Case Study 3: A C-Level Executive Speech That Gained Media and Members' Attention. Mission: Communicate! newsletter, September 21, 2010

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THE ART OF THE POSSIBLE September 21, 2010
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    A C-Level Executive Speech That Gained Media and Members' Attention

    Reference: Joyce Lofstrom, HIMSS, email, 312-915-9237

    For the past several years, I have written the opening remarks for the HIMSS board chair to deliver at the start of the organization's annual conference, which is attended by more than 25,000 professionals. In previous years, these remarks have been a summary of HIMSS' accomplishments.

    This year, however, chair Dr. Barry Chaiken wanted to make a major address that positioned HIMSS as an organization that is dedicated to the cause of transforming healthcare through the use of IT, as opposed to one that represents only the individual interests of members of the healthcare IT profession.

    Working directly with Dr. Chaiken, I crafted a speech that conveyed his knowledge and insights and achieved his goals. In addition, I devised interesting ways of communicating the speech's key messages to HIMSS members and the media, both before and after the speech.

    As a result, the speech was quoted verbatim in several news reports, which all noted the change in HIMSS' positioning. Most notably, one journalist, a long-time observer of HIMSS, wrote, "Dr. Chaiken's speech, and my interview (with Dr. Chaiken), were the best markers I could find about how HIMSS itself has transformed in the last two years. From a defensive crouch of trying to get clients paid, the industry has switched to an offensive posture of working to transform medical practice. It is a remarkable change."

    My main contact at HIMSS, Joyce Lofstrom, told me, "I would say that you have a new or expanded niche for your business - working with board chairs or CEOs to develop an important message and then to determine how to best share that message with the media and members."

    Dr. Chaiken devoted an entire section of his personal Web site to the speech and posted video of the speech on You Tube. Part One. Part Two. Part Three.


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