Public Speaking in a Digital World: Building a Compelling Profile

31 Jan

The first assignment in my Public Speaking in a Digital World course dealing with the blog component of the class is Building a Compelling Profile. While discussing with the students what a profile is and can be, as well as reviewing some examples, the students’ responses surprised me. Many had a difficult time understanding how to build their own compelling profile. I admit, I was surprised. I assumed in the age of Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, BrazenCareerist, and the like, Building a Compelling Profile would be “old hat.” What I found out is that many students had a hard time putting into words who they are, what they do, their qualifications, and why anyone should care. This learning moment has compelled me to pass along some of the information here that I provided to my students. By no means is this a comprehensive list, so if you see what’s missing, I encourage you to add your own insights about Building a Compelling Profile.

  • Use a Flattering Head Shot: I suggested to my students use a flattering headshot of themselves — not a result of creative cropping — that is personable and approachable. I don’t think it has to be professionally done, but purposefully taken so that you can use the same one across your social media platforms. It helps people recognize you online and offline, as well as make associations between your name and face.


  • Creatively Identify Your Role: Students are so wrapped up in being identified as “students” they forget this won’t be their role forever. Consider creatively identifying your current or future role — using key words like: emerging, developing, budding, and aspiring. For example you are a Communication + Economics Major (with hopes) = Business Reporter. Option 1: Communication and Economics Major, and Option 2: Aspiring Business Reporter. This creative approach shows your communication savvy, which may be important to a potential employer or internship supervisor.


  • What Makes You Interesting: Frequently when people talk about themselves, they gloss over everything in an effort to not sound vain; however, the point of a profile is to tell others about you through content and context. For example: If you are an active volunteer tell about the groups you’re involved with, how you take part, and what makes it an activity you enjoy coming back to over and over again. That is interesting information you may consider including.


  • Why Should We Care About What You Say: Addressing Why Should We Care About What You Say importantly should be stated over and over throughout your profile in different ways. By this I mean, we should care about what you say because of your experiences, knowledge, abilities, talents, contacts, and the like. This is more of your overall or collective appeal.


  • What Can We Look Forward To: This is a great way to end your profile piece, by telling readers why they should come back to your blog over and over again. What types of subjects will you cover —

This is not an exhaustive list. So what would you tell a group of students Building a Compelling Profile? Let me know so I can pass along your advice to them…


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Posted by on January 31, 2010 in communication


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