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 been in a wobbly situation where your confidence was down – join the club! I can bet that we’ve all been there in our professional and personal lives. The trick is to reframe the brain and cancel all the negative chit chat that’s ‘not paying rent’ in your head!

One thing I love to talk about in all of my coaching programs is breaking the terror barrier and building confidence – as well as enhancing charisma. It’s easier to be charismatic and magnetic when you’re feeling on top of your ‘A-Game’– and, it’s especially important as you project your best self in PR, marketing and social media. Confidence is a mindset!

Here are some confidence building exercises I’d love to share with you:

7 Tips to Feel More Confident

  • Begin with a pep talk every day. Make one up according to where you need to go, who you need to see, how you need to feel.

  • Say hello to at least 5 strangers and have a short conversation. It’s a great way to meet new people and especially helpful if you want to widen your circle or build up the courage to date.

  • If you like jokes, practice telling a joke! And, get good at it. Pick three favorites and change them up. You’ll never know when you need one to break the ice!

  • Challenge yourself in some new way. You don’t have to learn Chinese overnight, right? Think about a new hobby. Join a meetup to expand your interests, Every journey begins with one step.

  • Give yourself lots of chances. Throw a party! There are so many adjacent possibilities to trying something new. Just like marketing and PR, you don’t put one media pitch out there, you have a MIX. It’s the same way in building confidence.

  • Move the chi – it’s your life force energy! Meditate or do some yoga. Try acupuncture to feel more balanced. Feeling calm helps you feel more confident.

  • Review your progress. How are you feeling on a day by day basis? What are you accomplishing in your career or in other parts of your life? Make note of your accomplishments and take a look at the week’s end. See how small changes in your attitude, change you!

Your Turn

What exercises make you more confident?

How do you change the stories in your head, so you can be more confident in the heat of the moment?

Do you have a ‘persona’ on stage – if you need a boost of confidence – or when you’re ready to speak? (Mine is Rockin’ Robin)

Believe me, confidence is a game changer. And we wouldn’t have courage, without fear.

I’ve come to realize that people are afraid to be themselves for fear of rejection, ridicule, shame, loss, and not being liked. I’ve been there, done that as a teenager and as a young adult. I’m sure that if you looked back at your own life, you may have had the same fears.

Fast forward to now.

The reason I love helping entrepreneurs, experts and professionals be true to themselves in marketing and PR — to gain more visibility and business — is because taking the time to listen to who you are is quite beautiful, and in fact, sexy.

  1. You are the real deal, the big kahuna.  Those that should be attracted to you (in business and in life) will be, for the right reason. Clients, prospects, partners and friends. They’ll like you, love you and sometimes leave you. Hint: it’s always about them, not you.
  2. It’s exhausting to be someone you’re not and try to remember who you’re supposed to be. If you’re an actor, you’ll find this easy to do. If you’ve chosen other work as an entrepreneur, business owner, expert or professional, it may be more difficult. You don’t have to read a script to know who you are.
  3. You’re living life according to your true core values. You are who you are and without a manufactured ‘front’ you’re quite appealing aka sexy. If you know anything about energy, there’s a sparkle to those that are true to themselves.  Some call it certainty, knowingness or being grounded. Certainty is confidence in my book, and that’s sexy. Passion is a plus!
  4. We’re taught to be perfect in everything we do, and in doing so, we often pretend.  When we truly relax in our head and bodies, our fight or flight responses shut down. When we’re able to stop pretending, and just be, it’s very inviting and welcoming. Yes, it’s being vulnerable, but that’s sexy too.
  5. Learn the art of not caring what others think. It takes some practice, but it’s actually quite invigorating and often a huge burden off your shoulders. Do the best you can, and call it a day. We’re humans. We make mistakes, say stupid things and do brilliant work, not all at the same time. There’s a certain charisma when you’re comfortable with yourself. Almost automatically, confidence and charisma knock at the door.

Being sexy is a mindset. Authenticity is a choice. Blend both together and you’ve got some big time attraction going on.

 

RSI TURN RAINIf it’s rained on your parade recently on some of your projects that were earmarked for success, it’s only natural to become dampened by the drizzle of what could have gone right, but just didn’t.

I’ve found through stormy times, that one of the secrets of success is turning a negative into a positive by an honest assessment of the situation, facing fears straight on, forging ahead and expecting good things to happen. The Art of Expecting in business, PR, marketing in Boston and all over the world for that matter, combines attitude, tuning and timing. Personal alchemy is optional.

Here are 3 Ways to Turn Rain into Rainmaking

1) Attitude: In life, love and business, the truth is: it is what it is. We can fool everyone but ourselves. The darkest days turn into the brightest tomorrows with a change of attitude, heart and mindset. When we change our attitudes, our results will be different. Don’t believe me? Try it out for yourself. You’ll have more success when you think you’ll make a sale, then if you don’t. And, your energy will show it. Give good aura.

