To customize your bio for consideration for a speaking engagement, start with your basic boilerplate bio that covers all the essentials. Remember I don't care where you went to school or how many years you have been in business. I want to know “what have you done for me lately. ” Are you savvy with today's current “hot button" issues? Convey that in your bio.
Spice it up with names that create resonance. For example, I have spoken at the White House (twice). That always opens doors for me. Have you been involved with some household name recognition project or company? Make sure to mention that in your bio.
What impresses you in someone’s bio? For me it’s always if they have written a book (not self-published -although that is a great way to start. ) Give me strong sound bites without the fluff. There are certain compelling phrases the will always generate interest. Look at the action words in your cheat sheets. See if you can work these words into your verbiage. Keep thinking about words that will move someone to action-that is hiring you to speak.
Your basic bio should be no longer than three well thought out paragraphs. Remember you can always tell me more if I am interested in hearing more later. Start big and get smaller. Record important achievements so that you can cut and paste them into your bio as needed. This is an important part of customization. Create relevance to the reader by inserting key phrases that will pique their interest.
Now give some serious consideration to the topic you will be addressing. The secret is to be able to create a speech that you can spin into myriads of other programs. Think about the core message of your bio. Who are you targeting? If it’s only one very specialized niche, you need to go back to the drawing board and create a broader audience base. Use the news to see what issues are in the forefront. Identifying with current news issues will help you keep your bio contemporary.
You don't want to continually reinvent the wheel. When you have a bio that works, add some spin for different audiences that makes it seem as if you wrote your bio just for them. Keep it continually updated too. Nothing cries “out of touch" more than an old bio that reads like a resume. People simply don't care what happened to you five years ago, so don't waste their time. If you can't get to the core message in three paragraphs or less then they aren't going to read any more anyway.
Remember your short bio is an important part of your professional repertoire. Don't just slam something together. Take time to craft your message and then rework and rework until it sounds like the real you.
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