Presentations aren’t a fashion show–nobody cares if your suit is Armani or from Men’s Warehouse–but your appearance can help sway your audience more than you’d think. Investors, for instance, will feel more comfortable investing in a well-groomed individual than a disheveled one any day. So straighten your tie, dust off your shoes and pay attention to the following advice on how to improve your appearance.
Dress for your audience. Investors and buyers want to know their money is going to good use, so play the part of the conservative business person. The following tips for looking professional:
- Wear a well-tailored suit of high-quality fabrics.
- Keep it simple, but not boring. Wear neutral colors. Women can wear a few well-placed accessories.
- Make-up should be as neutral as possible. Try to look healthy and rested.
Pay attention to details. If you’re asking for money or looking to create a business relationship with these individuals, show them that you’ll be as meticulous with their time and money as you are with yourself. Check the following before leaving the house:
- Pant hems should be secure.
- Shoes are polished. There’s nothing worse than noisy shoes in a quiet room.
- Men should have a recent haircut and trimmed facial hair.
Avoid distractions. You want your audience to be paying attention to your presentation–not your clothes. The following advice to keep it simple:
- If you wear glasses, keep the lines clean; don’t wear funky-colored frames. If contacts are an option, wear them instead.
- Keep your documents and personal items in one bag that’s clean and simple.
Be comfortable. Make sure you’re comfortable in your outfit. A polished appearance is the perfect complement to a polished presentation.
Always dress as well as or slightly better than the audience. Dress as well as the audience, or slightly better, but the emphasis is on slightly. You don’t want a big mismatch. If you dress worse than the audience, of course, you’ll simply look like you shouldn’t be there.
Dress in something that allows you to move. A speaker needs to be able to move on stage, and some fashions restrict movement so severely that you’ll look ridiculous when you try to walk. That won’t work. You have to be able to get on and off – and around – the stage.
Dress strategically. Think about the audience. The accessory you can wear, or slight change that you can make, will allow you to stand out from the crowd, without looking freakish. The costume you wear sends a message; figure out what you want to say with your style.