How to De­liver a Warm Welcome

Hong Kong Tatler - - To Our Readers -

his is­sue sees the re­turn of our an­nual How To fea­ture (page 218). It’s only ap­pro­pri­ate, then, that for my To Our Read­ers col­umn this month I, too, fol­low the How To for­mat. There is a ten­dency for mag­a­zines to open such col­umns wel­com­ing read­ers with a quote from a lu­mi­nary. This gives the im­pres­sion that some­thing im­por­tant is be­ing com­mu­ni­cated. But all too of­ten, this is sim­ply lazi­ness, as the fol­low­ing quote from AA Milne ex­plains: “A quo­ta­tion is a handy thing to have about, sav­ing one the trou­ble of think­ing for one­self, al­ways a la­bo­ri­ous busi­ness.” (My use of a quote here is clearly ironic. It’s al­ways good, although not al­ways pos­si­ble, to in­ject your col­umn with hu­mour.)

A good wel­com­ing col­umn should set up the reader so that he or she gets the most out of the is­sue. Key sto­ries—such as big fea­tures, par­tic­u­larly those that cost you the most to pro­duce—should be high­lighted. Avoid sim­ply list­ing the sto­ries in your mag­a­zine. Con­text is im­por­tant, so al­ways try to find a thread that links the ma­jor sto­ries to­gether. This is more easily done when there’s a theme to the is­sue, such as fash­ion or travel.

The col­umn should sound per­sonal. Ex­press your opin­ion. Ar­tic­u­late the world as you see it. In­clude a warm anec­dote about the cover star: This month’s cover star, Audry Ai-mor­row, is a ded­i­cated mother; I know this be­cause our kids are in the same class at school and we bump into each other more on cam­pus than we do on the so­cial cir­cuit. (This is true, by the way.)

Fi­nally, end with a punch. Or, bet­ter still, a pun-ch. Close the col­umn with some witty ref­er­ence of some­thing you men­tioned in your open­ing para­graph, or try some­thing self-deprecating. How­ever, avoid be­ing overly self-ref­er­en­tial. And, no mat­ter how highly you rate your word­smith­ery, al­ways get your col­umn checked by another editor. Ideally, teach that editor to write in your “voice” so that you no longer have to write your own, you sim­ply have to ap­prove it, leav­ing your­self more time to quaff cham­pagne.

board walk As part of our an­nual How To fea­ture, fash­ion­ista Mira Yeh ex­plains the se­cret to mas­ter­ing wakesurf­ing

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