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.

A recent client asked for a promotional strategy to promote her event and though it varies by industry, target audience and personal preference, I found certain similarities and tasks that needed to be completed.  I thought I would share some of them with you as an overview of what you’ll want to think about. Keep in mind that this is a sampling for a local event, not an entire plan of social media, onsite event strategy and presentation preparation.

Sample PR Checklist for Your Upcoming Event  

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Now, the bigger the event the more promotion you’ll need to fill the room. There’ll be website promotion, Twitter mention and strategy as well as being part of a social media support group who will co-promote on your behalf.  There are also Facebook posting opportunities on your personal and business page and the possibility to boost content where it counts the most.

LinkedIn promotion may also be considered if appropriate on your own page as well as in groups you belong to. You can also ask for plugs from clients and event organizers, and distribute flyers at networking groups and speaking gigs.  Heck, even friends of friends in your inner circle will say a good word if you ask them to help out.

No matter what promotional tactics you use, never underestimate the power of picking up the phone. Many would rather die than call. I’d rather call than die.  Make 50 calls a day and you can get used to anything.

I’ve got 10 pages of ideas that I could share with you, but it would get too detailed and I want you to feel inspired, not bogged down with a giant PR and marketing plan and to-do list. There’s a wheel house of strategies that can be used over and over again. Some will work, others will fail miserably. But, you have to try.

Holding an event is an investment in showcasing your expertise and building your business. Be sure you have enough help to promote your event online and offline, before the event, during the event and post event. And even though the event ends, you’ll still be promoting the content in one way or another, your next workshop, upcoming speaking gig, new products and services – and the list goes on.

Be it free or paid, creating and hosting an event takes courage and promoting it to the right audience, who likes, knows and trusts you – as well as finds value in what you teach, makes all the difference in the world.

The first step in planning an event is making the decision to have an event. The step isn’t really a step though. It’s a quantum leap in promoting who you are and the courage to speak your truth.

Teach to reach!

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.

When I was little, my Mom told me never to talk to strangers. I knew she had her reasons, and being the good doobie that I was, I didn’t talk to many of them — until I got older and realized, that I liked talking to strangers. Why? I never knew what to expect, and I liked meeting new people and listening to different ideas.

In my tweens, I learned how to harness the power of interaction and looked for opportunities to connect with others. My Dad owned a recording studio, and I worked there part-time, as a receptionist. I met actors, musicians, writers, producers, entertainers, sports figures, and teams of people that worked behind the scenes. Life, from my perspective, seemed full of drama. I watched, listened, and learned. I still remember the buzz.

Probably no surprise that I majored in Communications, and eventually loved talking to strangers. What did they do? Where did they work? What made them tick? How could they be so talented, or not – and succeed? Talking to people you don’t know, for years on end, can give you the ability to laser focus at a glance, and develop confidence to talk to anyone, at any time. Heck, talking to strangers can even lead to meeting new friends, colleagues, potential roommates, husbands, wives, even prospective clients!

This past month, I met two entrepreneurs at Staples and both will work with me. Had I not chatted it up at the Copy Center, I might have not met these wonderfully talented individuals with so much “intellectual property” in their vault. My guess is they’ll be earning interest very soon from an eager community who want to learn from them. And, they too, will most likely be strangers.

If you have an inner circle of colleagues and friends, you know who they are. Clearly, they aren’t strangers. But, the other five billion plus people who live on our planet are.

Who would you like to meet, talk to, and share insights with? Who would you like to work with, write for, or ask to dance?

In all likelihood, it could be a stranger today.

Tomorrow? You tell me.