Writing the Right Bio

Priscilla Richardson

Priscilla Richardson

by Priscilla Richardson, MA, JD ©2011

How do you write a SHORT bio?

You’ll find it very easy to write a long bio for Lynda. You go in order, starting with birth to the present, and list everything important. Complete? yes. Bo-o-oring? YES.

So how do you write a bio that gives the info to establish you as the expert you are and yet keep it SHORT? Start with your list of events from birth on. Just make a list, don’t worry about sentences. Then go thru the list and see what you can leave out – maybe the way you showed mechanical aptitude at age two with your toy wrench can go, but your sales record at Widget Inc. should stay.

Test every bit on the list for relevance. If your degree in physics boosts your authority about remodeling, use it. If not, don’t.
Consolidate others. Instead of separate items covering each of your education experiences, for example, say, “Upon graduation from college Sparky sold 16 thousand widgets in one year, beating the sales record to date.” For the most part, until you get to be President of General Motors, or the United States, leave out job titles. Include accomplishments.

OK, you’ve pared down your list.

Now, go to the WHY. Why should an audience member want to hear from you? Will she learn a skill? A new way to sell? Just what?
Take Sparky. “Sales whiz Sparky will share his way of getting a prospect to buy.” Or, “Sparky will give you a check list of ‘must do’s’ to get that sale.” Now, the listener is getting ready not just to listen but to listen and learn.

With these two: accomplishments, plus reasons for the audience to pay attention, you have the bones of a great SHORT bio. Then all you need is a little fun, a little extra, to make you both human and memorable. Maybe start with it, work it in, or end with it. But use it.

You’ll need SHORT bios for many different reasons, including your introduction before you speak. Play with them, tweak them. And let them show the fun part of you, too.

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Comments

  1. I agree, Priscilla. As a matter of fact, when speaking, it is always a good idea to write your own introduction and give it to the person who will be introducing you so that they can do so properly.

    In our High Impact Presentations program, we use the following guideline:

    T – Topic – First, mention the title or topic of the presentation
    I – Importance – Second, identify why this topic is important or of interest
    the audience
    Q – Qualifications – Third, present the qualifications of the speaker. The qualifications mentioned should establish the speaker’s credibility to speak on the topic being presented
    S – Speaker Name – Finally, announce the name of the speaker (with MUCH Anticipation!)

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