BODY LANGUAGE SPEAKS LOUDER THAN VOICE WHILE PRESENTING

by Traci McBride

Q: I’m preparing for my first major presentation in front of our entire company of 200, and I am not sure how to dress. I will be on stage and my image will be projected onto screens — including close-ups.

A: Taking the spotlight is exciting. Remember the percentages: 60 percent is VISUAL, 30 percent is BODY LANGUAGE and only 10 percent is VERBAL. Consider where your audience’s attention will be as you prepare your presentation. Let me share some tips to keep in mind.

Just as you practice what you will say, practice while wearing the outfit you choose for the event. Its best to know how the clothes feel, especially if they are new or you have not worn all the pieces in the same combination before. I actually suggest videotaping yourself in your chosen outfit, shoes included, as you go through your speech. A dress rehearsal will save you from awkward moments.

body-language-group

Being visible is the key to keeping the attention of the audience. Learn ahead of time what your surroundings look like, including the background color of the room. This will help you make the best choices. Consider every angle of your appearance. If you’re a woman, be mindful of cleavage as well as the length of your skirt or dress. If you are on a stage, you won’t want to be giving a “special show” to the front row. Be aware of what angles the cameras will be shooting from — up high, level with you or from below. You wouldn’t want a camera to record you from above at such an angle it appears a normally modest neckline is showing too much. Keep it simple but show your shape. Avoid bulky fabrics like sweaters and complicated designs, as they might not present well for a larger audience.

Wear your POWER COLOR! Your energy will be at its best, and others will respond to your energy even if they are not interested in your words. You want to attract their attention and keep it throughout the presentation. Wear neutrals, rich jewel tones or brights.

Avoid all black, as it makes you invisible. You won’t stand out because (as you will see) that is what most of the audience is wearing. Strong contrast is better than going too subtle, but limit yourself to two or three colors to avoid looking busy. Try splashes of bold prints that are easily recognizable, such as leopard, strips or polka dots. We don’t want anyone spending time trying to figure out if it’s a panda or a tiger on your tie or scarf!

Wear flattering, comfortable shoes so you can easily navigate on stage and any stairs. Yes, a shoe can be both flattering and comfortable! Remember, you are commanding the room and are the authority, so a longer and leaner look communicates just that. Ladies, 2-inch to 3-inch heels are good. Please avoid stilettos, as they are never the right choice for professional meetings, and we don’t want the audience distracted from your message watching you teeter on the stage. On the other hand, avoid clunky heavy shoes – this applies to both men and women. Men, avoid wearing the weekend Docker shoes with the thick sole. Go for a sleeker dress shoe in leather.

ABOUT TRACI MCBRIDE
Traci McBride is the wardrobe stylist of TeeMcBee Image Consulting and is a longtime supporter of nonprofit Dress for Success-Cleveland. She encourages readers to subscribe to her timely newsletter, schedule a style strategy call, or request Tee Speaks to infuse your staff or organization with a passionate professional punch of style to elevate and benefit everyone. Visit www.STYLEDbyTee.com to connect and be inspired.

About Traci McBride

Traci McBride is the wardrobe stylist of TeeMcBee Image Consulting and is a longtime supporter of nonprofit Dress for Success-Cleveland. She encourages readers to subscribe to her timely e-zine, schedule a style strategy call, or request her to infuse your staff or organization with a passionate professional punch of style to elevate everyone. Visit www.STYLEDbyTee.com to connect and be inspired.

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