Episode 4: How to Choose What to Wear for Your Next Presentation
Brittney: Choosing what to wear for your next presentation should not be an obstacle. Stay tune to this episode for a simple guide on how to overcome this challenge.
Narrator: Welcome to the Presentation Mentor Podcast where we uncover the secret ingredients presenters used to woo their audiences and wow their listeners. Whether in a boardroom or a ballroom. You’ll learn how to achieve presentation greatness!
So, prepare yourself for standing ovations.
Here are your hosts, Scott and Brittney Schwertly.
Scott: Hey guys, welcome back! I’m Scott.
Brittney: I’m Brittney!
Scott: And today, we’re gonna talk about a topic that tends to trip people off quite a bit and that’s the whole idea of how to dress for your next presentation.
I know personally, when I was first getting into the presentation space where I found myself being required to speak at certain different events or organizations. I was often struggling usually than I prefer with “what would I actually wear and how true to myself do I need to be. And, how much do I need to accommodate the people I am speaking to? And, do I need to dress up? Do I need to dress down? And, I’ve always sort of wrestled with it and I kinda said enough is enough.
And, I kinda really figured out, really kinda of three things, three guidelines that I know, I like to utilize and Brittney would like to utilize it as well. Just to kind of give you or give ourselves a rule of thumb to sort of operate from when thinking about what to wear for that next presentation.
So, I love to share these there things with you guys today and we’re just gonna unpack them one by one. So, the first one that we wanna talk about is, when you’re thinking about how you should dress for your next presentation, you should dress according to your brand.
So the best way to describe this is, if you work for a really stodgy, stuffy corporate organization, then, hehe! (Laughing)
Brittney: (Laughing) You can tell how Scott feels about corporations
Scott: (Laughing) Just based on that tone, right? Then, then you should probably dress corporate stuffy and stodgy. Now….
Brittney: Which is in your terms would be a suit and tie?
Scott: Yes, exactly! And then, if you come into the opposite end of that spectrum, if you work for a hip and cool agency
Scott and Brittney both laughing hard.
Scott: Then, you probably wanna dress hip and cool coz that’s, that’s the brand you represents. Of course, I’m a little bias there but
Brittney: (laughing) Just so little of it.
Scott: Its that I come from the agency space but pretty simple rule of thumb there though. Just dress according to your brand, that’s the organization that you represent, so dress accordingly. But, for those…
Brittney: Yeah! I think, I think the hard part is when your brand is yourself. For a lot of you who is listening. Your brand is you and you set the phase for that and whether you are the CEO of your own company or you are simply representing in your presentation an idea that you yourself own.
And so, that’s where you have to really know yourself and hmm. We get into how your audience switch into that in just a little bit. But in that case, your brand is yourself and you have to kinda know who you are and so if you are like Scott. Scott is a little bit more of a casual guy and so the thought of wearing a tie is……
Scott: It’s been like three years since I worn a tie.
Scott and Brittney both laughing.
Brittney: He wore one at our wedding. That’s it. In that time, I have know it’s the only time I’ve seen him wear a tie. We just find that too his and I love him for that. But he’s a little bit more of a casual guy and if you are someone who enjoys dressing up, then, I don’t shy away from that. And, what’s funny is, I am someone who enjoys dressing up.
So, if my brand were myself, I would be a bit more tailored and I would be wearing heels and I, you know, would be very coordinated in that way. Uhmm! However, don’t, don’t lose the fact that you want to represent yourself as your brand. You also don’t want to draw attention away from your information that you’re sharing. So, as you are representing yourself and as you representing your brand, now is not the time to wear your flashiest accessory or the loudest shoes that you own. Or you know, what have you, you want to be professional even if you’re casual.
So, just to keep it, keep it simple but keep it yourself.
Scott: Yeah! I know, I was training a female executive probably about, a year or two ago and just going through to some coaching and she had bracelets and they’re really pretty but they are really really loud. And so, any time she did something just with her hand and made sort of rapid movements or impromptu type of stuffs, it’ was actually more of a destruction than a value-add when she was up there giving her talks.
So, yeah! Definitely, you know. Yeah! You have to be mindful of what you are choosing to wear.
Brittney: Right! Represent your brand. Represent yourself but be careful to not be too destructing on what you choose.
From that’s where I think, you know, audience comes in, you have to know your audience. You know, are you going to speak to a corporate audience or you’re going to speak, you know, I am always think about if Scott often hands to speak to local MBA programs so their graduate students.Obviously that’s a more casual and relax atmosphere. Their not coming to school in suits and ties, although, that maybe, eventually, their professions. So, he can be a little bit more casual in that space but there are time where he will go speak to more corporate brands. They’re several brands that you trained from time to time. And you’re obviously, a little bit more corporate in that setting.
And, so I think you need to be versatile with yourself too. Know your brand, know yourself and But even Scott as a more casual guy. You have kind of like a more tailored professional kind of look that you go for. But when you are speaking to a more casual audience, you kind of have your, your, standard, I don’t know… outfit that you kind goes with that. It was like, so tell me if as a casual person, i think that’s probably when people more so get trip up about this.
What, what is the most professional tailored look for you if you’re speaking to a corporate audience.
Scott: Yeah! Recently, I’ve been able, I would probably say six or seven times out of ten. Recently , I guess, because America has become more casual with their approach. They’ve been able to get away with, sometimes, even in some cases, a nice pair of jeans and a sports jacket. It’s very rare now that I’ll actually wear a tie for speaking engagement. But, for more of those corporate settings that we’re describing, I usually, slack or sports jacket or jeans and a sports jacket usually will work for me.
