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What does colour have to do with your public speaking presentation?

Everything! Your personal public speaking presentation is as important as your message. A large part of successful speaking in public is looking, acting and feeling the part.

What to wear when all eyes are on you?

You’re introduced. You walk on stage to applause. Before you say a single word,  your audience are taking in your appearance and forming a judgement. Are you worthy of their time and attention?

It is purely human nature,  and rather than worry what people are thinking about, you aim to make that first impression count.

If you want to create a good impression, your clothes, style and colour choice make a difference.

Know your audience

Before you can decide on what to wear to best suit the occasion, find out about your audience. Knowing your audience is a fundamental part of preparing for your public speaking presentation. The more you know about your audience, the easier it is to craft an effective message centered on their needs.

The same goes for how you look. If you know your audience, you can dress to enhance your speech and reinforce your message.

I’m zesty!

I recently experienced a colour consultation with Kate from Colour Me Kate.

Kate is a personal colour and style consultant and in an expert on all things colour and style. With a flair for style and fashion, and her expert eye for colour, by the end of the session I felt confident about the best colours to wear.

Public speaking colour and style

I discovered that my colours are zesty and was pleased to learn that many of my clothes were in colours that suit me. With a few tweaks and the addition of some classic items in complimentary  shades, I now feel confident that my clothes will enhance my message.

Colours send subconscious messages. Before you decide what to wear, think about your message for your public speaking presentation. Are you trying to influence, be authoritative, maybe convey empathy?

Consider how colour evokes emotion. Chose a colour that not only suits you but also is matched with your message.

Colour is such powerful communicator that has  an emotional and physiological effect on both the wearer and the observer.

5 tips to  dress for success when you speak in public

#1 Comfort

If you are not comfortable you cannot perform your best. Shoes that pinch, a hemline that is too short, or the tell tale perspiration marks underarm, are all avoidable things that will play on your mind.

If you are not comfortable you won’t be fully present in the moment.

#2 Plan for mishaps

Whilst we hope to never have a wardrobe malfunction on a Janet Jackson scale, there are times when you will be caught out. Common things that have happened to me are: coffee spill, text marks on my clothes, toothpaste on my skirt or a popped button.

Have a spare top, some cleansing wipes and a small sewing kit.

#3 Avoid distractions

During your public speaking presentation you want the audience to focus on you. Avoid jangling jewelry or keys, noisy shoes, and strong colours and patterns that won’t look good under lights or camera.

#4 No risk clothing

As you select your clothing, consider hemlines, necklines, transparency and the correct fit. You want all eyes to be on you and the focus on your message. Don’t give your audience anything else to get distracted by.

#5 Look good, feel good

Whatever you decide to wear when you speak in public, ensure you look smart, professional, elegant and  stylish, and that your clothes fit and are complimentary to your body shape and colouring.

Remember when you look good, you feel good and this will automatically boost your performance when you speak in public.


About the author

Lisa Evans helps leaders and entrepreneurs to craft compelling business stories and become exceptional speakers. Lisa is a certified speaker coach, TEDx speaker coach, four times author, NLP practitioner, graphic recorder and visual storyteller, and improvisational actor. 

She has coached thousands of leaders across a range of industries, including resources, banking, finance, engineering, retail and sales as well as not-for-profit and community associations. 

If you wish to take advantage of a complimentary session in order to chat about how you can become an exceptional and successful speaker with a stand-out brand, then use this link to book a time to chat.

Here’s how I may help you

Business Storytelling Coaching – together we can get started to create your suite of stories. A minimum of three sessions is recommended 1:1 in person or virtually via Zoom.

Executive Speaker Coaching – if you have an upcoming guest speaking opportunity, funding pitch, conference talk or you want to be an outstanding speaker, we can work together on your technique. You will see the results after one session.

Storytelling for Leaders Interactive Workshops – I can come to you, or we can host a workshop offsite for your team. From half-day to two-days immersive, this customised workshop is an ideal way to kick start your business storytelling strategy and get the whole team telling stories.

Keynote/Guest Speaking at your next conference or event – I have several topics to choose from ranging from a 30-minute talk up to a 90-minute interactive session.