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Business Writing Articles: Tips For Writing Eloquent Profiles - Humanize Your Hospital

Tips For Writing Eloquent Profiles - Humanize Your Hospital

An eloquent profile conveys the expertise, talents, and temperament of an individual. It's like a fine painted portrait, which shows you layers of information about the subject and gives your reader a strong sense of them as a person.

An eloquent profile can do at least three things for your hospital communications:

  1. Remind your community that, despite all the high tech equipment and the steely-eyed surgeons, you are a place of healing
  2. Convey your hospital's valuable expertise
  3. Develop a connection that endures-sometimes called a brand.

The most important aspect of an eloquent profile is the content. Here are eight tips for finding the right content for your profile:

Tip 1: As with any writing for public consumption, start by considering your audience. Are they physicians, or other clinicians with a technical interest in your subject's field? Be extra sure you have the information down correctly.

Are they patients or family members? If so, you might want to use a sidebar for highly technical material. Here's a good example, if you need one, of technical sidebar material, from The Journal of Knee Surgery: "clinical and functional outcomes of knee reconstructive procedures were correlated with the accuracy of implant and limb alignment and the quality of soft-tissue balancing."

Tip 2: Describe what the subject brings to the hospital. A director of development celebrating her 20th anniversary, for example, will have raised a specific amount of money for the hospital, and she will also have made some very important projects possible, such as a pediatric oncology play area, or a renewed and refreshed emergency waiting room.

Tip 3: Tell your reader what hospital staff think about your subject-as long as it's positive! For someone just joining you, see if you can get a good comment from a previous employer.

Tip 4: Find out how your subject came to be what they are. And look for what they most like about their work and what is most rewarding. For example, if you are writing about a nurse, it's equally interesting to read "since I was a little boy I've always wanted to be a nurse," as it is to learn "I was in my forties and working with homeless kids when I became intrigued by the idea of nursing."

Tip 5: Don't just work from the resume. Try to speak with the individual directly, or with someone who knows him well. Listen for the quote that sings. This is from an interview with a pharmacist: "When I was a little kid I loved experimenting with stuff in the kitchen. Then I got to high school chemistry and discovered that mixing could actually be a science." You wouldn't see this in a resume, and yet it gives a sense of the pharmacist's depth of interest in his work.

Tip 6: Make it clear that, like your readers, your subject has a life beyond work. Whether they like surfing in Australia or painting watercolors, this is a great way to convey their humanity and to develop connections with your readers.

Tip 7: Include some family information, especially if it is related to the larger topic. If it just so happens that your new chief cardiologist's spouse is an avid vegetable gardener, mention this interest, and find a way to tie it to the position-perhaps, in this case, relating vegetables to heart-healthy eating.

Tip 8: A Q&A format is an alternative to a simple narrative of your subject, and easy to do, since you'll have been asking questions in order to get your information. For example, suppose Dr. LaSalle says she loves to play the clarinet, and likes to give informal concerts. Your profile could read: "Dr. LaSalle loves to play the clarinet at informal concerts. It could also read:
Q: What do you do to relax?
A: I love to play the clarinet, and get together with friends for informal concerts.
Finally: Remember always to get your subject's approval before publication.

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