In this blog Fiona outlines some top tips to make a great impression when giving a presentation, whether that’s to one person or many.
It can be difficult to appear professional and credible if you are in a work environment where suits aren’t the norm. Consider these five easy ways to deliver with impact and improve your confidence.
As always, giving a good presentation requires preparation. Not only do you need to do your homework on your subject matter, but also your audience.
1. Know who you are presenting to
What are their expectations and needs? Now, think about their expectations of you – your knowledge, ability to convey that, and your personal presentation. You want to “fit in” in terms of your appearance, but you do need to convey an air of authority … demonstrating your knowledge and confidence on the topic. If you dress the part, you will have more confidence. Now, I’m not talking about suits and jackets. There are some things you can do that will subtly elevate your presence and give you authority.
For a male, wearing a collared shirt and smart long trousers (whether a tie would be appropriate or not), and for a female, a dress or skirt and top that doesn’t reveal too much would be my recommendation. Of course there could be exceptions to these ideas for each sex, but it is an illustration of what should be acceptable.
To maintain the audience’s interest and attention, you need to look your most attractive so that you are visually engaging. Think about TV presenters – they pay attention to the things in this blog and look visually appealing.
2. Hosiery and socks
In hot weather it can be tempting to do away with hosiery or socks. If you are giving a presentation, I would urge against this. Keeping this item of clothing as part of your ensemble shows polish, and that you care about your audience. It is the little things that matter.
On the subject of hosiery or socks, think about the message you are giving if you wear really noticeable items – they can distract from you and your message, and if they are too funny can suggest that you shouldn’t be taken seriously.
An important aspect of your appearance is your footwear. It doesn’t matter if it isn’t high-heeled, or the latest trend, but it does matter if your footwear isn’t clean! If the heel is ruined, and it looks like your footwear has seen better days, you will be giving a poor impression to your audience.
Again, thinking about brushing your hair and having clean, tidy nails can be an important factor in your audience’s reception of your words! You do not necessarily need to have had a professional manicure, but ensuring your nails don’t convey your recent gardening activity, or hobby tinkering with cars, would be well-advised.
Of course I’m an advocate of colour. Think about children’s clothing and toys. Why is it that they are so colourful? Yes, it is to attract children to wear the clothes and to play with the toys and enjoy themselves. Why, then, does colour drift out of our lives and when we go to work we think black is all there is, or “professional”? Would this be your most appealing look? Just injecting a little bit of colour may hold your audience’s attention and interest a little bit longer. You do not need to look like a parrot or stand out wildly, if that would make you feel uncomfortable. You don’t want to distract from your message, just enhance it by looking your best. You do need to dress for your comfort too, of course, but I urge you to think about creating a bit of impact with colour. I am sure that it will not be against any rules to do that, even if it is a scarf, tie, shirt or skirt.
Huge thanks to my colleague, Fiona Mobbs for contributing this guest blog:
Fiona Mobbs is a personal stylist (Your Colour & Style Consultant) based near Southampton. She has been helping personal and business clients for over a decade feel comfortable in their dress, how to dress for impact, and be appropriate with their wardrobe for their whole life circumstances.
Get in touch with Fiona by email or phone (07469 246722) to see what she can do for you.