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Fifteen Minutes of Fame.

I believe the Confucians say "if you would learn something well, you must teach it." However, many of us often learn something well, yet fail to pass on that knowledge. But to whom would we teach, and how? The answer, I think, can be found in an example from my own experience.

In the March 1992 issue of Business Credit, I published an article on collecting late charges This began as what I jokingly refer to as my "15 minutes of fame," which is promised us all according to the late Andy Warhol. My article was a three-minute table-topic speech I gave during a quarterly educational meeting of a credit interchange group I attended. We had sought a way of adding value to our meetings beyond the discussion list and had hit upon asking for a three-to-five minute discussion by members on various topics. I had volunteered to present an idea for improving the collection of late charges.

Notes for a table talk discussion are written in the style in which we speak-so in an article the format is free flowing and easily understood. Our NACM moderator had suggested that we submit our written notes, or scripts, for consideration as articles for Business Credit. My article was selected for publication and besides sharing my expertise with my staff at work and my credit group colleagues, I was now reaching thousands of my peers.

How could a three-minute speech garner 15 minutes of fame? Shortly after publication, I was contacted by several credit managers who were working on improving their collection ratios, and wanted first-hand information about my experiences. Subsequently, another credit and collection's newsletter called and asked me to contribute my ideas on collecting late charges for their upcoming issue. I now had two articles to share and what is more important, two articles to forward to my personnel file in the corporate office. Rarely will you have such a chance to explain what you do, and how well you do it, to the upper echelons of management, as with a nationally published article.

Early in 1994, I was contacted by yet another publication for the "working credit manager," and was interviewed on how our company uses mechanics' liens and joint checks to help control risk on construction projects. Again, I received calls from my peers in the industry and also had another article to submit for my file. I was contacted again by the same credit and collections manager's newsletter and that interview appeared in their March '95 publication. In 1997, I submitted a case study on improving staff morale by adding responsibility, and that too was published months later.

Composing an article or preparing for an interview will help you clarify your thinking and focus on applying your skills in addressing a problem in the field of credit. Also, publication of your article can give quite an ego boost, but it is the calls and correspondence from your peers that will boost your confidence and self-esteem.

Now, if only Warhol had promised fame AND fortune!

James Fox is the district credit manager for PDM Steel Service Centers in Stockton, CA. A member of a community writing club, he has had several articles published in trade newsletters, has written a monthly humor feature for the California Credit Executive Newsletter and has sold several jokes to the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

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Title Annotation:benefits of writing a magazine article
Author:Fox, James
Publication:Business Credit
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2000
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