Why Q & A formats will proliferate in health communication
Times… they’re a changing. Whenever people have common questions about a new program, it’s wise to post those questions and answer them in a Q & A. When new information, concepts, deadlines, events, or complex issues arise ─ Q & A is a great way to go (Socrates would approve).
Q& A also lends itself to a structured process of covering the time-tested content guidelines of Who, What, Where, When, Why and How. And the process of producing a Q & A communiqué helps to identify confusing points and resolve them at an early draft stage.
As long as the questions are relevant and immediately useful to the reader ─ there are no hard and fast rules for the number to use. Just keep going until all the important points are covered.
When NOT to use Q & A
Please don’t use Q&A in the media as a public introspection exercise. “Do I love little puppies? Yes, I love little puppies.” “Do I think I should give little puppies to all my friends? No, not at all.”
Q & A is not a good format to illustrate common sense, debate, how to, lessons, human interest stories, or instructions. In these instances, the questions can come across as condescending or idiotic. Just use interesting headlines and subheads, and tell the story in a linear style. Like this article.
Health care is going through a sea change at every level. The need for clear, understandable messages has never been greater than now. Q & A formats will serve us well as we work through the developing health information maze.