Quick Tip - Writing a Better Bio

When to use third vs. first person - Issue #58

Writing a bio always feels a bit self-centered and awkward. We have a difficult time talking about ourselves and our accomplishments. It feels even stranger to write your bio in the third person.

The norm used to be using a third-person voice (e.g., “Larry is a leadership coach”). However, the rise of informal bios on social media sites and other services has made that approach feel bizarre. It’s never a good look to talk about yourself using your name.

How do you decide?

A good rule of thumb is only to write your bio in the third person when:

  • Your profile is displayed with others (e.g., several people are part of the same event)

  • Or, the context doesn’t only belong to you (e.g., someone else is listing your author bio and is the only one who can update it)

  • Or, the situation is very formal (e.g., the dust jacket of your book).

For example, a conference page that lists the speakers would have all of their bios in the third person. Here is a recent example of mine in the third person:

Larry…

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