When you are presenting at work, what you say, how you say it and what you are wearing when you say it are all important. The trouble with many business presenters is that they just do not give the clothes they wear the importance they deserve. There are so many factors that need to be taken into consideration before you decide what clothes to wear and here is a checklist that I find useful for both men and women.
The first thing to ask is whether you will be appropriately dressed. What is the nature and the topic of your business presentation? What do you think the audience/panel will be wearing and will the clothes and the colours you choose fit in? Will the colour you choose help you and be advantageous to you or will you stand out too much? It would be better to err on the side of caution here and not choose something that could look garish.
When you choose, try the clothes on and be sure they fit and are not too loose or too tight. You could have put on some weight or lost some and you don’t want to go up to the podium and feel uncomfortable. Practise moving around and waving your hands a bit to see if movement is easy. Then make sure your clothes are laundered and look good. Do this the day before so you are not harried just before you leave. The same applies to shoes. Breaking in new shoes at a business presentation could be painful if the shoes don’t fit well and you have blistered feet.
Make sure there is nothing distracting for the audience – jewellery, hairy, etc that could get their attention away from what you are saying. For women, bracelets and jewellery could make a jingly sound when you move around and this could prove to be distracting.
Check out the business presentation room before the big day and try and see yourself as the audience will. Will only your face and upper body be seen? Or will you have to walk around, in which case, check your grooming and clothes from head to foot to make sure it is all impeccable. Also check out what kind of mike will be provided and if it needs to be pinned on, choose an outfit that will make it easy.
Check out if you will be standing or sitting and choose something that will be comfortable anyway. Try and see what you will look like standing, sitting or maybe presenting to an audience that is sitting around in a circle. Picture yourself in the chair you will be on and wear something that you won’t have to feel embarrassed about. You might not want to restrict yourself to the podium – in case you want to walk around in the audience, check what you look like from the side and the back in the clothes you choose.
Whatever you choose, make sure your face is what will be in focus, not your clothes. Wear colours that flatter your skin tone. If there is going to be a backdrop behind you, find out what colour it will be and don’t wear something that will clash with it. If the presentation is going to be videotaped, avoid certain colours, especially red or white as they tend to bleed or seem too bright when they are broadcast. Very bright colours also tend to draw the attention away from the speaker to the clothes.
Once you keep these things in mind, you will realize that your choices when it comes to a business presenter’s wardrobe get smarter till soon, you’ll be picking out what to wear automatically and smartly!