How to Dress for A Speaking Engagement
So you’ve been asked to speak in front of a group. You get to share you message or area of expertise and connect with people in real life.
You’ve prepped and planned. Written your note cards. Getting the word out so you fill the chairs. You are ready! Or are you?
The night before comes and you’re going through your closet to pick out your look. “I guess I’ll work black head to toe?” “I have a suit I haven’t worn in a while I might be able to squeeze into,” “Oh it doesn’t matter what I wear, I’m there to talk and teach not look snobby., “Oh sh*t, I have nothing to wear to this thing.”
These are common thoughts for anyone to have before speaking in front of a group, big or small. To you it might seem small but your presence and how you present yourself can make all the difference in how people will accept what you have to say as valuable.
If you are a successful, professional (what ever industry) and you’ve spent time, money and years into your expertise you understand the importance of branding and voice. That’s no different with your own personal aesthetic.
We want your audience to think wow she looks great I cant wait for her to speak. She looks so put together- I want be a boss like her. She has a strong, confident presence. She really knew what she was talking about- I can tell she cares about her business and personal growth.
Here are ways to prepare your look for your speaking engagement. If you’d rather watch me talk about these tips click here!
) Who are you?
If your company or platform has a specific brand and voice then your physical appearance should reflect that as well. If your brand is earthy and you’re in a spiritual industry your look should reflect a more whimsical, earth-toned palette to connect with your audience.
Does your brand have very specific, bold colors? Try dressing in similar colors for your audience to connect you to the brand.
If you’re speaking on financial freedom to Millennials, you would want to look clean cut but approachable so what you’re speaking about resonates with a younger crowd but you too look like someone who has found the freedom you’re speaking about. Trustworthiness is key in your audience listening and applying what you have to speak about.
Whether you’re planning a workshop or invited to speak on a panel, you need to understand your audience. Is this an annual event? Look as previous events to see photos of who attended, the decor and set up, and previous speakers.
You should know if you’re going to be standing up on stage with bright lighting and hundreds of people with their eyes on you or an intimate conference room with 20 guest.
Avoid white alone. White is unpredictable with lighting and if you get images/video (which you want) chances are the lighting could wash you out. You can wear a white blouse but pair it with a blazer. You can wear white structured trousers but pair it with a red blouse.
Don’t wear solid black. Do wear color. As slimming as black is, we are all visual creatures and if you are in emerald green while the other speakers/panels are in black, you’ll be more memorable to your audience. You don’t have to be in bold colors but wearing color is helpful when drawing in attention and keeping it captive in unison with what you have to say.
When it comes to patterns you can certainly wear them because it adds texture but there are a few things to avoid. Stay away from a pinstripe or a tight hounds-tooth print because it distorts in video/photos. You can wear florals and other prints but try wearing ones that have neutrals with a pop of color verses all bright colors.
The night before you speak make sure your outfit is pressed and steamed. Going on stage with a wrinkly and frumpy outfit doesn’t make you look like the expert that you are.
If you are speaking to a room of people on leadership, you want to emulate the kind of person that they should aspire to be. If you are bestowing knowledge on how to help someone else level-up you should represent what you’re speaking about. So look put together!
You need these items in your speaking kit: Lint brush roller, double sided sticky tap, tiny sewing kit with black/white thread, safety pins, static guard, wrinkle release. These items will help when dressing or if you’re in a last minute bind.
There you have it! My tips on how to prepare your wardrobe for your speaking engagement. These apply no matter the number of people or industry. If you’re focused on helping others help yourself first so they can look up to you. This will gain you more clients which equals more money!
Level-up by taking care of your own appearance while you focus on sharpening your skills.
Want to learn more about hiring a wardrobe stylist to build your own brand aesthetic? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.