By Lisa Newport, Regional President at PSA East Midlands
You’ve got the gig, you’re speaking. Whether it’s a presentation for colleagues, a conference stage or you’re delivering an online programme there are a few things around your personal style that you might want to consider.
- Get the level right
Be one level smarter than your audience, as all eyes are on you. Plan ahead and do a dress rehearsal in good time at home. Have a back-up outfit in mind just in case you aren’t ‘feeling it’ on the day. The devil is in the detail – check for things like loose threads and buttons, or labels sticking out of your collar. Polish your shoes (not forgetting the backs). Do you look like you are worth your fee?
Look the part – whatever that might mean to you. Creative and quirky, warm and approachable, serious and business like? Think about how you want to be perceived and consider your outfit against that criteria. You might want to create a ‘youniform’ that becomes your signature look and gives you complete confidence to own the room.
- Don’t blend with the backdrop
Find out what your backdrop colour will be in advance. You don’t want to appear as a floating head on the stage. If you’re going to be seated on a settee you don’t want to look like part of the furniture. If that’s not possible consider having a backup outfit or jacket just in case.
- Avoid the fiddle factor
Wear clothes that you’re comfortable in and that stay where they are supposed to. Constant fiddling, readjusting your collar or pulling at your jacket will distract your audience. Remember that hemlines will rise if you are seated as a panel guest. Style your hair to ensure it stays off your face so that your eyes and mouth can be seen.
- Choose fabrics wisely
Nerves plus lights can make you feel the heat. Some fabrics show it more than others, such as silk. Choose lightweight, cool fabrics in darker colours if this is an issue for you. Solid colours are better than stripes, checks or busy patterns if you are being filmed, or you’re presenting online.
Don’t wear clothes that are louder than you.
Understanding which colours suit you best will make your skin appear more radiant. Any colour that matches colours within your eyes is going to suit you. Look at the inside of your bottom lip. I guarantee that if you match it up and wear a top or shirt in that colour, you’ll look radiant! This is a great way of finding your perfect neutral lipstick colour and your best colour for blusher.
Black is not a great colour for most people near the face, as it can be draining. Teal, navy and purple are great universal colours and suit all skin tones.
Matching your natural colouring works best; wear generally lighter colours if you’re light in colouring, darker and brighter colours if you’re dark in colouring. However, bear in mind that light and bright colours draw attention to the area you are wearing them so avoid them on your bottom half only – you want the attention to be on your face.
Wear them in beforehand so they are comfortable. You don’t want to be thinking about your feet when you’re speaking. Make sure your shoes don’t squeak as you walk around and avoid stiletto heels that can easily pierce and get stuck in temporary floor covering.
If you like colourful shoes make sure to repeat the colour somewhere else in your outfit such as a tie, a pocket handkerchief, jewellery, lipstick or scarf, so the audiences’ eyes don’t get stuck at your feet. Wearing a pair of shoes in the same colour as your hair forms a wonderful top and tailing effect and creates a visual loop which is pleasing to the eye.
- Make up
If there are bright lights you may need to dial up the colour but ALWAYS blend carefully. Learn from or hire a professional if you know your face will be in close up on camera or blown up on a big screen.
- Foundation garments
Get your underwear right so that your outerwear will look great. The audience does not need to see the shape of your undies also be mindful that some fabrics become see-through when there are bright lights. Remember that infamous Lady Di photo?
Avoid distracting, noisy jewellery and choose it to suit your body scale, keeping it in proportion. Elizabeth Taylor famously said, “Big girls need big diamonds”.
If you are a glasses wearer, invest in the anti-reflective coating so that lights are not bouncing off them or consider contact lenses.
Are you going to be mic’d up? Is there somewhere unobtrusive for it to be clipped onto? Lapel mic wires might need to be obscured inside clothing and the tech team might need to do this for you. Battery packs can be lumpy and heavy, think about where they could be obscured.
Follow my simple tips, for online and offline speaking and you’ll be able to make the best impact on your audience.
Lisa works with people who are ready to elevate their personal style confidence. They know who they are and it’s time to show it. She helps them dial up their appearance while authentically expressing their identity, looking good and feeling fabulous.
More tips and advice at www.lisanewportstyle.com.