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Sometimes speakers may struggle with how to dress.  Should they dress down or dress up; that is the question.

This question is more important than it may initially seem.  The reason is that the way speakers choose to dress is part of their whole package.  You could say it’s part of their image.  How speakers look is one of the factors in executive presence, which I’ve addressed in a prior post.

It’s quite common that speakers opt to dress casually, especially with an increase in remote work. They may decide to wear attire that is extremely comfortable or perhaps clothing that is quite old or tattered. While this may be acceptable in some instances, it does not apply all the time.  What makes the most sense is to be aware of the client’s or prospect’s preferred dress style and dress in a similar manner.

Since I coach diverse clients, I may recommend thirty grooming guidelines or provide a grooming handout. Some of the pointers include the following:

  1. Make sure your clothing fits you properly.
  2. Make sure your choice of attire is wrinkle-free.
  3. Make sure your clothes are free of any stains or soil.
  4. Ensure your buttons are intact.
  5. Ensure your hair is clean.
  6. Ensure your hair is recently cut and looks stylish.
  7. Ensure your shoes are polished and scuff-free.
  8. Ensure your nails are clean and free of any remnants.
  9. Look well-rested.
  10. Do a last-minute mirror check.

These pointers represent some of the important grooming guidelines to consider, whether you’re speaking in person or virtually.  As I stated in my last post, you don’t want to run the risk of being outdated.  That applies to your choice of clothing as well. As you go over your wardrobe, if you haven’t worn a garment for an extended period, it may no longer be fashionable.  Therefore, it’s probably not a good choice to wear as a speaker.

Perhaps the best advice I can offer is to dress for the job you aspire to vs. the job you currently hold.  Your audience is assessing you on multiple levels, so you want to look neatly dressed and professional.

If you have any questions, please call me at 518-664-6004 or email me at [email protected].