Over the years, I have hired speakers to inspire, to motivate, to inform, and to educate audiences. While I work with a speaker agency to help me with the initial legwork—finding me options that meet my budget and event goals—a key component of my search is the speaker’s biography.
Your bio is an important marketing tool: it tells me who you are, your qualifications, and what topics you speak about.
I won’t tell you how to write a better bio—a quick online search can reveal a wealth of information about making yours more effective and engaging: keep it short, relevant, and up-to-date, include your qualifications, and make it interesting.
However, there are a few things you can do to maximize the usefulness of your bio.
1. Create a long-form version.
The online sources are right—events teams do need a short version of your bio (see point 2, below.) But as the person hiring you, I need your full biography—the one that includes all your qualifications, the list of books you’ve authored, the topic(s) you speak about and your current media activities—so I know why and how you fit into our agenda. It will also help me articulate to the client and steering committee why you are my recommended presenter.
2. Create a short promotional version of your bio.
Once we hire you, the project team needs a concise version of your bio, something we can use in promotions and the published agenda, and to introduce you at the event. If you provide this, you not only save us time and effort, you ensure that your brand is consistently represented in everything we publish about you in the course of promoting our event.
3. Tell me what you will speak about.
So often, speaker bios only provide the name of their last book or a list of high-level topic titles, rather than a short description. The name of a workshop—say, Selling widgets across generations—doesn’t provide enough detail. Instead, try to be more descriptive: “In this fast-paced workshop, Bob takes a quick look at the buying habits of the different generations before delving into specific sales techniques for each generation. You’ll leave with a number of tools you can apply immediately to build stronger client relationships—and to help you become your clients’ trusted widget advisor. ”
Which brings me to my final wish…
4. Tell me what my audience will take away.
I craft my agendas with care to meet the strategic needs of the event, the client, and the business. My goals are to deliver value to attendees, to strengthen their connection to the hosting business, and to further the objectives of the organization. How will your session add to the attendee experience or help my client meet their objectives? If you consider the example above, the description tells me that attendees will learn relationship management tools that will ultimately help my client sell more widgets.
A well-written biography is one of your greatest marketing tools. It should communicate who you are, what messages you can deliver, and what an audience will take from your session. And, it should generate excitement, making it easy for a project team to “sell” you and your session.