Have you ever read a bio and thought you knew the person?  What they’re like, how they think and if you like them or not?  A well-written bio can influence a prospect to buy or not buy, continue reading to hear more or pick up the phone, right then and there. Why miss an opportunity to present your best self and brand with a poorly written bio?

So, how do you write a compelling bio?

The first step is to identify who you are, what you’re selling or promoting (even yourself) and present a background that’s not B-B-B-Boring.  It’s also helpful to include a few interesting facts so readers will have a sense of you as a person – inside and out, including what you like to do, off hours.  Even if you’re a workaholic, you still have hobbies or interests that you enjoy or are important in your life.

When I’m working with a client and we’re reviewing their bio, I ask, “what do people not know about you?”  After they make faces, or I hear them making faces with a gigantic pause at the other end of the phone, they tell me about their passions and reflect on their lives.

  • I collect vintage Corvettes
  • I’ve been to every continent in the world, except Antarctica and I’m planning a trip there now
  • I’m leading a volunteer vacation with my church to Africa
  • I’m writing a book on XYZ and it’s being published in the fall
  • I’m a clown at hospitals and make kids laugh

For me, it might be that I live on an island in the summer, was a beekeeper for many years or am a Travelzoo® fanatic, always dreaming of my next vacation. To mix it up, I might add that my 1983 Check Cab Marathon with opera windows was the best car I ever owned, I love Greek meatballs or I’m a Reiki Master.

Bios will change like you and your website, and eventually you may have 3 bios or more; one short (50 words), one longer (100 words) and one by-line or speaker intro bio, but that’s for later.

Your Bio = Who you are + what you do + how you help others + a dash of personality.

It’s Your Personal Brand and PR.

The content of a bio can be like an elevator pitch, but remember with an elevator pitch you’re presenting in person and have the opportunity to influence others with your voice, behavior and body language.  And, in person, you can turn on your charisma. Again, you marketing you.

If you’re looking to refresh your bio, take 30 minutes and copy and paste ones you like in a document. Try out different versions and send them to your inner circle to review.  It’s hard to judge your own bio sometimes. We’re typically shy, don’t think a phrase is important, or don’t want to toot our horns too loudly.

But, “if you don’t toot your own horn, who will?”

Think of your bio as a soft toot, written to inspire people to want to know more. It’s not bragging, it’s not hard selling or reciting your credentials as a Harvard MBA and every degree you’ve earned since high school. It’s a story of your past and present, credentials and a few tidbits that make you interesting.

Granted, you’re smart. But, you’re also human. You’ve lived a story to tell.

Tell it like it is, but position it in a way to better your brand.

If you’ve ever walked into a room and sensed a tense energy, I’m sure you’ve also seen this body language; arms crossed, polite but stiff interaction and most probably, limited eye to eye communication. Most people look at others but not into their eyes.

Is it because our eyes are the window to the soul?

We can all improve our body language and the way we communicate, which eventually could change or influence certain outcomes.  It could also improve our sales and marketing!

Michael Michalowicz, author and business mentor who writes for American Express Open Forum, outlines best body language practices for selling in 7 Body Language Tips to Help You Sell. He says that body language can kill a deal, and 90% of our communication is non-verbal.  You knew that, right? Tips to show our more confident selves? Slow down, practice the 3 C’s (be cool, calm and collected) and for heaven’s sakes, don’t touch your face, scratch your ears or rub your eyes. It could be a sign that you’re lying.

In this PositivityBlog article by Henrick Edberg, 18 Ways to Improve Your Body Language the author gives, you guessed it, 18 ways to change up the way you present yourself to show more confidence and appear more agreeable, even if you don’t agree! Some suggestions? If you’re in a conversation, mirror each other’s actions but not to the point of being weird, sit with a wider stance to look more comfortable in your own skin, and lower your drink holding it below your heart to look less guarded!

And finally, in CareerOverview.com, we have a comprehensive list of 50 Body Language Secrets. I’ll list some of the don’ts to see if you’re at fault.

Avoid these Negative Body Language Actions

Don’t:

  • Scrunch your forehead
  • Walk away while you’re talking
  • Tap your feet
  • Yawn or cough (it shows you’re bored)
  • Or, clench your fist

I’ve been in more than a few sales calls, meetings and workshops where I’ve witnessed a collection of these actions, all during the sales process. No one’s perfect, but be mindful of your body. Love it and learn what its’ language means.

After all, the right body language not only influences people, but can help you attract the man/woman of your dreams.

PS – Lots of speaking gigs coming up for me this Spring and I’m excited to be presenting more. This week, I got a Direct Message on Twitter asking me to apply as a Speaker for a big social media convention in April. Social Media works but you have to be in it to win it!

1. It’s OK not to know everything. There’s a learning curve to trying something new.  Scuba diving for the first time. Making the perfect crepe. Creating killer graphics with cool tools. Inspiring hundreds to take action when you speak. Some say it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert. But, when you embrace that we’re all really experts in training, you’ll find it easier to receive and share information. Viva the 80/20 rule.

2. Sometimes you don’t know what will happen. At the bottom of the ocean, you don’t know what you’ll see or what you might have to do. So, you have to be trained. Your mask might fill up with water. You push the wrong button and go flying to the top (don’t try that). When we’re in execution mode, the best PR and marketing plans might have to be tweaked at the last minute or even scrubbed. Being trained and knowing the options can be a dream come true.

