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presentation training Appearance and dress p7


• Do you have a strong physical response to giving a presentation? Do you get the nervous fidgets, sweaty, hot-flushes, etc?

• Do you move about a lot and use arm and hand gestures?

Both of the above may affect your choice of clothes.

- Consider the purpose of the presentation, the audience, the venue, the atmosphere and any other conditions that may have a affect on your choice of clothes.

In general the following rules apply:

- A small audience require a non-threatening presence, especially if they are seated close to, or around you. Choose neutrals, with some colour interest in tie or shoulder area accessories, to focus interest towards your face.

- A larger audience requires a more pronounced and dramatic look. Choose stronger/deeper neutrals and colour interest. Avoid very bright and bold patterns/prints as they can be too distracting even from a distance.

- Check your background. A blue jacket will look just the thing in front of a beige panel, but may sink into insignificance against a blue panel.

- If you are presenting on a platform and may be seated at some stage, check what view the audience will get! The view may be unintentionally entertaining for them, but deeply embarrassing for you.

- Jackets always add a note of authority. This is enhanced if the jacket is worn buttoned up.

- A matched suit (male or female) presents a higher level of authority then an unmatched jacket/trouser, blazer/slacks, jacket/skirt, jacket/dress combination.

- Deeper colours project an air of authority and formality. Lighter colours project an air of approachability and friendliness.

- Avoid wearing anything that is too exaggerating e.g. too tight, too loose, too short, too long, too fashionable/trendy, etc.

Appearance and Dress

- Keep the look clean and uncluttered, this encourages the audience to look at your face as it is the most interesting part of you. It also gives you less opportunity to play, fuss and fidget with frills, buttons, loose ends, flaps, chains etc.

- Men – check where your tie ends. If you are not wearing a jacket, or prefer to have your jacket undone, your tie acts as a very obvious pointer, and will direct the audiences attention to a particular spot on your torso! This could be potentially embarrassing for you.

- Women – if you are likely to bend at any stage, i.e. switch the OHP on etc, then do not wear a long chain, or string of beads. There is considerable potential for such accessories to drape themselves around any protruding body parts and not only focus attention on a charming scene, but frame it into the bargain.

- Avoid wearing brand new (unlaundered) shirts and blouses – then often have a finishing agent put into fabric to make them appear crisp. However this may irritate the skin of your neck – causing you to fiddle with your collar – and/or give rise to a red rash or flushed look – which may give others the impression that you are nervous or unsure of yourself and message.

- If you are wearing brand new shoes with a smooth sole beware of polished floors – you may walk onto the platform from the left side with a measured and confident stride, only to slide graciously off stage right! New shoes are notoriously slippery until broken in.

Remember, your aim when choosing and wearing clothes for business presentation is to focus the attention of the audience on your face.


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