Ever wonder what it would be like if your presentations were subject to scrutiny? Not the usual kind of scrutiny—is she prepared, does he speak clearly, are the facts in line—but the hyper scrutiny (think: freeze-frame, slow motion, GIF-enabling scrutiny) of, say, a presidential debate?
Right. So now that we’re all sweating, shivering, or both, it’s worth a) thanking our stars that we are not subject to that, and b) taking a look at it for what we can take away. Because the great thing about that kind of hyper-scrutiny is that it underscores just how crucial some aspects of presentation are.
Like a job interview, what you wear when you present says a lot about you. It’s about more than dressing up, however; it’s about wearing clothing suitable to the presentation environment, your personal comfort, and the message you wish to send. Here are 5 Things that will help you dress for presentation success:
1. No Small Stripes or Checks
If the session is being videotaped or has live video projection (IMAG), you will look like you are vibrating.
2. Know Where the Mic Goes
For lapel mics, a firm anchor point in the centre of your chest about 12 inches from your mouth is ideal (a man’s necktie is the single greatest device for mounting a clip mic). The battery pack also needs something to attach to, even if it is a headset mic. Dresses without belt or pocket usually mean one thing: attaching to your bra strap!
3. It’s Hot Up There
Between the lights and adrenaline, the stage area is often considerably hotter than the seating area. Wear something that breathes, and is forgiving of sweat stains. If wearing a suit jacket, the fateful choice is to remove it before starting to sweat, or leaving it on after reaching the point of no return!
4. Know the Code
In addition to knowing the overall dress code (is the event business, business casual, or casual?), you want to know what the other speakers will be wearing, which is often a very different question. As a general rule, you should dress one level more formal than the audience.
5. Shoeshine Time
You are exposed up there, so you want to look good. Particularly in a workshop setting, people are going to spend a lot of time looking you over. A little polish goes a long way in the self-confidence direction.