Have you ever been asked to provide a bio for work, a community event, or a club you are part of?
A good bio should keep the audience engaged, a task that can be challenging because a bio is primarily a list of accomplishments, and — let’s face it — most people aren’t as interested in reading a list of someone’s accomplishments as they are in, say, science fiction or mysteries! For this reason, it is important that your bio offer a smooth reading experience and contain information that the audience is most likely to resonate with. How do you do this? By following the suggestions below.
1. Avoid repetition, especially of your name. Because your bio is about you, it can be easy to repeat your name or pronouns. Of course, you will need to repeat your name and pronouns occasionally. To avoid doing it too much, you can do the following:
- Vary sentence structure, especially using subordinate clauses.
- Avoid starting your bio with your name. Your name will be printed directly above or beside your bio, so if you start with your name, you’re already repeating information. Instead, start with an attention-grabbing subordinate clause that gives some information about you. This will reel your audience in! Once your name is mentioned as the first word of the independent clause, your audience will already feel like they know a little bit about you and will be hooked – they’ll want to learn more. (Note – in some more traditional industries, such as finance and hard science, you may need to start with your name. As always, read the room. Artists, writers, and other creatives should almost always avoid starting a bio with their names.) Here’s an example – “With a love of writing and a passion for helping people fulfill their dreams, Miranda has been working as a career coach for more than 13 years.”
2. Summarize. It can be tempting to list every award you have won or degree you have received, but this can quickly begin to read like a “list” to the audience. Instead, it’s best to summarize your accomplishments and specifically name only the accomplishments, degrees, awards, etc. that are most important to the audience. For example, you might say that you’ve won “many community awards, including the prestigious donor of the year” instead of listing each award that you have won.
3. Use strong transition phrases. Good transition phrases are key to good writing in general, but they are even more important in a bio, which lacks chronology, symbolism, or any other vehicle for organization. Avoid transition phrases such as “first, second, third” and too much “also, another, etc.” Instead, use transitions that show how ideas relate to each other. For example, “In addition to watercolors, Samantha also expresses herself through photography and poetry.”
4. Play with your words! Because the goal is to keep attention, try to add a little humor or a “play on words” here and there.
5. Give it some character. Even if you’re writing a business bio, add a little bit of who you are. Humanizing is good, as it helps your reader connect with you. (Unless you are, in fact, an alien.)
Would you like some advice on writing a bio that stands out? Schedule a free call. I would be happy to discuss this with you!
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