to translate scientific concepts for lay audiences. Lili Fox Vélez, Ph.D., a scientific editor with the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, spoke about the critical role medical writers play in Read more . . .

synthesizing input from multiple manuscript authors, especially in the field of regulatory communications.

Terry Anderson, a writer and editor with the Agricultural Research Service led a thoughtful discussion about how agriculture and medicine are intertwined in areas such as plant and animal biology, nutrition, and zoonosis. He also shared some of tips for how freelance writers can market themselves to government agencies.

Sarah Markel, a writer and editor at the Administration for Community Living, outlined some of the challenges and opportunities in health services communications. She encouraged audience members to be alert for writing opportunities related to the patient-centered planning mandate of the Affordable Care Act.

Mark your calendar now for next year’s regional conference on March 4, 2016!