By Sean Buvala
All public speakers eventually get asked to write “a bio for the program.”
With more than 100,000 searches per month for the phrase “how to write an about me,” there is no doubt that people are struggling with how to best describe themselves event bios, “about the author” segments or for any project. You are not alone if you are feeling challenged as to how to write a bio.
I think there are two strong issues with this process:
- First, unless we’re overcome with narcissism, we tend to not want to brag about ourselves, afraid to appear to be fixated on our own greatness.
- Conversely, we might think we are just too boring, wondering if we have anything at all of interest to our audience.
The solution to these two challenges is to focus on the audience who will experience your bio when you are planning to write your bio blurb. Write a new bio for each audience.
Here are a few of my suggestions:
- Think about the focus of your audience rather than your own ego. What do they really need to know about you? In other words, go beyond sharing just what makes you feel good about yourself. What does your audience truly need? What facts, history, events, and talents can you offer that will help your audience connect with you? You want your readers to understand what you can do to help them achieve their goals and needs rather than just inspiring them to applaud for your wonderfulness.
- Take the time to reflect on your past and present history. While you may be up against a deadline, an authentic biography is only created when you spend the time to do it right.
- Consult with your friends, family, and coworkers, asking them to help you remember parts of your history you may have glossed over. Asking questions such as, “What words would you use to describe me?” can create opportunities for them to comment on your qualities and background. You might be surprised by the good memories that will surface from this type of question.
- Consider the About Me you are creating as a way for you to share your personal story. Readers will be much more interested in your online bio if you draw them in with the elements of stories or anecdotes. No one wants to read your grocery-list of life experiences, but a good story-infused bio invites them to learn more. You can apply oral storytelling techniques to your written biography.
There’s no need to be lost or hesitant to write your own biography. The process can be fun and, while not trying to create some type of therapy, you might discover new things about yourself and your story. Enjoy the process as well as the results as you focus on the audience and their needs.
ABOUT OUT GUEST BLOGGER
Sean Buvala has been engaged in the oral storytelling tradition since 1986 as a performer, speaker, and author. He started his work by accidentally using active storytelling to convert a classroom of slightly (but comically) homicidal 8th-grade teenagers from angry kids to storytelling practitioners themselves. He’s also the publisher at “The Small-Tooth-Dog Publishing Group” in Arizona and he’d be happy to talk to you about your next book. Learn more at smalltoothdog.com/authoreducation.