I posted this observation on my Facebook page 26 May 2015.
As I buttoned the cuffs on a currently white shirt this morning, I looked at the shoes I had chosen to wear (scuffed black). As I reached for the easy apply no mess shoe polish (black), a voice from somewhere yelled – are you mad? Since there was no-one else in the room I believe I was channelling at least one of my friends similarly blessed with the talent of falling over nothing, dropping bottles of pickles and the like. Was that you Marion Ross or Nancy Kris or Ingrid Cliff? Shirt almost completely white still!
My momentary nonsense aside, I ask this question seriously: “Does it matter much what you wear and whether there is a mark on the cuff of your shirt?”
I would hope the answer is generally, no. This is assuming of course that you haven’t come dressed as a clown for a formal awards presentation or bathers for the team meeting in the manager’s office.
Do you give any thought to the clothes you will wear when you are going to make a presentation.
Have you chosen something that suits your personality, the topic, the audience, the event, the venue?
Not many of us could pull off Dame Edna Everage’s creations in any setting but what we can pull off is making our clothes part of the whole picture.
The ideal is for you to be comfortable and stable in the spotlight, being able to stand confidently and your clothes don’t speak for you – you are in the driver’s seat.
I am not, for a moment, suggesting that you all dress in drab colours. Far from it, whatever your choice is, make sure that it is a match for you first and foremost.
If you are stepping outside of your usual sartorial boundaries, (tuxedos and full-length gowns are not commonly worn by most of us…. ) try your best to make those clothes invisible.
Keep the focus of attention on your dynamic presentation not the colour of your lipstick, the length of your hair or the black scuff mark on your white shirt.
The first and best thing to wear for any event where you are speaking in public is your smile, then your knowledge, skills, courage and preparation will carry you forward in the performance.
Frances Cahill is a speaker, a master pitch polisher and public speaking coach. Her programs offer a unique combination of practical drama techniques and the theory of public speaking. Drop a line or give her a call for the chance to find a new level of confidence in your presentation skills.