Micro Mentor

Are you just starting out as an editor? Do you have questions that you'd like to ask someone with a bit more experience and knowledge? Ask away! We'll pass on your query to one of our fabulous and generous editors for some considered and wise advice.

Dear MM,

I followed your wise advice and made a business card. I've been handing it out, and now people keep giving me theirs. What am I supposed to do with all of these business cards?

At a Loss


Dear Ms Loss,

The card is not the important part, the relationship is. What matters is whether you want to chat to this person again.

Perhaps you hit it off with another editor over a budget-breaking sandwich near the CAE during an Editors Victoria course, or perhaps you met a managing editor in a company that you'd like to work for.

But say you get home from an editors' day out and think, who was that again? Well, you're just not that into them. So you could feed the card to the recycling bin or enter it in that free lunch competition that your local business is running. Remember, of course, that if you rush about thrusting your cards into people's hands without having a chat, this will be your fate. So if you want someone to remember you, you have to start a conversation. Many editors are shy and retiring types (count MM in this category), so don't be afraid. And if you have a head like a sieve, write a note on the back that will jog your memory: 'Introduced by Joe Blow. Dog called Livestock. Promised him my spare copy of Paradise Lost.'

When you do meet someone whom you'd like to keep in touch with, then make sure you write a 'hello note' by the next day or at least that week. Send an email that mentions how you met and add an appropriate comment (maybe that you hope to work together in the future). This works both ways, too: if you send the note early, then you won't be frantically trying to find that little bit of cardboard with the name of the editor who is just the person to help you with your next big project.

As for keeping them - as usual the world divides into two. Those who love to shuffle through old cards, checking out designs and recalling old encounters, and those who live clean, who'd say you don't need to keep the card itself. Either way, put the contact details in your email or phone address book. You're on your way to building a network.