In the last 12 months, I’ve had some amazing opportunities. I’ve been lucky enough to be invited to be a keynote speaker, featured on a podcast and on a panel, and invited to share my experience to inspire young women starting their careers. With each of those opportunities came a request – “Can you please send over a bio?”
Simple enough. I do have a standard bio. But I like to tailor it to make it relevant to the type of event or request. And that’s the bit that makes me nervous, because there’s a fine line between highlighting your work, achievements and accomplishments in a particular space and coming across as a braggart. It’s even harder for me as I’m from a culture that values modesty and humility. I can’t tell you how many times growing up I’ve heard “Self praise is no praise at all” or “God shows favour to the humble”. As a a result, for me, it can feel a little bit uncomfortable writing about myself. I worry about being over the top, but I also worry (especially when there are other people involved) that what I have written won’t compare to what others involved in the same event submit and my bio will be underwhelming as a result.
I quickly had to come up with a strategy to get my bios tailored quickly and efficiently without any angst. I’d like to share the highlights of this and my top tips with you.
Tip 1: Get Started Early
In initial discussions or at the point of invitation, ask the person presenting the opportunity what made them think of you for the event. These are the things you should focus on and mention in your bio.
Tip 2: Ask For Guidelines
When the request for a bio comes in don’t be afraid to reply and ask the person who issued the invite what they’re looking for and for specifics around expected length and level of detail.
Tip 3: Do Some Research
I’ve found that in many cases information for the prior year event is still available online, including bios which makes for a great reference and starting point. By the way, if this is not readily available, you can also ask the organiser.
Tip 4: Set A Time Box
You know how when you look at something or work on something for too long things start sounding wrong? That’s stress and overwhelm. So, armed with all your resources set yourself a short manageable time box to work on the bio. I usually set a timer for 15 mins, take a break and then come back for another 15 mins if I need it.
Tip 5: Get A Fresh Perspective
My last step is to have someone I trust to give me honest feedback, look my bio over and flag anything that might sound braggy or over the top for edits.
Tip 6: Show Willingness To Review
When I send the bio off to the organiser, I always make sure to say “Please let me know if there’s anything I missed or if this wasn’t what you were expecting – as I am happy to make edits”.
I’d love to hear any tips either from those who have to work on it, like I do – or those who have mastered the art.
Hey there 🙂
I have to do my bio this week and this was really helpful to get me started. Feeling really stuck at the moment. Keep up the good work– and hope you and the little twinnies all take care of yourselves during the coronavirus scare!
I could have written the start of this myself. I hear you so much about cultural upbringing and modesty. Those are the voices that always get in the way whenever I have to promote or talk about myself or write a bio. Overcoming it is something that I continue to work on and I think I’ll be working on it for the rest of my life because it’s really difficult to overcome things ingrained from childhood.
Came across this by accident and out of desperation as am writing my first bio as a speaker for an event. It helped. Thanks.
I really struggle with bios myself so this was really useful and helpful. Thanks much.