Updated June 2023
Originally posted as part of a series for National Write A Business Plan Month.
Many just use standard bios when we're asked for one, giving the requester information they could just as easily (maybe even more easily) get from Linkedin. Sure. OK. Fine. But investing just a little time will yield a better bio. Here's how. Use this strategy whether you're writing you own bio or crafting one for someone else.
A strategy for better biographical sketches
For each bio, create a context for the credentials. Of course list experience, degrees, etc., but explain how those skills complement other team members’. Then explain why this person – as opposed to anyone else with similar skills and experience – is on the team. I use the Position-Rationale-Proof Strategy™ for this:
- What you think: Your opinion
- Why you think it: Your reasoning
- How you know: The proof points (evidence, examples, explanation)
Here’s one I did for someone we’ve just added to our team to work on a specific project:
To write the bio, I worked across and down the organizer, making complete sentences from my notes. Here’s the resulting draft:
Caroline provides a unique perspective and background the project team needs. A senior at UNC, her experience as a recruitment counselor for the Panhellenic Council enables her to create authentic messaging designed to increase college student attendance. Her domestic and international network of 18- to 24-year-olds provides excellent access to our target market. She comes to the project with knowledge and understanding of global affairs and innovation issues, gleaned from coursework in her major, global studies. Pursuing a minor in journalism, Caroline’s covered innovative medical research at the university. Her major and minor give her the experience and context to research and write promotional and educational materials for the conference without a lot of training and staff resources. Caroline is a strong writer with direct experience interviewing international sources and working in a deadline-driven environment. She blogged her study-abroad experience; was a weekly reporter for The Odyssey, a student publication; filed weekly publication-quality features for class; and has experience interviewing medical researchers and international sources. A bonus: Carolina is fluent in French, the language spoken by 115 million people in 31 African nations, many of which are involved in the conference.
[Another example: How to write a recommendation with the PRP]
The whole process took about 15 minutes, but I did this on my own. You might want to gather your team and/or advisers to complete a What-Why-How for each member together. Use the organizer to take notes, then pull the most relevant Whys and Hows to use in the narrative.
- Add story-telling to the management team section to create meaningful context for investors.
- Use the Position-Rationale-Proof to build out your bios. Download the how-to deck and blank organizer.