There is a lot to think about before you give a presentation. The image you are portraying is just as important as delivering the speech and appearing in front of a live audience. While some would disagree, think about this: How horrible would it be if something about your outfit got more attention than your talking points? It happens all the time!
With these six essential appearance tips, your audience will stay focused on your content and credibility.
1. PLAN YOUR OUTFIT WELL IN ADVANCE
Right after you find out that you will be presenting, start to think about what you will be wearing. Think about your topic and then decide on an outfit that is going to match your message. Head to your closet and pull together your head to toe outfit, including undergarments.
2. CONSIDER WORST CASE WARDROBE SCENARIOS
A well put together outfit makes you look polished, confident, and at ease. The best way to achieve this look is by avoiding any potential distractions that could come from your outfit. Here are some things to think about:
- Fabric: Make sure the fabric you wear does not wrinkle. Wear pieces that have enough structure in them so they won’t look like you wore them to bed and then wore them for your presentation.
- Sit Test: In front of a mirror, sit down and check out your outfit. Does your skirt or dress ride up and your shape wear shows? Is your skirt long enough? When you sit down are your pants too tight?
- Is your top or bottom sheer?
- Are your shoes clean? Are they free of sticky price tags on the bottom?
- Did you remember to take the dry cleaning tags off of your clothing items?
- Does your shirt have armpit stains?
3. KEEP NOISE TO A MINIMUM
Stacked bracelets are great, but not when you sound like a human wind chime to your audience. Pick one bracelet that is noise-free. Choose smaller earrings vs. dangly earrings, so they do not interfere with a headset microphone. A microphone clipped to your lapel should be free of any necklaces or scarves that could create noise.
4. USE COLOR STRATEGICALLY
Be sure the color you wear is aligned with your message. If your topic is formal, you should wear more formal business colors like navy, charcoal, burgundy, and rust. If you want to add a bit of your personal style or some fun color accents, make sure they only represent about twenty percent of your outfit. If your topic is more informal, creative, or in the entertainment field, wearing colors like orange (tangerine), red, turquoise, or bright blue may be appropriate. Depending on your subject, mixing formal and informal colors together in the same outfit can strike a perfect balance.
5. KEEP THE FOCUS ON YOUR FACE
Use makeup and accessories to keep the focus on your face. While you may wear little or no makeup, you need to look polished when you’re presenting. If needed, get a makeup lesson and practice application techniques well before your talk. Earrings, necklaces, and scarves can help frame your face, just be mindful if you will be wearing a headset or a microphone on your lapel.
Ladies, if you are planning on wearing your hair all down for your presentation, make sure it will be out of your eyes/face. Men, if you have facial hair make sure you shave and/or clean up your neck (in the front and back) before your presentation.
6. AVOID OPTICAL ILLUSIONS
Some prints and patterns are more appropriate to wear when your audience is sitting across from you at a table. Most stripes and graphic designs can appear wavy from a distance and you should avoid wearing these if you’re going to be on television. Small prints fade out and become nondescript when viewed from a distance. It’s better to consider prints in medium to medium-large scale if you’re wearing them in a dress. Again, you want the focus to be on what you are saying and not the print/pattern that you are wearing.
If you need help putting together an appropriate, flattering outfit that suits your presentation needs, please contact me at 414-841-5096 or email@example.com to schedule a date. This is perfect if you will be on television, presenting to a small or large group, or speaking at a conference. I’ll make sure there is nothing about your outfit that could diffuse your strong message!