Business Interfaces The Bio (short biography)

Introduction

The formal definition of a bio is that it’s a shortened form for the word biography.

The urban dictionary defines it as: “Also known as a profile, BIO is short for biography and is a term used to describe a brief description of a person.”  [2]

The term Rock Star Bio was something the author gained from high school and may be historic or local to a certain area. The Rock Star Bio however is very similar to the urban dictionaries definition and one could well imagine musicians focused on business providing a short few paragraphs of who they and their band were.

While the focus here is rock stars, business, and companies; you could well make a short sports bio, or hobbies bio. The event of the internet makes it possible for people today to pursue various interests and there is no reason not to give your communities a short focused introduction to yourself and/or your interests.

Defining a Rock Star Bio

The business card, rock-star bio or short-bio is a short reference that people use to get in contact with you, and to quickly let them know who you are, and/or to introduce your group, or your business.

Why use a Rock Star Bio

Why write a rock star bio: because a lot of social networks like you to supply short snappy single paragraphs on who you are.

Chances are you have already written or talked about your version of a rock star bio, and didn’t know it. Often it’s very similar to the one minute business elevator speech: someone asks you to quickly tell them about your self.

Organizations may also have individual team-bios that can range from a rock-star length bio to a longer type of team-bio, that helps you work with your team mates. A long team-bio is a list of achievements that may only be relevant to the organization that you work for–It might be accessible by you and/or the administration department who keep track on what you do. If you make your own long team-bio, you might be aiming at convincing people to work with you on future projects. Some of the information on a long team-bio might be handy to put on some resumés.

These are some example of the company-bio that looks at how the audience reacts to your bio:

How to write an effective bio for your company

Shortened link to video: How to write an effective bio for your company : http://youtu.be/zVaJuAONmZU

People always reach for the familiar and a Bio vaguely resembles a resumé and gives a potential customer a feeling of trust, that can be extremely hard to gain when you first start out as a business or company.

You can call Bio what you want, but to call it a document similar to a elevator speech might not gain the same impact on a customer. Personally, they are very similar to business cards, but yeah… that does not really sell on websites that well. Some social networks don’t label the bio anything, it’s simply put below you or your businesses name.

I have worked on a number of projects that use this type of information as the focal point before the reader is lead to more information if they want it. The idea is a short front page on a website that gets peoples interest. The links then take the reader to parts of your website that give more details about what they might be interested in.

A bio may not seem that critical to you at the moment but I just found out they are far from obscure! In business they can form a quick reference to other members of a team about who you are and what you think. Most of the bio’s of professional people are too long for this task. The Short-Bio Gharr has provided (in the below link) is about the right size for this work.

Because this is such a critical introduction in some organizations–especially small teams of strangers, it is much more important then your resumé or CV. This tiny thing can have a large effect on your chances of getting along with the people you work with!

So really think about what you want to put in a Bio and how long it should be.

Here is a very short bio about Gharr to give you an example of what one looks like:

Bio/Short Resume often called a rock star bio…

This rock star bio style is good for small teams, or people who will only spend a little time with you. It’s a reference that helps them to remember who you are and what you or your group or business does. In larger organizations where lots of people are working together more detail might be required.

Gharr’s Short Bio [bio]: http://wp.me/p10Tww-1xM

Here is another “team bio” that’s slightly longer

Have you ever wanted to take a measure of what Gharr is? Is the very short “Rock Star Bio” or Business Card Style Bio” much too short to really do the job. Well you just might be  right, there is a lot more to Gharr then can be said in a few words.

The Venus Project: http://www.thevenusproject.com/ is made up of many thousands of people, so a “Bio” can’t be short because there are so many different projects that are possible. It also can’t be so long that it stops people from being entertained by reading it, or cause them to loose interest. To give this document some fun aspects, interesting keywords instead of headings are used–called traits here, but some advisers suggest that formal documents should avoid things that are fun, but how many adverts do you see that totally ignore this advice? The idea here is to make a highly customized Bio for just this situation. The only problem is that now days such a Bio is open to public scrutiny, and may stick around long after the time you might leave such an organization, or it may influence any new business or non-profit relationships you might make in the future.

Strictly speaking, this bio is far from a non-personalized resumé you might send a company. It’s designed to forge an understanding of who Gharr is, and the types of teams and groups that Gharr is interested in helping, promoting, or working with.

The critical point here is that the longer team-bio is being used to convince people that it’s worthwhile to work with Gharr on future projects–and that means incorporating an element of interest (in this case fun) into the document.

Gharr has carefully thought about branding and image. Also Gharr has spent considerable time interacting with the organization in question to judge if the material in this “longer team-bio” is appropriate for that organization. Finally Gharr realizes that you don’t get the chance to make contact with thousands of people every day, and that alone is worth taking notice of.

A personally crafted bio is risky to some degree (it’s the result of researching your audience), so don’t do one without thinking carefully about it. In this case–at least for Gharr–the risk is far outweighed by the sheer number of contacts that are possible.

If you have any reservation–take the less risky option and use a resumé instead or get a professional and skilled writer in this field to write up the appropriate whatever–the organization may even have a tradition or in-house policy on what type of documentation is appropriate.

Why make this large effort: because getting 1000 or more contacts is extremely powerful in marketing terms (regardless of if money or non-profit is the aim), and not something that’s not easy to do. Making solid contact with these people is worth a considerable amount of your time and resources if you feel that such contacts would be of interest to you in the future. For Gharr it’s well worth the risk that this “Bio” might influence any business (or non-profit) relationship in the future. Unlike a resumé—which is essentially a historical reference, this “Bio” can be changed or respond to new conditions through the use of new agreements which are represented here a “traits.”

This bio gives large organizations a chance to remember in more detail what you’re about: Gharr’s Bio for The Venus Project [bio]: http://wp.me/p10Tww-1xG

Here are some other slightly longer bio’s. Take note that many bio’s often link to full on biographies, resumes and so on.

While I probably follow the style of the classic rock star type bio which is not far removed from the scant information that might go on a business card, there is formal guides to producing your short bio:

Shortened link to this article: The ultra short (rock star) bio: http://bit.ly/fS7YaL ; also useful for business orientated teams.

References

[1] http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/BIO accessed October 2012

[2] http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=bio accessed October 2012

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