Build a Better Bio with Haiku

I have an unhealthy obsession with attorney biographies. In professional services marketing, people are the product, and bios are the No. 1 tool for establishing credibility. They are also very difficult to write -- it is hard to talk about yourself, and it's harder still to make it brief, meaningful and client-centric. Many bios stink.

Over at the [non]billable hour, Matt Homann shares a formula for answering the old "what do you do" networking question by building on Japanese haiku. As fellow fan Gyi Tsakalakis noted at The Lawyerist, "the exercise forces word economy. But it also places the focus on where it belongs, on your prospective clients."

Matt's haiku guide will help you with an elevator speech, true. But also consider it as an exercise to build the thesis statement of your bio:

The three questions, which must be answered with the specified number of words, are:

Who do I help? (Answer in Five Words)

What do I do for them? (Answer in Seven Words)

Why do they need me? (Answer in Five Words)

An example response to these questions from a business lawyer could be:

I help small business owners

incorporate their businesses and protect their assets

so they can sleep better.

Contrast that with the prototypical attorney bio opening sentence: "Mr. Doe is a partner in the corporate department, where he advises clients in matters involving business formation, tax structures and contract negotiation." The former is human, it is real, and it focuses on what clients need and want - not the attorney's status in the firm's org chart.

Break out a pen and paper, and try your own haiku. Think about how you could incorporate it into your firm bio or LinkedIn profile. Then reward yourself with some sillier haiku over at Haiku-O-Matic:

I'm the space cowboy

The gangster of love also

No, I'm just Maurice


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