2) Tuning: In and Out. What we allow in our heads has the most profound impact on what will be. Each one of us can tell a story of that in the making. A new client of mine believed his way to health from near death with scleroderma. He’s not only an inspiration to those who face adversity, but a poster child of belief. He tuned in to health, and tuned out the sickness. Magic, no. Magic Mindset, yes. Grateful, absolutely.

3) Timing: Time is a concept we create. Fast, slow, here, now, next year. What matters most is now. Or, as a friend of mine tells me, ‘now and 5 minutes from now’. If you could, what would you do now to tame the rain, and turn it into rainmaking? Regroup? Apologize? Reposition? Look at what’s best for your customer, not just you?

Seneca tells us that ‘luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity’. Perhaps rainmaking happens when you take that luck and ride the wave of desire.

YOUR TURN

What do you believe are the 3 key components of a successful rainmaker?

Is rainmaking, like charisma, a gift or a learned skill? If it’s a skill, how do you learn it?

How does the attitude of a rainmaker differ from that of a salesperson? What makes their dance so special?

Traveling across the country as a consultant, mentor, student and friend, has taught me to be a great observer and naturally notice fellow business warriors (or angels) who have a certain air about them — call it their personal brand or executive presence. You might think first class travelers always have it — but that’s not necessarily so. It’s a confident aura or energy that can be spotted across a crowded room.

Studies show that executive presence plays a key role in career advancement – how you present yourself to the world that you’re leadership material. Typically it’s based on how you look, how you speak, and how you behave.

Want to know if you’ve got it?

Here are 7 Signs of Executive Presence:

  • Look attractive, but not sexy. Sexy is a feeling and attitude. Save sexy for after work, and out of your business inner circle.
  • Learn the rules of engagement. Speak with intention, make your messages brief and to the point. Pay attention in meetings– texting and checking emails is often disrespectful.
  • Develop grace under fire. Stay calm and be less reactive. Be honest with yourself. What pushes your buttons?
  • Be able to size up a room, quickly. Who are the people you need to meet and connect with?
  • How’s your Emotional IQ? Are you sensitive to what others need? Do you take time to listen, really listen those you interact with, in business and in the community?
  • Are you a visionary? A leader needs to see a bigger picture, and have a plan so others will follow.
  • Does your reputation help you, or hinder your personal brand. Everything you and others see or hear about you — reflects your reputation. You’ve just got one, so protect it.

Of course, being a tad sophisticated, confident, polished and having a sense of humor would also be included in the bucket of ‘executive presence’. Add to that being authentic, having charisma and being physically fit — not ripped, just healthy.

Like sexiness, executive presence is an attitude. A way that you hold and respect yourself.

You’ve worked so hard to get where you are. Flaunt it, in your own special way.

As a veteran marketer and PR consultant, I’m always looking for fun ways to help my clients grasp the essence of marketing, and how it “fits” into their business. And this latest example comes courtesy of my single friends who are out there on the dating scene.

Indeed, have you ever noticed how much marketing is like dating? From creating a “wish list” for Mr. or Miss Right, to practicing the essential (and increasingly rare) art of active listening, marketing and dating are two time-honored activities that share some uncanny similarities. Here are 5 that make the case:

Similarity #1: They Both Aim for Ideals

Daters play a risky (and sometimes scary) guessing game if they head out the door without a solid of idea of the type of person they’re hoping to find. That’s not to say they shouldn’t be open minded and open to “luck lending a hand.” But without an ideal in mind, who knows where they’ll end up – or with whom?

As a business leader, you need to define your ideal client, too. Are they a solo practitioner, or a Fortune 500 brand? What’s their specialty or niche market? If you weren’t getting paid, who would you want to help and how could you best serve them? Often, your ideal target market is “hidden right in front of you.”

I’m a believer that we have the power to manifest things in our lives if we’re clear about what we want. Take a pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and write out the qualities you want in your ideal client. This is a discovery process, and the more time you spend identifying your ideal client, the clearer you will be. And remember: you also may find it necessary to tweak your ideal client profile – and your own beliefs — so that you get paid what you’re worth. Start small, expand your influence and work your crowd.

Similarity #2: They Both Fish Where the Fish Are

Wise daters know that they have a better chance of finding their soul mate if they sign-up for classes or attend events. They’re simply more likely to find like-minded people who share a common interest. Essentially, they fish where the fish are – and not near the lily pads.

