Should any presenter or speaker consider the impact their visual impression makes?
As I had out to speak at a conference on Personal Branding and Styling for Your Success, I’m mindful of what I’ll be wearing as of course that is the subject I am speaking on – image and personal presentation.
Once upon a time when the TED Conference was an invitation only event, I helped a client find the perfect clothes to wear to this prestigious occasion. He wanted to look the part of the other successful business leaders who were attending. He was attending as a delegate yet understood his personal brand would be on show with that audience.
Today we can watch TED in our pyjamas if we wish. Many of the presenters have also adopted the dress down code and although not quite in their pyjamas – look like they have taken little effort into their visual presentation. Does it matter?
Tips to SHINE Your Image on the Platform
S – Style. Dress to impress. You want to leave a positive impression on your audience with what you say and how you make them feel and how you look. It doesn’t have to be Wow – look at me – but a positive expression of the best version of you. Dress up for your audience but consider appropriateness. A smart tailored suit could be just right for a formal investor presentation or lose the jacket and wear smart business casual for a weekend conference. Do some research on your audience.
H – Hosiery or not. Sleeveless or not. If you’re wearing a closed in shoe (ladies) I suggest wearing pantyhose. It is a more finished look and your legs, blemishes and all will look better. Sandals are not the best look – but is does depend on the environment.
A business casual look at a tropical island conference may suit an open toe sandal or peep toe shoe. Make sure shoes are clean, polished and not downtrodden. Wearing a jacket or long sleeved shirt is suitable for a formal business environment. A sleeveless dress can still look business like if the rest of your look is polished. Remember Michelle Obama?
I – Image and brand. You may have seen speakers that always wear the same colour, red, orange, hot pink or black. It is their look and part of their brand image. Humour speakers often wear bright, colourful jackets. If you do a lot of speaking or MC work have several outfits that are your “go tos” when asked to present. You could have more formal and more relaxed versions of your “look” to suit the occasion.
N – Not boring. Whatever you choose to wear you don’t just want to completely blend in. Consider wearing a touch of colour to brighten up an all-black outfit or wear a stand out accessory that enhances your outfit. Another eye-catching accessory could be an amazing pair of shoes or an interesting belt to liven up your look.
E – Enthusiasm. You bring to the stage your energy to entertain, educate and enliven. You can’t do that if you are uncomfortable. One time when watching the TV show, The Voice the female judges both said they wear jumpsuits on stage when singing. The outfit gave them freedom to move well, not worry about any wardrobe malfunction and look great. Not suggesting you should wear a jumpsuit but do try on several outfits to make sure you can move and breathe without pulling across the paunch.
Shoes come into consideration too. Again you want to be able to move. On stage consider how long you are there and if you can manage in high heels. Perhaps a fashionable boot might be better or if all day training, a pair of comfort mid-heel court shoes may work just as well.
I hope these few tips will help you shine on stage.
Learn more about Nook, Look and Hook in my free video training series. 3 Steps to Build a Stand Out Personal Brand.
Sue Currie is a speaker and the author of IMPRESSario, Present and Promote the Star Within You. She is recognised as a leading authority on personal branding to boost image, profile, brand and business. Through her professional development and profile building programs, workshops, consulting and keynote presentations, Sue helps businesses and entrepreneurs position and present an influential professional brand.