If someone wants to know about you they’re going to Google your name and check you out.
Or they might head on over to the About page on your website, or read your profile on LinkedIn or what you say about yourself on Facebook.
The problem is that most people don’t put a lot of care into what they say about themselves in all these places.
Why? Because it’s really really hard to talk about yourself and people often come up blank. They just don’t know what to say.
I mean, how do you boil down all your life experience into a few sentences or paragraphs? How do you convey the full complexity of who you are in the 160 characters that Twitter gives you or the 3-5 paragraphs you have on your website?
Well, the short answer is that you don’t.
Your About Page isn’t really about you. It’s about starting a relationship with your audience. And the way you do that is by choosing the parts of your journey and background that resonate most with your tribe and what they’re hoping to accomplish in their lives.
Good messaging is as much about what you leave out as it is about what you leave in.
So let’s get disciplined here and talk about what matters to your audience… and what DOESN’T.
In my last blog, I shared how to introduce yourself powerfully on a Facebook group or online community using a combination of credibility and humanity.
But what happens if you don’t feel like you have credibility — yet?
Messaging expert Joel Roberts says that credibility is not something you can claim or bestow on yourself. Credibility is a function of people believing what you have to say and deciding to trust you –and that trust happens when two things are present:
• your expertise demonstrated through specific facts, results and accomplishments
• your humanity, which you reveal through your tone and story.
In other words, credibility is the combination of your expertise and your humanity.
The good news is that we live in an age of authenticity and transparency. Your prospects don’t want to read a formal bio on your About Page, they want to see and connect with a real person — with YOU. They’re curious. They want to know who you are, what you care about and what you stand for.
At the same time, people choose to work with you not only because you make them feel great, inspired, motivated, seen, understood and part of something special, but also because you’ve achieved results and you embody attributes that they want in their lives.
There are 5 credibility boosters that you can leverage on your About Page — and only 1 requires the traditional results-based credibility most people think they need. While you don’t need all 5 types of credibility, I recommend including 2-3 credibility boosters to give you traction with your visitors.
The 5 credibility boosters are:
- personal qualities
- physical qualities
- lifestyle choices
Let’s dig into each of these areas so you can choose the 2-3 that make the most sense for you. I’ll also give you some examples as we go of great bios from entrepreneurs with thriving personal brands, so you see how this works in practice.
The first area is what almost everybody leads with and that is the specific results you’ve gotten for yourself and others. This area is the biggest credibility booster and one that you’re definitely going to want to include.
Here are some examples of results:
- getting an Amazon or NY Times Bestseller or, even better, helping a specific number of people launch their books to the top of the bestseller list
- building your own 6 or 7-figure business or, even better, helping a specific number of people take their business from 6 to 7 figures
- curing yourself of a chronic illness such as allergies or back pain or, even better, helping a measurable number of people find the same relief
- finding your inner calm or peace through meditation or, even better, helping thousands of other people get over their resistance to meditation and actually make it a daily practice
Notice how everything I’ve listed here are real results that people actually want. It’s not about listing every single accomplishment you’ve ever had, but you do want to choose a handful of accomplishments that really boost your credibility in your audience’s eyes.
Here’s a great example of a results-based bio from Suzanne Evans:
Suzanne Evans has become the “Tell it like it is”, no fluff boss of business building. As owner and founder of Suzanne Evans Coaching, LLC she went from secretary to surpassing the seven-figure mark in just over three years. Today, she supports, coaches, and teaches over 30,000 women enrolled in her wealth and business building programs.
Notice how Suzanne demonstrates the results she got in her own life by sharing who she was before she started her business — a secretary — and how fast she made the transformation — 3 years. The more specific you are about the results you achieve, the more believable they become. She closes this short bio with the total number of women she is helping — 30K — and she gives this total in the context of what she teaches them — wealth and business building. So everything she says about herself is substantiated, she shows and tells at the same time, so you come away with the real sense that this woman knows what she’s doing and if you’re a woman looking to start a business fast, you’re going to be interested if you resonate with her style.
The most commonly used credibility boosters in this area include: college degrees, awards, press mentions or appearances, books you’re written, programs you’ve created, words or concepts you’ve coined, and client testimonials or results you’ve gotten for your clients.
Now our next area is relationships. This could be personal relationships such as having an amazing marriage or strong connections with your family. Or they could be professional relationships like having a rockstar client list or getting endorsements from celebrities in your field. Or they could be relationships with your team or community. Humans are inherently social creatures with a deep need for love and recognition. We’re hard-wired to use social status as a measure of our success — that’s why every troupe of monkeys has an alpha male.
Let me give you an example of a relationship-based bio from serial entrepreneur Max Simon:
What makes Max so unique is his special blend of spirituality and business. Born into a family of brilliant leaders, Max has been surrounded by conscious business, wellness, and global impact his entire life. Son of David Simon M.D., best selling author, speaker and physician of The Chopra Center, Max began learning about the mind-body connection at the ripe age of 4 when he received his first meditation technique.
After building Deepak Chopra’s product division into a multi-million dollar empire and becoming the lead educator for The Chopra Center at the young age of 24, Max left to lead his own movement of supporting people to create a thriving business that’s on-purpose, in-service, and highly profitable.
