Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Power of words and Safe Communication

Words that end up in court
Altered records, defect, falsification, hazardous, illegal, incompetence, inferior, negligent, reckless, wrongdoing

Fighting words
Allege, argument, complaint, careless, dispute, idiot, inefficient, liable, misinform, problem, shoddy, shortsighted

Loaded questions and negative words
"I am not a cook"
"I am not a bimbo"
How would you respond?
Did the clinical trials go badly?
Do you always drive like a maniac?

Phrases to make people defensive
Apparently you are not aware...
Contrary to your inference...
I don't agree with you...
Let me make this perfectly clear...
You obviously overlooked...
And just for your information...

Phrases that will get you more attention than you want
delete this email
do not distribute
shred this memo
do not tell (insert name here)
can we get away with it?
They'll never find out
I have serious concerns
I don't care what you do
This might not be legal
let's meet to talk about the thing I mentioned last night

Avoiding commenting on potential
Potential liability issues:
Risky way: if we do not conduct the tests I propose, the company could face serious FDA regulatory problems and product liability suits
Safer way: I believe this protocol employs sound research methodologies that will yield scientifically valid data and should be favorably reviewed by the FDA

Be specific and detailed about information sources:
Risky way:Managers send and receive an average of 178 messages a day
Safer way: A recent Gallup poll showed that managers send and receive an average of 178 messages per day

Risky way:Previous studies show the drug is safe
Safer way: According to the 2005 viral transmission study done by Dr. Jackson...

Risky way: He says he won't use our product because the rate of viral transmission of hepatitis C is too high
Safer way: Dr. Bowers had concerns about the possibility of viral transmission of hepatitis C. I explained to him about our...

Close 'open loops'
An open loop
  • The investigator again questioned the safety of the new protocol
Closing the loop
  • In response to the investigator's query about the safety of the protocol...

Know when not to respond
  • when you don't know
  • when it falls outside your expertise area
  • potential hot button issues
  • challenging editors and auditors

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