Creative Leadership

The Longer The Speaker Biography, The Less Experienced The Speaker

Let me know if you’ve seen this rule in action: Novice or less-experienced conference speakers have the longest bios in the program. I was guilty of this for years because I was desperate to make people think I was worthy of speaking at the event. I wanted to impress people. (I admit it.) But I started noticing major speakers have the shortest biography in the program. Why? 

They don’t need to impress anyone.  If they’ve written books, or consulted for years, or have a track record, they don’t need to show off in their speaker bio. And while you’re at it, have a little fun. Here’s the bio for Jonathan Bock, founder and CEO of motion picture marketing and public relations firm Grace Hill Media:

Jonathan Bock is the founder and president of Grace Hill Media. Mr. Bock began his career in publicity at Warner Bros. Prior to that, he was a sitcom writer, widely regarded throughout the industry as “not very good.” Mr. Bock serves on the board of Reel Spirituality at Fuller Theological Seminary and is a deacon at Bel Air Presbyterian Church. Father of two beautiful daughters, he’s married to his first wife, Kelly. He also, with a few warm-up frames, can consistently bowl in the low nineties.

It tells you who he is, what he does, and that he doesn’t take himself too seriously. You can have a longer bio on your website or resume, but when it comes to speaking events, conferences, or seminars, don’t bore the audience with the details, or give them your life story.

A great speaker biography is a teaser. It’s not meant to impress the audience, it’s meant to make them want to hear more.

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