A weekly essay on better writing. With jokes. VIEW ONLINE | FORWARD
Mike Long | Writer, Speechwriter, and Speaker Logo
Get Mike's tips in your inbox. Subscribe today!
Share these tips!

Michael Long is a speaker, writer, and educator.

To discuss hiring Mike for your project, email him.


mikelongonline.com
mike@mikelongonline.com
@mikewrites

Share these tips!

How to Introduce Yourself
If You're Ever on a Gameshow

The brief or "shirttail" bio ought to sound professional. Here's how to make it that way.

This is one of my most popular weekly essays, so I'm sending it out one more time. ML

Consider the brief or "shirttail" biography: it should convey personality, professionalism, and fact in two to four lines of precise prose. But allow me to do some mind reading:  Rarely do you feel that the executive biographies you write sound as tight as the ones you admire.
 
Try this. Like much business writing, short bios can be executed against a ridiculously easy template. All it takes is a moment of research and the ability to follow directions.
 
The key to pro-sounding bio? State the facts and stop.
  



These examples make the template obvious:
 
Tony Stark is the president and CEO of Stark Industries. In this capacity he plans long- and short-term strategy for the company, directs research, and makes corporate decisions on behalf of over 10,000 employees worldwide.
 
* * *
 
Borat Sagdiyev is chief correspondent for the Kazakhstan Television Network. He reports from around the world on political and policy matters as they affect the Kazakh people, with special emphasis on the “cultural learnings” of America.
 
* * *
 
Vernon Wormer is dean of Faber College. As the administrative and academic leader of the institution, Dean Wormer guides the intellectual and cultural direction of Faber, and works with faculty and staff to maintain a welcoming and diverse environment for all.
 
How about that? By writing in this way, even silly characters obtain seriousness. Here is the key: as long as you get the facts right, making the bio sound professional is a matter of sticking to simple, direct language.
 
Here's the template:
  • NAME is TITLE. That’s the first line. Don’t do any more than that, and don’t do any less. Examples:  Jimmy Fallon is the host of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on NBC. Charles Martin is chief accountant for The Wellspring Group. Emily Cadillo is the chief information officer for Pallomar, Inc. Don’t open with a quote or a recounting of achievement or a gripping narrative of your subject’s vision for life, liberty, and the pursuit of whatever she is pursuing. Just go with NAME is TITLE. That’s it.
  • The second sentence (and third, if necessary) describes the current responsibilities of the subject. But note what that follow-up sentence does not include:  Education. Honors. Certifications. Boasts. Quotes. Admiring comments from colleagues and admirers. A sweet thought from mom. In a longer bio, those things are not only valuable, they’re necessary, but we’re not writing a full bio. This is a short paragraph for others to get the picture fast.



Two or three sentences:  NAME is TITLE, followed by responsibilities. Are there other ways to do it? Sure. But this one is foolproof. Stick to the template and you’ll be fine.

Click here to share this newsletter.

Hire me to teach, speak, or write. I'm at Mike@MikeLongOnline.com.

 

© 2021 Mike Long. All rights reserved.
Burke, VA  22015
You're getting this email because you opted in online. If you don't want to get it anymore, just click on the unsubscribe link and you're outa here!