In the previous post we discussed about how to prepare for and attend events from a medical writer point of view. Let us now, in a greater detail discuss about how an event highlights, also known as meeting highlights should be written.
Before we discuss how to write event highlights, let us look at its definition:
An event highlights is a summary of a presentation, talk, or lecture, containing text and visuals (such as graphs, charts or tables) illustrating complicated medical information in a simpler format.
Although on most occasions this type of writing is semi-promotional in nature and is used by clients to promote their products, it is the medical writer’s responsibility to make it informative for the audience. You must look up some good samples written in the past by your colleagues before getting started.
Understand the topic and make a framework:
Find as much basic information as possible and study it to attain some degree of understanding of the topic in question. This will help you structure your document better, avoid ambiguities, and make it a joy to read. It will also give you a sense of what all is important for the event summary and what you could skip. With the increasing popularity of the internet, it is easier than ever to retrieve information about any topic, so make use of it.
Once you have understood the topic, start building the outline of your document. Decide upon the various headings and subheadings, charts and figures that you may use, total word count of the document and the number of words you will dedicate to each section. Ensure that you have an introduction paragraph at the beginning and a conclusion at the end. Keep the structure of the article logical and easy-to-read.
Crosscheck and transcribe:
Do not rely on your memory alone when writing down the event highlights. This is the time to cross check the notes that you made during the event, or listen to the audio recording if available. Also go through the print out of the slide kits or reference documents that you may have received during the event. All these will help you recall what was presented.
Now that you have planned what your article will look like and created an outline, it is time to get started with your writing. All companies have set deadlines by when you need to submit your work, so be quick with your writing. Aim at creating a rough draft as soon as possible. At this stage you must not edit or revise anything as doing so can disturb your writing flow. All editing and proof reading can be done at a later stage.
Revise the rough draft:
After you have completed work on the rough draft, it is time to edit and revise what you have written. Do not rush through this stage and carefully read one sentence at a time. Rephrase complex and lengthy statements, correct grammatical errors, use correct punctuation and create smooth transitions between sentences and paragraphs. This revised rough draft will now be your first draft of the event highlights.
If you have time at hand, work on something else for a day or two. You can then start another round of editing to identify any mistakes that may have been overlooked during the first revision. Also, submit your first draft for review / copy-editing to another writer or editor before it is submitted to the client for approval.