Feeling stuck on the bio for your “About Me” page? Worried that you don’t have ten TV appearances and seven advanced degrees to showcase? Feeling pressured to have lots of pizazz? Or egotistical because you’re talking about yourself?
This all gets easier when you write in service to your audience.
How do you do that? Offer them a story that they can relate to, a thread that mirrors their own challenges, and shows them they can get through it with grace. You’re not going to squeeze every piece of experience you’ve ever had onto the page. Be willing to let some of your valuable experience go, when it’s not in service to your people.
Here are five (5) questions that will get you there.
Who is your audience?
This can be an easy question. It can stop you in your tracks. Let’s say you’re a speaker who targets middle management about leadership challenges.
What are the 3 biggest challenges your audience has?
This is key. What do your people think about all day long? If you’re the middle management speaker, your audience wrestles with being understood by their bosses, leading when they report to someone, managing people (they might be new at it), resolving conflict, and supporting their team without becoming their parent.
What has happened in your professional life that reflects similar challenges?
Your audience wants to see that you’ve been through something similar. With our middle management speaker, she was promoted from middle management to VP level at Target. The business was struggling with lackluster customer service at several of its stores (total hypothetical here)! There was lack of communication between the customer service reps and upper management, and this showed in how they acted toward customers. She was placed in charge of turning this around.
How did you resolve issues/challenges in ways that build your credibility?
So what’s the happy ending to your challenge narrative? Our speaker developed a process to effectively hire, train and manage the reps for an entire region. Upper management was thrilled with the results, and it helped that she figured out how to keep them in the loop throughout the rollout. The program was so successful, her process was adopted by Target corporate for the entire country and she was promoted. She clearly understands the intricacies of being in middle management. And that is her audience. Yes!
You can go with a couple more stories like this, or just share a longer story that shows you understand a challenge similar to theirs and how you solved it. They’ll be wondering what your secret sauce is, and that’s what will get them to hire you.
What other training, education, background would show them you can support their challenges?
Well, you’ve done it. You’ve built some rapport. Now, bring in related experience and training for a slam dunk. Our middle management speaker went through an MBA program specializing in management and customer service. She completed a conflict resolution course, business leadership training, and even managed a bunch of volunteers at her local United Way for years. She really gets the pain and rewards of managing people.
When you are finished answering all these questions, you might notice that you haven’t included some qualifications that you think are valuable. It’s OK to leave them out. You’re starting a conversation here. Once you’re in contact, you will get to know each other better, and you can pleasantly surprise them with deeper experience, if it’s relevant. The bigger danger is that you overwhelm them with credentials. There’s no need. Speak to them with full regard to what matters to them.
Take all this and write a bio that is in total service of your audience. Ready? Set? Go!
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