I feel like it’s kind of just on that a bridging edge between casual and like professional.
Brittney: Yeah! And I think when it’s really, I feel like I’ve seen you when some really more corporate atmosphere. You wear a button down under that jacket even if it’s with jeans and if it’s a little bit more of casual atmosphere like you had a training gig in San Diego that was at a, like a waterside hotel, you know , it was like on the water hotel, so that was the time when you brought us shaggy be wore a t-shirt underneath.
Scott: Yeah! So kind a more relax.
Scott: So you kinda have to have a few things disposal there, some sort of mix and match. But, Uhhmmm! Yeah! But, again, obviously, be true to yourself in that case. And you’ll know what is considered dressed up for you and what’s now. You’ll gonna make the right judgement.
Brittney: Yeah! But I think that where your audience can really help you, you know, lean one way or the other. So, you obviously want to match your audience somewhat. You don’t want to be the sort some in the crowd, again, just making sure that they’re paying attention to your information and what your sharing rather than being confused of about, you know, what you look like or what you have one.
Scott: Yeah! And whenever doubt you, you can always, you know, overdress, you know for guys who specifically, you can remove that coat, you can remove that tie. So if you find yourself really stunny now, like oh, I really did overdress for this, again you can remove those items to get, you know, kind at that same level as you audience or maybe slightly above. It that’s kinda nice rule of thumb too. Just slightly, just slightly a little tiny bit overdressed than your audience.
Just to kinda create a healthy distinction but again, you don’t wanna have this barrier between you and your audience. I think, these days, it’s about trying to humanize yourself the best way you can. And you don’t want your wardrobe to b, be that wall, or that barrier.
Brittney: Right! I totally agree.
Scott: Perfect! So, we’ve covered two so far. Dress according to your brand!. You got to be mindful both your company and yourself if you are the brand. Two, we’ve just talk about know your audiences and dress accordingly. And then we get in, get in to the third item which is dressing according to your objective.
But before we do that, we’re gonna take a quick break. And we’ll see you on the other side here.
Brittney: We’re back with the third tip on how to dress for your next presentation and Scott hinted in it, just a little bit before the break. But the third tip is your objective.
What are you asking your audience for?
Scott: Yeah! The main thing that you wanna keep in mind to your is, let’s say your an entrepreneur and you’re out there trying to raise money and your asking for three point one million dollars for your new start up. Well then, dress how someone would dress if they’re asking for three point one million dollars.
And so, it’s gonna take a little bit of, obviously, careful judgement on your end, to choose accordingly, to choose wisely on what you’re gonna choose to wear. And again, it’s brilliant, again, be simply dictated by what your objective. What are you trying to accomplish? What are you really asking from the audience? So, again, using the MBA example, if you’re simply showing up to maybe your objective is to educate and to teach then, you know, you don’t have to be as flashy in that situation coz you’re there to simply add value.
But, if your objective is to have someone open up their wallet and buy your products or buy your service then, again, choose wisely in that situation on what you choose to wear.
Brittney: Exactly! Yeah! I think that’s a great tip. Because, I think often times, we forget about that objective part particularly if there’s, you know, something is sensitive as money in, money involved.
Scott: Yeah! Definitely! For sure. So there you have it guys. Three simple guidelines or tips that you kinda keep in your bag pocket to make sure that when you’re staring at your outfits or your wardrobe….
Scott: (Laughing) the next time you give a talk, keep these three kind of rules in mind. Again, dress according to your brand. Dress according to your audience or dress according to your objective. Or you kind a consider all three when considering what to wear for your next presentation.
Brittney: Yeah! And one of the favorite tips to tell people that actually a stylish told me once. If you’re, if you’re not sure of what your personality is and clothing, or and what you feel like how do you dress for who you are or those kind of things. You know, find your favorite celebrity or thought leader that you admire their style. So, go look at someone else that you admire their style. Or just someone that you admire and look through some, you know, google photos and what they wear or look at their TED talk or just some different examples on what they would choose to wear and that will give you some ideas. So that if you’re looking in your closet and you’re drawing a blank or you feel like there’s something missing and you’re not sure when you go out to the mall what to get next. You know, don’t be afraid to use other people as an example.
Scott: Yeah! That, that’s a great suggestion. I actually had a epic fail, a couple of years ago. I finally grew up my hair and so I took, ah, used that same advice. So I had two photos on my phone of Keith Ervin and Tom Cruise when I had long hair.
Brittney: (Laughing) I can’t…..
Scott: And, that was an epic fail so. But I do believe it that, that does work. I just ah…
Brittney: Maybe not for hairstyle. (Laughing)
Scott: (Laughing) Yeah! I just, I chose the wrong two people. So really that works.
Brittney: Yeah! I think, these, these are great tips! Oh my goodness!
These are great tips to get someone started or get you started on the, you know, if you’re looking at your closet like Scott says and your just drawing a blank and you’re not sure what you’re supposed to do. It’s really just about these three simple tips. You know, you’re looking at your brand, your audience, and your objective and that will give you a good job start. And if you’re still at a blank, you know, find some TED Talks or people that you admire or thought leaders, celebrities and you know, draw that inspirations from their style too.
Scott: Yeah! Exactly! Ah, where there you have it guys. Those are three guidelines for how you should dress for your next presentations and we’ll be back in a few a days with episode number 5. And, we’ll see you then. Have a good one!
Narrator: Thanks for joining Scott and Brittney on another episode of The Presentation Mentor Podcast.
If you are looking to improve your presentation skills, be sure to check out The Presentation Mentor Online Course at presentationmentor.com.