Nancy Juetten President, Main Street Media Savvy said “Taking your speaking school was among the best decisions I ever made to advance my business. I will be forever grateful and continue to sing the praises of your work to my extended community.”
I am flattered and always impressed with what Nancy is up to.
Kick Your Boring Bio to the Curb
By Eve Gumpel
Published October 03, 2010
Nancy Juetten is here to tell you that, as an entrepreneur, an attention-grabbing bio is your key to more clients and a better bottom line.
Juetten is the author of Bye-Bye Boring Bio: Attract Clients, Speaking Gigs and Media Interviews Now. The public relations consultant says she was compelled to write the book, now in its second edition, because of how frustrated she was with the information her clients were providing to her “with the idea that I could take that and make headlines with it.”
“It’s a very awkward thing to read what people say about themselves and be snoozing instead of standing at attention,” says Juetten.
According to Juetten, social media have changed the way entrepreneurs need to market themselves. “People everywhere have ADD when it comes to landing somewhere and making a split-second judgment about whether they like what they find. Those people who lead with their degrees and certifications–those doors close for them as soon as they open.”
Do people read bios? Juetten says they not only read them; they take action based on them. Her husband, Steve, a certified financial planner, is proof. “Three days a week,” she says, “someone tells him, ‘I landed on your website and I read your bio, and I knew you were the guy for me.'”
Steve Juetten’s compelling bio soundbite: “Clients hire me for my head, trust me for my heart and value me most when I use both.”
Juetten poses this question: “If you can get to ‘yes’ right away so you can start billing time sooner, how much better would your life be?
“People need to say who they are, why they’re swell and the difference they make with a few well-chosen words, so when people land on their websites, their blogs, their social networks, they’re compelled to say, ‘I’m fascinated with that person and want to hear what they have to say next.'”
Juetten bases her clients’ bios on what she calls four universal cornerstones. Those cornerstones are designed “to get to the magic of what’s special about each person,” she says.
Stunning results. What is it you deliver for your client that compels the client to want to open up her wallet and do business with you?”
Example: “Patrick Snow’s self-published version of Creating Your Own Destiny has sold more than 150,000 copies and has been translated into numerous foreign languages.”
Sassy soundbite. This gets to the essence of who you are, what you care about and what makes you likable.
Example: “Kiplinger’s personal finance magazine reported: ‘An investment in Patricia Fripp’s speaking school is the sixth most powerful investment anyone can make in their professional career.'”
Says Juetten, “It’s one thing for her to say she’s a rock-star speaker, but it’s so much more credible and compelling when a prestigious business periodical says that’s what it thinks about her. I think she’s very smart to put that in her bio because it helps people get to ‘yes’ faster.”
Tips for Speakers
Juetten has special advice for speakers:
Lead with a compelling headline that lets the meeting planner know exactly what you talk about, why it matters and the key take-away your audience is going to hear. You don’t have a prayer of inviting an engagement if you don’t make that clear.
Prepare your speaker introduction in advance, and make that introduction so compelling that the audience jumps to their feet to applaud you before you speak your first word.
If you have a name that’s hard to pronounce, provide a phonetic spelling. “If the emcee doesn’t say your name correctly, you’re going to trip before you start speaking,” Juetten says. (Incidentally, “Juetten” rhymes with “button.”)
If you don’t have a plug from Kiplinger’s magazine, get a testimonial from your best clients, Juetten suggests. One of her clients has described Juetten as “self-esteem in a can.” Betsy Talbot, who has a blog called Married With Luggage, says: “She sprays it, and all the fabulous things about you that you had forgotten or did not think were important are in the air for everyone to see.”
Example: Sara Harvey Yao has been described as a “leadership chiropractor” for executives. “That’s a whole different way to say what she does and how she does it that isn’t boring, boilerplate or bland on any score,” Juetten says.
Succinct story that gets to the reason you’re on this journey.
Example: For Matt Walters, who’s spent 20 years in the hospitality industry, it started at age 7 when a broken-down tour bus stopped in front of his grandmother’s house, and he invited the tourists in for some lemonade.
Social information. Something personal that makes people get to that like, trust and respect place fast.
Example: This is how Melody Benson Strick describes herself in 140 characters on Twitter: “CEO, fast-paced visionary leader, kick-butt biz mentor for entrepreneurs. New dog mommy trying to save her shoes. Craves Starbucks, exotic travel and spas.”
She has 20,000 followers. And, says Juetten, “If she has 20,000 people following her, chances are a whole lot of them are doing business with her, and she’s living the life uncommon.”
Juetten advises entrepreneurs to start out by Googling their name and the name of their company. “See if the very first thing that comes back reveals you the way you want to be known. If you have a different kind of Google search returning back to you, that’s either an ‘aha’ moment or a gut check.”
Juetten did this herself in 2006. “I decided I didn’t want to be standing behind the curtain as a publicist. I wanted to step in front of the curtain and be known as an expert.” But when she Googled her name, “It said I ran 10-K races really slowly,” she recalls ruefully.
She set out to change that. “For the past four years, I’ve been writing articles, I’ve been blogging, I’ve been doing videos, I’ve been doing interviews, I’ve been doing teleseminars, I’ve been creating products that are selling around the world. So if you Google my name today, the Google search returns exactly the reputation I was striving for.
“Now I have all kinds of opportunities coming my way and, more important, I’m helping other people realize the same opportunity for themselves.”
That includes former 7-foot-2-inch basketball star James Donaldson, who’s also an entrepreneur, motivational speaker and author of the book Standing Above the Crowd. Juetten helped him turn an unfocused, three-page manifesto into a one-page “wow” bio. “He called me about a week after we had done this and said, ‘I got a five-figure speaking engagement because of the speaker sheet you created for me,'” Juetten says.
“The biggest mistake we make is forgetting to make who we are and what we do relevant to the people who have the decision-making authority to say, ‘You’re the one I want.'”
How did Juetten get so good at writing soundbites? It was a matter of survival, she says. “I grew up with a father in the entertainment industry. He had a very big ego. I had to fit my ‘How was your day, dear?’ into the commercial time between the programs he was watching on television.”
As a result, Juetten also learned what it was like not to be heard, and she doesn’t want that to happen to anyone else. “I want others to be heard, and to be a mirror that reflects back their brilliance,” she says.