Top Tips for Dressing to Present

Research shows that 93% of the impact of a first impression is formed on non-verbal communication i.e. how we speak and how we look and behave. As you stand in front of your audience you need to ensure you are giving the right signals. We need to examine our image from head to toe.

  • Hair should be well groomed in a good style which is easy to manage.
  • Makeup is essential for a well-groomed appearance. Make sure the foundation is not too light if you are speaking under strong lights.
  • The outfit you select should be one you are comfortable wearing. Avoid plunging necklines or tight outfits. Try to dress appropriate to your audience – check with organiser for any dress code.
  • Make sure the colour of the outfit you wear compliments your hair, eyes and skin and does not overpower you.
  • If you are speaking on a stage check the background colour so your outfit does not either clash with the background or blend into the background. Try to wear either a complimentary or contrasting colour.
  • If you are wearing jewellery make sure it is a single bracelet, bangle, cuff or necklace so it does not create noise which can be picked up by a microphone as you move around the speaking space.
  • Polish your shoes – make sure they are not scuffed on the heel.
  • Glasses – if you wear glasses try to get a pair with non-reflective lenses so lights do not bounce off them and cut off eye contact with the audience. Also try to have frames which are not too thick. Try contact lenses.
  • If you have pockets in a jacket or trousers make sure they are empty before you face the audience. This will mean there is no chance of distracting sounds from coins or keys.
  • Take a spare outfit so if an accident happens (spilt drink) you can still do your presentation. At a minimum ladies take a spare pair of pantihose and men take a spare tie.
  • If you have to travel over an hour to your presentation don’t wear the outfit you are speaking in. Change at the venue.

Dianne Summut – My Colour. My Style.

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