3. Follow best practices. PR specialists and marketers in every stage of their growth learn from a variety of sources. The internet, coaches, books, You Tube, fellow colleagues and the list goes on. To save time and to be more effective, learn from the experience of others and follow established guidelines, hopefully not repeating their mistakes. Best practices in marketing can increase revenue, expert status and visibility, and showcase the star you really are.

4. Paying attention matters. There have been a number of instances where paying attention has been critical to my survival. Scuba diving is one example, hot air ballooning and surfing others.  I could say jumping out of a plane, but I haven’t done that yet. As influencers and marketers, we need to pay attention to what’s going on around us, and what’s really important to our brand, not just what would be nice. Paying attention can put you ahead of the crowd or keep you at rock bottom. It’s always your choice.

5. Listening = Watching. 
There isn’t one of us who couldn’t learn to listen better. When you’re underwater, listening means watching the signs – of your instructor and fellow divers. In business, learning to read the signs could include understanding body language or noticing office discord, without hearing a word. Watching for positive and negative signs of your team and key players could save you time, effort and a big HR mess. Keep your eyes and ears open. Your gut reaction is usually right.

Everyone in my family is back to work on Thursday. One of my daughters is prepping for a 3 week trip to Australia, another is head high in client work and training for a trek to Patagonia.  I’m excited about new business opportunities this month and upcoming speaking gigs at Constant Contact and Sleek Marketing University.

This New Year will bring us new adventures.

What ‘bout you?

3 WAYS TO LOVE YOURAs you may know, Brand Ambassadors are coveted and rare professionals who effectively communicate the essence of their company’s unique story, and personify its core values in what they do, what they say, how they act, and even how they think.

What’s more, Brand Ambassadors are extremely valuable “assets” who measurably increase the bottom line, and deliver an ROI that often out-performs advertising, sponsorships and other initiatives. Plus, they help their company retain its top performers, and attract new talent.

Ultimately, Brand Ambassadors are an invaluable part of any company success story, because they’re the “real deal” who get up close and personal with vendors, partners, customers, colleagues – heck, even strangers sitting next to them on a flight or seated next to them at a conference.  They can be outsourced to join an existing team, or developed through in-house training to build even better relationships and connections with the outside world.

What you may not know is how to thank Brand Ambassadors – even love them – for all that they do.

Here’s a list of 3 Ways to Love Your Brand Ambassadors:

1)      Acknowledge that a Brand Ambassador has an important role, just as important as a sales or marketing team member.  A trained Brand Ambassador will not only wear your brand, but give a face to your company and hopefully convey heart and soul as well.  Show them the respect that they deserve as they interact with your prospects, clients and colleagues.  There’s an incredible upside to being valued as part of a team.

2)      Appreciate Brand Ambassadors as front line reps and show them love, even if it’s in small ways; invite them to company meetings, trainings, and give them VIP access and parking if available when they’re working a high profile event. If tickets are plentiful at a certain venue, consider offering them as a thank you. Often, complimentary tickets get discarded, and it’s heartbreaking for some to see the waste. As in life, the gesture of sharing goes a long way and generosity is seldom forgotten.

3)      Allow Brand Ambassadors to deliver your message, in their voice.  Every Brand Ambassador, like every person, has their own unique style, tone and timing – and the ways that people listen can be as varied. Be open to different communication styles to reach a wide and multi-cultural marketplace and honor their freedom to express themselves within the guidelines of their job.  With the high-tech world that we live in, there’s never been a better time to reach out and touch someone.

YOUR TURN

What are the three most noticeable traits of a great Brand Ambassador?

If you were to outsource Brand Ambassadors for your company, what would you look for?

From body language alone, could you tell an employee from a Brand Ambassador in a mixed setting, on location? What would be the tell-tale signs (if any)?

“Being an optimist after you’ve got everything you want doesn’t count.”
Kin Hubbard

Have you checked your general outlook lately? Do you catch yourself expecting the worst of situations? Do you have faith in others? It may be true that failure is a better teacher than success, but, it’s important to keep a positive outlook on life.

According to the Mayo Clinic, your outlook on life –- whether you are optimistic or pessimistic -– can affect your quality of life in many ways. Optimistic people enjoy longer lives, less depression and distress, higher levels of psychological and physical well-being, better coping skills, healthier hearts –- even a higher level of resistance to the common cold!

Have you noticed that people who are optimistic seem to get more done? Maybe a little part of it is because they live longer and they don’t get sick as often, but think about things like body language, tone of voice, vocabulary. When you believe that things are going well, it is reflected in your posture, the words you say –- even the amount of eye contact you have with others. And, because people tend to reflect what they get, your optimistic outlook ‘rubs off’ on them. When you believe in yourself, others believe in you too.

So, what can we do to increase our optimism? According to the pros at the Mayo Clinic, it’s important to pay attention to your self-talk. Do what you can to remain positive -– if you’re telling yourself, “I’ve never done this before”, remind yourself that you have an opportunity to learn something new. Give it a try, and expect a good outcome. Be willing to laugh at the situation -– or even at yourself. Surround yourself with positive people, and encourage others every day. Fuel your body with beautiful, healthy foods and clean water, and energize your outlook with exercise. With a little practice and a little time, you really can become more optimistic.

Listen to that self-talk this week. What are you telling yourself? How willing are you to step out from your comfort zone and try new things? Are you cheering yourself on, or talking yourself out of success before you even get started? Think about what you can do to increase optimism in your life. Spread enthusiasm, get lots of fresh air and look forward to all the adventures that await you.