Here’s something you might not get from a typical PowerPoint design agency… advice about what to wear for a presentation.
Of course we’d all benefit from a world where people judge us on what we do and say, not how we appear. However, the thing about humans is that we take everything in about our environment, and the people around us, and form almost immediate opinions.
Although each individual is attracted to different things and different types of people, there are many ways in which our likes are all the same. You want the audience to which you are presenting to like you, trust you, and believe what you’re saying and feeling is genuine. Therefore there are things you can do to improve the way they react to you at first glance, and those include deciding on what to wear while giving your presentation.
In all our many years of creating PowerPoint presentations we’ve never heard of a potential client demanding that those who pitch to them dress a certain way. Actually, if they did, it might make things easier.
Instead, you need to consider several things when picking your outfit for your big moment. Think about your clothing choice as the final touch on what should already be a well thought out and planned endeavour.
If you are giving a presentation on behalf of the company for which you work, your dress should reflect the values of that organisation. If you work for a start-up company that builds apps for kids and wear nothing but sweatpants and hoodies all day, you might look and feel strange in a formal suit. By all means dress up for the presentation, but try to stay in your comfort zone when picking what to wear.
Likewise, the representative of a serious law firm, there to talk about large sums of cash, would seem very much out of place in jeans and a t-shirt, even if that is what he or she wears to the office.
Making a presentation to a group of university students will definitely create a different atmosphere to a talk delivered at a retirement home. Think about where you’ll be presenting and consider if your attire is appropriate. You don’t have to go against the advice given in the previous point, but you could smarten up slightly, or even dress down.
This will all depend on your audience. If you’re prepared your presentation with thought and genuine passion, you should already know exactly who that audience is, and what they might be expecting. Let that research flavour not only the slides you present and the words you say, but also the clothes you wear.
As we mentioned in this video, presenting is a physical activity. You need to be able to move around and express yourself, so your outfit should be as comfortable as you want it to be. If you’ve decided to present in smart business wear, and you never normally wear that kind of thing, take that into consideration long before your presentation.
You don’t want to be thrown off your flow because your tie is too tight and you’re slowly panicking. If your outfit feels alien, you’ll be distracted and won’t be able to put all your focus on the audience. If you never wear a suit, but have decided you should for your presentation, rehearse in one. Wear it around in the days leading up to the presentation and get a feel for it.
No, not the distraction you’ll suffer when wearing unfamiliar clothes. Rather, the distraction your audience will face if your clothing choices are somewhat… challenging.
We’ve all sat through presentations about something we are interested in, only to forget everything we experienced due to how off-putting the speaker’s shirt was. You never want to wear something that blends you into the background, but remember you need the focus to be on you, not the garish item of clothing your auntie brought you back from Hawaii.
When considering what to wear for your presentation, above all boil it down to ‘what is my message; what am I trying to say?’
A salesperson might be representing their company, but they are also an individual conveying the message. Character and individuality will go a long way to sticking them in the minds of their prospects, especially if they are just one in a long line of presenters being heard that day.
Take on board all of the advice above, but remember to be yourself. Your audience have come to hear what you have to say and how you’re going to say it. Make sure your clothing reflects that.
If you need more help getting, get in contact with us.
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