By : Prasanna Perera, Marketing & Management Consultant, Chartered Marketer, CIM, U.K.
When a speaker gives an address on stage, he or she must not only sound good, but look good too. Hence, the choice of clothing is not randomly pulled out from the wardrobe.
In today's competitive business environment, image is everything and what a speaker wears is crucial to that image. Therefore, it is important that a speaker gives due consideration to what is worn. I have been asked by many presenters for advice on what to wear, when giving a presentation. My view is that it depends on the purpose of the meeting / presentation, the objectives to be met and the profile and size of the audience.
Let me provide some tips that you may find useful when you have to speak in public, give a presentation or appear for a media interview.
In a boardroom presentation, your audience is professional and also limited in size. Hence, you need to project a softer and less intimidating look. A bright red suit will not work in such a situation.
In a boardroom situation, the key is to wear something that will relax your audience. Women should go for neutral coloured suites and introduce some colour with blouses. Do not overdo your accessories and keep it to a minimum. For men, keep your suit black or navy blue and wear a tie which is calming to the eye i.e. blue, green or grey.
Always remember to look sober and professional, in a boardroom presentation situation. You do not want to create a negative impression, even before you have spoken a single word.
When making presentations on stage for larger audiences, the event becomes a "theatre" and therefore requires a "costume"!! Therefore, a navy suited speaker will not create much of an impact at a conference of 300 - 500 people. In such a situation, you need to use more colour to win your audience's attention.
Always check the lighting before your presentation. If the area where you are speaking is dark, you will need to look bright by wearing brighter shades. When selecting the style of your suits, do take into account how your body reacts under the stress of giving presentations. For example, if you are a person who moves around when speaking then be sure that your clothes allow plenty of movement. Always be well groomed when making stage presentations to large audiences. Women should wear flattering make up that is not too heavy and have their hair done stylishly. Similarly, men should always be clean shaven, with hair neatly trimmed and styled.
3. Media (Television)
If you watch news, interviews or panel discussions, you cannot help but notice how badly some interviewees come across in terms of their appearance.
To look great at a TV interview, wear a simple outfit that does not distract viewers from your face. This means you should wear solid colours, but avoid black and white shirts or tops. Black tops make you look formless, while white can make you look pale and washed out. Also avoid red, which tends to "bleed" on camera and hence looks fuzzy. Stripes can appear to be "dancing" or moving around the screen and should be avoided.
For a TV interview or panel discussion, try a monochromatic blend of colour, to look calm and professional. For women, plunging necklines are no-no, and keep your jewellery or accessories to the minimum. Make up is a must when appearing on TV for both women and men.
Another point to note is the type of TV interview you are participating. For example a live take show, a business interview or a lifestyle interview. Needless to say, your grooming should be appropriate to the specific interview.
In conclusion, when you appear in front of an audience "you" are the focal point of attention. Hence, you need to pay attention to your grooming. Here is a checklist.
|Colour of Shirt
||Colour of Blouse
|Colour of Trouser
||Colour of Skirt
|Colour of Suit
||Colour of Suit
|Style of Suit
||Style of Suit
|Colour and style of Tie
||Colour of Shoes
|Colour of Shoes / Belt