Want to know one of my favorite editing tips when creating or revising an author bio, a book or a blog post?
I originally wrote this post in 2018 after presenting Rewrite Your Leadership Bio at Harvard Medical School’s Career Advancement and Leadership Skills for Women in Healthcare. The course will be offered virtually in 2020 from Nov 5-7. And I’ll be offering this leadership bio writing workshop once again.
A Favorite Writing Tip
Here’s one of my favorite tips from the upcoming leadership bio workshop and one of my best writing tips, too (via the late, great Frank Conroy when he taught a writing seminar at MIT during his tenure as the Director of the National Endowment for the Arts in Literature):
“Employ powerful verbs.”
Search for verbs like: was, is, had, has, could, can, are and am in your document. When you find these not-so-powerful verbs, see if there’s a way to replace the meh verb with a verb that paints more of a picture. Verbs can convey movement (external and internal), emotion, change or transformation and impact.
Naturally, when I presented Rewrite Your Leadership Bio at Harvard Medical School’s Career Advancement and Leadership Skills for Women in Healthcare, at some point, my advice turned to verbs.
As an author—or author in the making—you need a compelling bio for your website, book proposal, book jacket, media appearances, speaking engagements, training programs and possibly more. Consider the verbs that can set the tone and showcase your skill set.
Some of the best words to use in a leadership or author bio are powerful verbs, because they convey action, accomplishment, leadership style, influence, impact and skills.
Compelling verbs to Use in Your Leadership or Author Bio:
Can you think of other high impact verbs to use in your author bio or leadership bio? Add your ideas as a comment below!
When you identify your core values, skills, talents and passions, you get at your “spark of genius”—the things that set you apart from others and make your author bio interesting and inspiring to read.
While you may likely have many versions of your author bio for different purposes, your spark of genius should permeate each version in some way, while also resonating in tone, length and syntax with your particular audience and the particular use of that bio.
In addition to identifying powerful verbs, consider your spark of genius and how you can power your bio with that spark. Some questions to ask:
- Where do my passions lie?
- What do I feel most proud of (including unique activities and accomplishments , not typical to a bio)?
- What quirky interests or talents do I possess?
- Which activities would I happily perform even if I never got paid for doing them?
- Can I find out what others say about me?
- What accentuates my leadership style or thought leadership?
Have any tips you wish to add? Share them below as a comment. Thanks!