Wednesday, May 14, 2008

weekly writing coach: introductions

This week's assignment: Write a suite of introductions--for yourself or a prominent speaker in your organization--that are suitable for a wide range of situations. Grab the long form of your subject's biography or resume, then rework it as follows:
- a 25-word introduction, suitable as the tagline at the end of an op-ed or as the shortest of introductions,
- a 50-word introduction, just expanded enough to emphasize a particular theme in your subject's background.
- a 100-word introduction, enabling you to introduce a specific item or two.
- 250-word and 500-word introductions, more substantial. Here, you can hammer home a theme or tailor the introduction for a particular audience.
While the word counts are challenging, this array of introductions would give any speaker what she needs when someone says, "Can you send your bio?" Want to challenge yourself further (and prepare your speaker even more)? Write several 250-word introductions that target specific audiences frequently addressed by your speaker, mining her biographical information for points relevant to different genders, industries, specialty areas, and more. Extra points if you can summarize biographical details with humor and brevity, and if you read these aloud as a test--most of them will wind up in the hands of an emcee or moderator who needs to speak them, rather than reprint them.

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