Speaker bio…Speaker biography…Speaker one-sheet…Speaker Press Kit…Speaker Introduction…
You are a professional trying to get your message out there, share your expertise, build your business, grow your organization, create a legacy…
What are all of these terms?
I’ve noticed some individuals use these synonymously…granted speaker bio and speaker biography are the same, each of these items are different and serve different purposes. Today we are reviewing the speaker biography.
What is a Speaker biography?
When we are talking Speaker Biography or speaker bio, we are not talking about speaker one-sheets, speaker press kit, or speaker introduction…. Many organizations require that you submit a short bio when you submit your topic for consideration for conferences. You don’t see this requirement as often if you speak to local community groups.
The speaker bio is typically used in the programs at conferences, they may be used on the organization’s website when promoting the event, or it could go out in any promotional material.
A speaker biography is a brief summary of your education, work history and experience that is relevant to your speaking topic (the focus is on brief and relevant).
The organization requesting your speaker’s bio may specify a format and length. These are some speaker bio guidelines that I have found useful:
- Keep your speaker biography brief—no more than 75 to 100 words. Biographies that are too long simply don’t get read. Or worse, the organization may summarize your bio in a way that you don’t like. (FYI – I’ve had to significantly cut long speaker bios for publicity materials when coordinating event. Keep it short and relevant!)
- Include your current position and a brief mention of work history and experience that is relevant to your speaking topic and audience
- Include academic qualifications, awards, and a reference to published work, but only if applicable to the material you are presenting.
Here is an example of one that I used when coaching the 2014 Breckenridge Startup Weekend event in Colorado. (Image links to the website.)
Here is an example of one that I edited down for Hilary Blair of ARTiculate Real & Clear for her presentation “Does your voice portray or betray you?” that she did in 2012 for Summit Toastmasters. This was used on a half page promotional flier in which the event details and presentation title needed space.
These examples are on the serious side, but I have seen some professional speakers have fun with their speaker bio’s. I personally enjoy the ones with a sense of playfulness as long as I get a feel for WHY they are relevant.
Professional Speaker Biography Recommendations…
One thing that I recommend is…create a master Speaker Biography that you keep up to date.
- This speeds up the process of submitting it to groups for the promotional materials and online submissions.
- You can modify the master so that it fits the theme that you are doing for the group more quickly. (What I mean by this is many professional speakers have a main presentation that they may modify a little bit to the group that they are speaking to to fit the theme.)
Another recommendation…ALWAYS provide your Speaker Biography to a group along with a brief overview of your program and what their group will learn or benefits they will take away.
- You want to be professional, make things easy for the meeting or event organizer. (This may be a volunteer position or not their normal job.)
- These materials help them promote to their organization and get butts in seats. (This is important to ALL organizations. They want to provide VALUE to their membership, clients, employees.) The more butts in seats, the more people you get to spread your message to. (Win-Win)
Let’s leave you with one last thought about the Speaker Biography…
Yes, you want to represent yourself in the best possible light to share your expertise. Also look at the Speaker Biography from the perspective of the group inviting you to come speak. Their time, just like yours is precious. They want to provide as much value to their people as they can. Your Speaker Biography is a piece of the pie to provide value to the group AND make the individual who chose you look like they did a good job.
This article has been updated from the original posted by Yvonne Bryant How to Prepare a Speaker Bio