Hello SOTGC community,
Psychological surveys reveal that the fear of public speaking ranks higher than the fear of death.
One of the best ways to walk through this fear is to insert the fun, take the focus off of you and, instead, shift it towards serving your audience.
What you wear can support all such endeavors. The ultimate goal is to feel so authentically confident with your personal presentation that you are able to forget about yourself and fully engage in the more critical task at hand – sharing your ideas and expertise with others. There are lots of nuances to dressing for success in a public forum, but here are a few key areas to get you started before your next speaking engagement:
- Role and Responsibility. What is your field of expertise? What role do you have in this field and/or at the company? Is the standard dress code conservative, creative or casual? What visual message do you want to relay to your audience? Your answers will give you an idea of the fundamentals for an appropriate outfit for yourself.
- Audience. Who are you sharing your ideas with? Do they work in the same field as you? If not, what types of professions do they pursue? Are you speaking in front of a small or large size audience? For instance, a large audience needs to be able to see you from the back row.
- Logistics. What is the setup? Will you be speaking to the audience from a stage? Behind a podium? Sitting down? Chair or high stool? Behind a desk/table? Will there be a live video feed/screen? Is a bulky microphone pack required? If so, make sure that the tech person has easy access and that your top or dress fabric has some leeway and/or stretch to it. These questions and more should get you started thinking about the way in which you will move and be seen in front of the live audience.
- Atmosphere. Get a good sense of the surroundings for your upcoming speaking engagement. Where is it taking place? Is it in a large, cold auditorium or a small, stuffy hotel or office meeting room? If it’s the former, it might be best to layer your outfit or simply wear something to adequately support your body temperature under those specific conditions. Find out what the background will be where you speak. Will there be a large logo banner directly behind you? A busy slideshow? Or a bland wall or curtains? The odds are in your favor of successfully getting your business message across to the audience when you and what you are wearing stands out against any other visuals that are near you while you speak.
- Silhouette. In addition to your outfit portraying a current, modern and appropriate professional image, it is crucial to create a flattering silhouette while speaking in front of a live audience. The most effective way for women of all body types to do this is to accentuate or create a waist, so that your silhouette stands up against the other competing visual elements (i.e. busy or bland backgrounds, other panel members, etc.) near you. Plus, this style strategy allows for both a large or small audience to be able to clearly see you. A shift dress would not be a good idea for a presentation. Find those pieces of clothing that have seaming, stitching, piping or panel details that reinforce or create the illusion of a waistline. Of course, belts work too!
- Color. In terms of color…dynamic, personally flattering colors are inviting to your audience. When you wear dark, solid colors to a speaking engagement, you run the risk of looking like a dark blob to your audience. This is especially evident to a large group who must view you from a distance. If you often wear dark colors because you think they make you appear slimmer, this is a myth! The fit, silhouette, and proportions you create within an outfit are really the true determining factors. More lively colors will still be flattering and add oomph to your live appearance success.
Did you find these tips helpful? Than please share on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest and have a FashionFabulous day!