Presentation Tip #3: Image is Everything

I think this lesson matters in other areas of life but it is especially true for presenters. 

Image is everything! 

From the time you announce yourself as the presenter before a group, they are making decisions about who you are and what you are about.  You haven’t even opened your mouth and they are deciding how credible you are and how much attention they are about to pay to what you have to say.  Some people negate their appearance because they feel as though people should listen to them since they are “expert” in their field.  Not true.  You have to establish your visual credibility as well as your intellectual.

Before preparing to present to a group, these are some of the factors that I consider.

  • Will I be sitting or standing?  There are some outfits that are great for sitting and others that look better when you are standing.  Test out your outfit to ensure it will present the best image for your brand.
  • Who is in the crowd? When I speak at a bank, I dress more conservatively than if I were speaking at a performing arts school.  You want to maintain your style, which is the core of your look, but you want to be able to adjust so that when your audience sees you they instantly feel connected.  If you look too theatrical, it may be hard for them to take you seriously.
  • Don’t over accessorize.  People are easily distracted.  Although you want to look memorable, you don’t want to do so at the risk of your outfit overshadowing your message. 
  • Grooming matters.  As a professional speaker, people look to you as a leader in your field or industry and oddly they also expect you to carry yourself as such.  Having a polished image is another way that you can build trust with your audience.
  • Be consistent.  Make sure your marketing materials are good representatives of the person your audience will meet.  If you are humorous and light hearted then your website, business cards, brochures and everything else should reflect that.

Being a professional speaker is fun and rewarding but it is also a lot of hard work behind the scenes.  Leave a comment with some of your struggles as a professional speaker or your secrets to success.


2 thoughts on “Presentation Tip #3: Image is Everything

  1. steve says:

    Well-put, especially “You have to establish your visual credibility as well as your intellectual.”

    Have you ever posted on who, how and why people actually become, or are chosen, as speakers?


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