Public Speaking Expert
The way you dress can affect your image as a speaker. Should you wear a dress or pants? A shirt or a sweater? When you’re in front of an audience, your appearance matters a lot. While your message is essential, the way you look can make or break your speech. Many public speakers show up at formal events dressed in Saturday-afternoon casual just to show they are so cool and confident that they can dismiss the dress code. This is a huge mistake that can ruin your reputation and affect how your audience perceives you and your message.
How to Dress for Public Speaking
Clothes are one of the key impact-makers during a speech. In today’s business world, image is everything. As a public speaker, it’s essential to dress appropriately for the occasion. Even though most venues don’t have a strict dress code for speaker, you still need to wear something that fits the business casual dress code. Choose quality clothes that make you look professional. Men can opt for a collar shirt and cotton pants. Neckties are not required. Women should wear a shirt and matching blazer or jacket, pants, or a dress. Stay away from loose pants, long baggy shorts, turtlenecks, and old T-shirts. Always try to dress just a little better than everyone else.
The best way to figure out how you should dress for a speaking gig is to analyze your audience. How do they dress? What is their social status? A traditional suit is appropriate for a corporate audience. On the other hand, if you’re speaking in front of a groups of artists, you may look snobbish in a suit. Choose a casual outfit that makes you look a little more relaxed. Ask yourself the following questions before choosing your clothes:
• Who is your audience?
• What is your speech about?
• How does the venue look like?
• Who are you?
• What is your social status?
• What will be your signature look?
• What message do you want to send?
Are Dress Codes Important?
The proper attire can enhance your public image and reinforce your message. Any public speaker looking to maintain a professional image or a certain status should invest in quality clothes. If you wear a cheap suit and old shoes, you will look cheap. Most events require public speaking attire. A dressy collared sport shirt and pants is the best choice for men. When choosing your clothes, think about your style and personality. What could make you and your speech more memorable? If you’re not sure what to wear, ask the host about dress code requirements.