Rebecca Ward Consulting - Business Effectiveness and Planning

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What NOT to wear when you are presenting

Recently we ran another half day workshop with the ACHSM (Australian College of Health Service Management), Perfecting Your Presentations (Managing the Art of Public Speaking)”.

The way you dress for a presentation may be one of the last things on your list after nerves; practicing your speech; the audience members and possible presenting blunders but the way you present yourself is as important for the audience as it is for your self-confidence. If you feel comfortable and professional chances are this will come across.

     "All the world is a stage, and we are just
          players on it.” William Shakespeare.

You have less than about a minute to make (or break) a good first impression. Research shows that around 92% of what the audience receives from your first impression comes from non-verbal communication – that is tone, projection, confidence... and how you look. As such, it’s important to give all the right signals.

Some easy to remember tips are:

1. Shine your shoes... this may seem simple but it really works. Especially when you are on a raised platform, people tend to draw their attention to your feet which would be at their eye-level... so shine up!

2. Under or over dressing... this one you will have to use your best judgement but if the room if the room is filled with merchant bankers, best to wear a jacket (and do it up!!) and if it’s a day-time fundraiser at a NFP... well, as I said use your best judgement.

3. Don’t present in your travelling outfit... if you are travelling interstate, make sure you have a fresh shirt or clothes to change into when you get to your destination – you’ll feel fresher and you’ll present with confidence. 
4. Empty your pockets... mobile phones, loose change and other jingle-jangles are distracting for you and for the audience.

5. Don’t make this the maiden voyage... Just as you would practice your presentation prior to giving it, do not wear brand new shoes or any piece of clothing that is new. You will not know if it wears well, if you have good movement or if it will be the most appropriate for the presentation, gestures and the stage. Actors have a full dress rehearsal, why aren’t you? 
6. Beware of the lip-gloss... some lip glosses are tacky and sticky and if you get a little dry mouthed when you are speaking this is a recipe for disaster. Either leave it off or use Vaseline.

If you would like to discuss ‘Perfecting Your Presentations’ or managing the art of public speaking please feel free to email me anytime at either this web-site or 

2 Comments to What NOT to wear when you are presenting:

Comments RSS
Scott S on Sunday, 25 May 2014 9:41 AM
And remember to zip up your pants. I sat through a power point presentation last week and the speakers fly was undone. Zip up I say!
Reply to comment
Rebecca Ward on Tuesday, 27 May 2014 10:01 AM
Good point, Scott. I think a quick check of the zipper is mandatory. Thanks for the comment :)

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