Recognizing his unique approach to business, Martha Stewart awarded Max to be “The Next Big Idea” in Body & Soul Magazine.
Max has brilliantly combined relationships with results in this segment of his bio. While he does get some natural credibility from his pedigree as the son of David Simon, Deepak Chopra’s business partner — and all the inside relationships that has given — he also shows how he has achieved success in his own right through his awards and accomplishments.
Next up we have personal qualities. Your personality, your values, how you show up in the world and make others feel. These are most often demonstrated not by what you say but by how you say it. Your feeling tone. The energy you transmit from your signature photo. Or what people say about you through their testimonials and endorsements. Or even who you admire most or your favorite guilty pleasure TV show.
If you’re in the spiritual growth or personal development industries, personal qualities should be at the top of your list because you mirror with your energy and presence who your audience wants to be. If you’re in the corporate or business opportunity space, personal qualities are still important drivers, but they’re not as important as results.
Here’s an amazing example of how Marie Forleo has skillfully demonstrated her personal qualities by comparing herself to other leaders:
I often say if Tony Robbins, Richard Branson, Oprah and Jay-Z had a love child, it would be me.
Oprah had me on her Emmy Award-Winning TV Show Super Soul Sunday
That’s because I’m part business strategist, part marketing maven and part spiritual ass-kicker with a side of hip-hop swagger.
A born-n-raised Jersey girl with nothing more than passion, a laptop and a dream, I’ve created a multimillion dollar socially conscious empire from scratch.
Through a bestselling book in 13 languages, 190,000 subscribers in 191 countries around the world, 4 top selling fitness DVDs and a weekly online show called MarieTV that’ll make you laugh so hard you’ll snort your soy latte…
I help people dream big and back it up with daily actions to create measurable results.
Full of personality, right? There are a few more things I want you to notice about this example from Marie Forleo. She has mastered her hip and funny yet conscious feeling tone well and seeds this description with phrases that convey who she is and what she stands for. Phrases like love child, spiritual ass-kicker, hip-hop swagger, soy latte. She also writes her bio in the first person, making it seem more personal and engaging. And she constantly brings it back to her audience and what they want.
Moving on to physical attributes such as 6-pack abs, the appearance of youth or immaculate make-up. If you’re in the fashion, beauty or health industry, how you look from your physical appearance to your sense of vitality signals your success and credibility. Chances are that no one is going to take exercise advice from someone who needs to lose weight themselves or they’re not going to buy anti-aging supplements from someone who looks like they’re about to keel over and die.
That said, you can go too far with demonstrating your physical attributes and make people feel like what you have is unattainable. Before/after photos or descriptions can really help to make your promise more relatable by showing them that you weren’t always in svelte as you are now.
Here’s an example from my own bio:
At 4’11 and a quarter, Marisa’s known as the shortest woman in marketing. But that doesn’t stop her from having huge ideas. Her no-nonsense approach has earned her a reputation as a results-getter for leading-edge clients such as Don Crowther, Alexis Neely, Michelle Schubnel, Morgana Rae and Evan Marc Katz.
In this particular example, I’m using my height — not because it matters to my business, but because it makes people laugh and makes me more relatable. It also softens the bravado of the next sentence by making it seem tongue-in-cheek rather than boastful. If I led with claiming big results for big clients, it wouldn’t be as impactful as this more relatable “David and Goliath” approach.
Finally we’ve got your lifestyle choices, which reveal a lot about your values and beliefs, as well as your accomplishments. This could include quirky hobbies or interests. Or owning houses in 3 countries, implementing a 4 hour work week, taking monthly vacations or yearly volunteer trips where you make some corner of the world a better place.
Here’s an example from Alexandra Franzen where she turns what she does — copywriting — into a lifestyle choice in a way that transforms it from a specialized profession to an essential skill for anyone in business.
In your lifetime, you will …
: Tap out 7 million words via text message.
: Blast out 2 million words via email.
: Speak 370 million words out loud.
Your work-related correspondence, alone, will fill 40 to 50 novels.
I know. Whoa.
Whether you like it or not, you are a “professional writer.”
You are a “communication specialist.”
You are a “public speaker.”
We all are.
So if working with words is going to sit at the center of your world, you might as well learn how to love it — and do it well.
Hi. I’m Alexandra Franzen.
I’m a positivity-charged blogger, author and writing teacher.
The first thing I ever wrote was my own name. (Followed, quite possibly, by “… wants a pony”.)
Notice how Alexandra makes a case for why what she does matters — why what she does is a way of life — before she even talks about herself.
Alright, hopefully you’ve been able to identify some great credibility boosters that will help you convey your expertise in a bio or intro that resonates with your tribe.
>> Let me know in the comments which 2-3 credibility boosters best match your background and experience.
This is an excerpt from a training in our Start With You program, which helps you discover your ideal business and marketing message so you can step out of the “me too” market and step into a market of one.
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Very interesting read! I write about Social Issues but don’t have a degree or other form of “traditional” credibility. I’ll definitely keep what you said in mind!
Thanks for watering the garden of ideas in my mind. I am confident the harvest will be bountiful
As always Marisa, you give us solid techniques to implement. A friend is currently redoing his About Me page so I’m forwarding this to him. Thanks.
Yes l’m interested