As a marketing speaker and marketing coach, my clients often ask me to critique their Professional Bio.
Whether YOU are a professional speaker, consultant, coach, author, or professional services firm owner - your Bio is one of your most powerful marketing tools that will make or break your future clients' perception of your expertise.
Writing an effective, attractive and client-magnet bio is hard.
Here's what you must NOT do:
- Be boring
- List achievements and awards out of context
- Come across as a corporate stuffed shirt or pompous twit
- Trot out a bunch of acronyms, jargon and consultant-speak
- Tell us about your awesome vacations, Harley collection, adorable kids, and scuba diving prowess
Without further ado, let me present a Professional Bio I recently came across from a consultant with the Tom Peters Company in the UK that I found quite impressive and that you might consider modeling into your own. My comments are numbered and explained below:
=====Like you,(1) leadership expert and business author(2) Robert Thompson has seen the word leadership defined numerous ways over the years. Is it charisma and positive thinking? Pinstripes and red power ties? Decisiveness? Is it all about the situation? Is it meant only for the chosen few who rise to the top? Or, is there a different story?(3)
With over three decades of executive coaching, speaking, and most importantly, real-life, in-the-trenches business experience, his view is radically different.(4) Robert appreciates, and shares with listeners, that leadership is a moment-to-moment choice and not about title, tenure or position. Leadership is for everyone, everyday. It's how we should live our life.(5)
Robert, sometimes referred to as the “Provocateur” for his ability to stir up a group(6) or as the “People Whisperer” for his coaching skill that brings out the best in people, is known for his practical, street-savvy style; Robert's fusion of real-life stories and his conversational techniques connect with his audience at an intimate, intense and individual level.(7)
Robert has served as a senior consultant with the U.S. based Tom Peters Company for several years. He is a Certified Master Facilitator of the The Leadership Challenge Workshop™, and continues to work with the best and brightest in the leadership development field. (8)The author of the best selling, The Offsite: A Leadership Challenge Fable, Thompson's penetrating conversations have been shared with folks from around the globe. (9)
His successes include: AT&T, Amgen, Hewlett-Packard, Johnson & Johnson, Lockheed Martin, Qwest, Sony, Sun Microsystems, The Cheesecake Factory, The Gap, Visa and numerous U.S. city, state and federal agencies to name a few.(10)
Prior to his leadership efforts, Robert, a journalist by education and passion, created, managed, and sold a successful U.S. regional newspaper publishing company and a national advertising sales company. As the founder of a corporate nonprofit exchange program for aspiring post-communist business professionals, Robert attained a key role in the Clinton-Yeltsin “Business for Russia” initiative.(11) He has served on the board of advisors for a successful Internet start-up company and assisted the group through their initial public offering
1. The most powerful word in marketing is YOU. Starting the bio with "Like you..." is flat-out brilliant.
2. Label yourself immediately. Prospects need to know your expertise upfront and you get 2 seconds to position yourself. Put "_______ expert" in the first 10 words of your bio.
3. Using engaging questions in your bio is something you've probably never considered - and it WORKS. People judge you MORE on the questions that you ask rather than the statements you make. Add questions to your bio - it's a kickass idea!
4. Buyers are lazy, busy and befuddled. One way to make yourself come across as "different" is simply to claim it! "His view is radically different" works. I also recommend the phrase "Unlike many consultants/ speakers/ fill-in-the blank..." (Ex: "Unlike many marketing coaches, David Newman shows you exactly what to say and how to say it, what to do and how to do it")
5. Philosophy sound bites that serve as a preview of your thinking. Consider these "bullets without the bullets." They share snippets of what you'll share and implement with your future client in a conversational way.
6. Always promote your benefits, not yourself. I'm not crazy about these unattributed third-party references ("known as the Provacateur") but the saving grace is that they are framed in terms of benefit to the audience/client. This could be stronger if it said "The Financial Times called him 'the CEO's secret weapon'"
7. Love the fusion concept. It says subconsciously to your buyer - "hire this guy and you'll get the best of both worlds." It's also an implied differentiator. What are you a fusion of? And the masterstroke is that the fusion is also framed as a benefit to the audience.
8. He works with the "best and brightest" so YOU, Ms. Prospect, must be pretty sharp if you hire him. This implied compliment gets buyers to WANT to qualify to work with you. Nothing like a little ego boost for your reader as they cruise through your bio. This signals - again subconsciously - "I'm making a good decision."
9. Claim authorship. Calling his talks "conversations" is also a brilliant differentiator.
10. Name names. Client names are powerful. I do NOT like "His successes include" simply because it sounds like he's taking credit for the success of giant global corporations. A better turn of phrase might have been "Companies such as X, Y, and Z have partnered with Robert when they want outcome 1, 2 and 3." This might also be a great place to put in some testimonial snippets from execs inside these specific companies. Their words carry a lot more weight than his.
11. List your accomplishments in the REAL world. Speakers and experts are not hired for what they know so much as they are hired for what they've DONE. Connect who you are to what you do and your credibility skyrockets.
12. Creme de la creme. Board service and being seen as a leader among your peers implies that you are respected within your field and thus, you must be among the best at what you do.
Use these guidelines to turbo-charge YOUR professional bio right now and you'll thank me later -- DO IT!
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