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The Top 5 – Tips for Healthy Communication

Posted on August 24, 2010

If we get too close to the product or service we’re selling, we can lose our sense of reality and believe our own hype. This can lead to our communication missing the mark, or worse, doing more harm than good. This month’s Top 5 provides a reminder of what makes for good communication in the health arena.

1. Know what you want to say

Before you engage in any communication, remember to ensure your message is clear, that you know who you want to receive it and that you have an outcome in mind. Get this right and your communication should be fruitful.

2. Make it personal

Consumers respond well to personal stories with a human touch. Medical professionals also respond to personal stories, but in a slightly different way. Why not try a case study or ‘grand rounds’ approach to your health communication for this audience?

3. Opinions matter

Consider how you can incorporate the views of others into your communication. What do consumers or professionals think of your product or story? How can a quote from an industry body or health consumer organisation support your message?

4. Control the communication

It’s your communication strategy, designed with your outcome in mind. Be careful not to let the media, researchers, consumers, health professionals or industry bodies highjack your message and change it to suit their needs.

5. Stay within the rules

When it comes to communication in the health arena, understanding the rules is vital. You need to know what you can and can’t say to consumers, the regulations around making ‘claims’ for your product or service, and the penalties for breaking the rules. When in doubt, ask. The best place to start is with your relevant industry body, that can provide a code of conduct (or similar) to guide you.