No… please… torture me, kill me, but whatever you do don’t have me publically speak.
Jun 25, 2019 | By: John Michael Hoyt
PUBLIC SPEAKING IS ALL ABOUT YOUR CONFIDENCE
Get a Photographers eye to boost your appearance & confidence!
Most of you reading this are reading it because you are either a full-time speaker, do it as a side hustle or are in the midst of pursuing the possibilities. However, public speaking is the most common phobia amongst the human race, affecting roughly 75% of us. Why? Lack of confidence in the subject matter, jumping in without being well prepared and not feeling great about personal appearance. We at Photography by Misty can’t help you with most of those reasons, it’s just a matter of research, preparation and asking for honest feedback.
There are steps you can take to boost your appearance, giving you more confidence when speaking in public. As a photography business, we rarely have to speak in front of crowds; however, we often get the opportunity to focus our camera lenses and attention on people who do. What is it that you want people to remember from watching you speak? If you’re not careful, they might remember what you wore (worse, what you didn’t wear) instead of what you had to say.
Let’s focus on brand first. If you find yourself representing a company when you speak, carefully consider the image of the company. If not, treat yourself as if you are your own brand with a specific set of image goals. Your clothing should reflect this brand. Once you feel as if you’re displaying the image desired, you need to make sure you feel confident. If you work for a pet supply company, but feel ridiculous wearing a tie, donning Golden Retrievers, then try to find a middle ground between brand representation and your comfort level. It’s possible you have a particular article of clothing that shouts your name-- a ‘signature piece,’ if you will. Maybe it’s a pair of orange socks. Whatever it may be, if applicable, it should be something that makes you feel like yourself and people remember you by.
As mentioned earlier, brand image could be an influencer on the colors you choose to wear. Varying colors mean different things. Suppose you were speaking to a crowd of Subway franchisees. It may not be a bad idea to throw in a yellow or green tie and socks. If it were a speech to raise money for a non-profit, it would be smart to not bring out the Balenciaga shoes. This ties into the culture of the setting. You want to stand out, since the crowd’s attention will be on you, but for that same reason, you don’t need to go over and above to stand out. Typically you will keep your outfit modest but authoritative.
Dressing for the occasion comes in different levels. How formal is the gathering? You may need to wear a dress, or you may be fine with jeans and a collared shirt. If you don’t know, ask someone who may know, and bear in mind it is always better to be slightly overdressed than underdressed. The temperature of the venue is imperative. You don’t want to be having difficulty finding your words on stage because all you can think about is how cold your hands are; however, you don’t want the sound of your sweat dripping into the microphone to deliver more audible power than your voice.
If you are a man, and wearing a dress shirt, please, for the sake of everyone, wear an undershirt. Even if it makes you more likely to sweat, it can also serve as a moisture barrier, and it prevents nipping in colder settings. And then there’s man boobs. Not an attractiove distraction. Pull those puppies in. If an undershirt doesn’t do the trick, check out Spanx Zoned Performance Tank. And ladies, please no plunging necklines and invest in a supportive bra. It might be sexy, but we are confident you don’t want the conversation afterward to go like this, “Do you think those babies were real?” You worked long and hard on this speech, and you want your audience to take useful information back to the office.
Sleeves, please. Never ever sleeveless (men, this goes for you all the time unless you’re hitting the gym). If you’re an animated speaker, this is especially important. Arms flapping in the air is not a positive distraction. And, even if you’ve got great guns, that’s a sexy distraction and more than likely not what wer are trying to achieve.
Will you be walking about while you speak? If so, make sure your shoes will allow you to do so. Heels look great, adding a powerful and authoritative feel to your look, but if you look a baby fawn just learning to walk, break out the ballet flats instead. And make sure those shoes are polished. Nothing kills a bougie outfit like a pair of unpolished shoes.
Once you’ve run through the foremost considerations, there are some minor outfit decisions you need to take upon yourself. How will you wear your hair? As a woman, longer hairstyles tend to make you look more intelligent and good-natured, whereas shorter hairstyles reflect more confidence and an outgoing nature. For you men, it is just the opposite. It is possible you will be wearing a hat to speak, and in this case, just make sure it flows with the outfit and doesn’t cover your face. As for facial hair, it is better if it is well-kept, even if it's just well-kept stubble-- or maybe you are the guy known for having the James Harden beard, and in that case, it would be your ‘signature piece.’ Bottom line is, be yourself, but use common sense.
Are you going to wear glasses? If you need reading glasses to give the speech, than you should definitely wear them or pop them atop your head in case of emergency. Stay on top of your style game, but ordering a pair of Warby Parkers on line.
Keep in mind, if you’ve outgrown your suit, skirt or whatever you found in your closet to be appropriate for the occassion, make sure it fits well. If you have bulging panty lines or an obvious muffin top, those serve as unpleasant distractions.
There’s too tight, and there’s also too big, neither being a good situation. You should not sausage-stuff yourself into something you outgrew 5 years ago, nor should you hide in a circus tent. Know your body type and what works well with where you are today. Too much? My friend Tara (also on my Destination Transformation Team) with the Style Signature. Styles come and go, and feel free to play into them, however an outfit that fits you just right will always be in style.
Check your clothes to make sure they don’t have any defects, stains, loose threads and/or wrinkles before choosing to wear them on stage. Ask a friend, spouse or even your child (sometimes they are the most honest - embrace it) before putting yourself out there for all to see. Even if it is a minor tear or missing button, often times you will be projected onto a big screen.
With that in mind, women, be aware of how your makeup could look close up. Make yourself feel beautiful and comfortable, but try not to look like a glazed donut in HD. You typically want to stay away from stripes or other busy patterns, especially in front of a camera.
It’s important that you are comfortable up there, so as a finishing touch, keep a bottle of water nearby and a tin of breath mints.
Before your big day of taking the stage, rehearse in the outfit you plan to wear. Make sure you can move comfortably and speak confidently in the ensemble. If you are really struggling to figure out how to dress, set two outfits out the night before, and then sleep on it. Think about if you may need spare clothes. Is your time up front going to total several hours throughout the day? If so, you may need to switch shirts, and bringing backup shoes is always a smart move. Have a friend give you a 360-degree head-to-toe check to make sure you don’t have stains, rips, tears, or missing pieces. Finally, remember prepare well, smile, know your audience, ask a trusted friend to give you the once over before and give honest feedback after, and pack an emergency kit. It should consist of a stain stick, comb, lip gloss, gel, mints, hairspray, a bottle of water and a handkerchief or a box of Kleenex.
Confidence is the most beautiful thing you can wear anywhere, anytime, for any occasion.