Have you ever read one of those online dating profiles that just goes on and on and on? It's like a self-indulgent soliloquy you'd think was meant for performing a one-man show. And it's not like this person is trying to engage the reader at all. Profile fail.
Let's say you're at work and you're listening to a presentation on the merits of using LIFO (last in, first out) versus FIFO (first in, first out) accounting. To me, this topic sounds fairly snooze-worthy (though I do remember those terms from business school, so I guess I don't find it that boring), so it would be nicer if the presenter instead engaged me somewhat during the presentation. What if, rather than simply defining LIFO and FIFO (wake me up in an hour), the presenter started with, "Which carton of milk would you rather buy at the supermarket—the first one that was put on the shelf or the last?" That's something I might listen to. (Though, since supermarkets know this, they usually put the newer milk behind the older milk so that the older stuff sells first. If you can fit your arm back into that milk fridge at the store, which I'm usually too short to do, you might be rewarded with a few extra days of use . . . and your first ever milk-induced bruise.)
The same concept applies to online dating profiles. I suggest adding a question or two to your profile. This way, you're engaging the potential readers rather than boring them with your life story.
It's best to assume that, in general, no one knows what to say in that first online dating email. For that reason, you want to make it as easy as possible for someone to write to you. Asking questions in your profile gives them a reason to write, even if that simply means answering your question. Even rhetorical questions work. Just as long as there's a well-placed question mark, you're well on your way.
Let's look at two examples:
When I'm not out training for a race, you can find me trying a new restaurant in the city. Any good recommendations?
A client of mine actually used a similar line to this and received so many recommendations (and dates) that she didn't know what to do with all of them! Good problems, my friends, good problems.
I think brunch is one of the best inventions ever made. Don't you agree?
Sticking with the food theme (maybe I'm hungry), this question, while seemingly rhetorical, could actually yield some pretty funny responses, such as, "I actually think brunch is weird, or maybe I just don't like the thought of having a burger and oatmeal on the same side of the menu," or "My favorite day of the week is Sunday since it's perfectly acceptable to sit at brunch for three hours over a coffee and a bloody Mary. Do you have a favorite brunch place in town?"