As a business leader, attending industry meetings or networking sessions is an easy way to mingle and connect with your niche market. Aim for conferences where you’ll find your ideal client. Make it a point to share your opinions at workshops and breakout sessions. Introduce yourself to key players and ask thoughtful questions at Q + A sessions. Work the room, and by all means, stand out in the crowd as a person of confidence and charisma. And while it’s great to make a big splash, don’t be disheartened if you need to start small. Big wigs weren’t born that way. They worked their way up, and the same will be true for you.

Similarity #3: They Both Plant Seeds

Daters let family, friends, co-workers and colleagues know that they’re interested in meeting someone. After all, everyone knows someone who would like to be in a committed and loving relationship.

As a business leader, you also want to leverage your network so that you can connect with your ideal clients. Now, keep in mind: there’s a right way to ask for an introduction (in person or virtually), and a wrong way. The right way is to be respectful of the fact that most business contacts are protective of their network, which is a valuable asset that they’ve developed and cultivated for years. So don’t be pushy or aggressive. Instead, work on building trust and identifying common ground. Building relationships is the key to growing a business. Start by knowing how to plant seeds in places where they’ll grow and flourish.

Similarity #4: They Both Depend on Attitude

Folks on the dating scene realize that they need to have the right attitude, which is one that’s positive, uplifting and energizing – and, of course, realistic. People can spot a happy person OR an angry person a mile away.

As a business leader, you need to have the same mindset. Even when the chips are down, and you’re feeling at the bottom of the barrel, you’ve got to let the world know that you have it together. Since you are your brand, in both your personal and business worlds, it’s important to look and act successful so you’ll inspire success in others. Truly believe in your greatness, and others will believe it too. There’s an energetic aura around you, so use that to let the world know who you are in a very big way, and how you’ll help solve their problems.

Similarity #5: They Both Need to Ask Questions and Listen

Dating superstars understand that people love talking about themselves, and so they ask questions about interests, work, family background, and so on. This not only sparks meaningful conversation, but it’s a great way to gauge interest and compatibility early on.

As a business leader, you need to think about what’s “in it” for your client – not you. If your clients are happy and you solve their problems, they’ll continue to be your clients. And the only way you can position yourself as a trusted partner is to ask meaningful questions, and actively listen to what’s being said – and what isn’t being said. Keep digging until you find your client’s true needs and wants. You’ll not only glean invaluable data, but you’ll impress your clients since, well, who doesn’t love talking about themselves to an attentive, thoughtful listener?

A Final Piece of Advice

We all know that love takes time. That’s not to say that an instant connection isn’t possible — it is. But usually, it’s more of a marathon than a sprint to really get to know someone and ensure that the attraction is more than superficial or “skin deep.”

As a business leader, keeping this timeframe in mind will serve you well. Is it possible to land a six figure account with one email or phone call? Since I’m an eternal optimist, I’d say yes – just don’t bet on it. Instead, lay the foundation to a solid business relationship as you would a friendship. Be there for your clients through the good times, as well as the bad times.

By doing that, your rewards won’t just be measured in sales and profits. You’ll also evolve and develop as more helpful and – believe it or not – loving and loveable person.

One night, quite late, I visited my local Border’s bookstore.  I was looking for reference material on Confidence and Charisma for an upcoming tele-class.  Most of my lesson was thought through, but being a book junkie,  I wanted more scientific data. After all, is it true that confidence and charisma can be part of your DNA?  My listeners would want to know!

Lucky for me, I had the help of a wonderful Store Manager, Dan, who spent the last 15 minutes of his shift concentrating on my project – in fact, right up to the 10:00PM closing hour. For a slow Monday night, I probably raised his store’s GNP. I purchased four books, all business related, and promised to read every one of them in the next coming month.

While I was checking out, I introduced myself to Dan and told him who I was, what I was doing, and asked if there were ever opportunities for speaking engagements at Borders.

I followed up, about six weeks later in person, and again by phone. Then, by a proposal, bio, and photo – an electronic press kit of sorts.

Next month, on May 17th I have a speaking gig at Borders.  And, it will be customized to Border’s request, but also based on my expertise.

I’ll have six weeks of free publicity and promotion from Borders, and my team will be supporting me — preparing press releases, Facebook postings, and Tweeting about my talk.

One late night visit to a book store.

One opportunity to, “just ask”.

What are you asking for?

Thanks to The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur Blog for featuring my post (#132) in their listing of The Biggest Tips Every Entrepreneur Needs To Know

What’s the #1 tip every entrepreneur needs? It’s not a MBA, it’s not an international ad agency,it’s not a Facebook Fan page with 5,000 followers.

It’s You — Being You, in a big way.

Forget about what other people think. It’s not a popularity contest, it’s your BUSINESS–and,you need to SHINE!

Put your photo and branding out there. Make a splash. Shine your bright light. BE your business and show the world your charisma.

Pretty much, you’ll be unstoppable.