Public Speaking and Dress

Elmer Fudd's Clothing Tips:The Wardrobe Malfunction)

Check your clothes before you leave. Public speaking and dress are interrelated issues - what do you think when someone's fly is undone? It might seem like just an embarrassing situation, but unfortunately (fortunately?) first impressions play a large part in how the audience receives a speech. Take a minute in front of the mirror to make sure you're giving the impression you want to give. Don't obsess, but do care.

More Clothing Tips:

  • Don't distract. Be refined, be catchy, fit the venue, but you are the focus, not your clothing (unless it's also your visual aid).
  • Test gestures in the mirror. Stand tall, throw your arms up, bend over, everything you might do on-stage. Make sure other people aren't seeing something you aren't!
  • Be too formal – overdress rather than underdress.
  • Don't be shiny. Watch out for jewlery that reflects light. You don't people blinded when they look at you.
  • Wear solid colors. Ties, skirts, jackets... they convey confidence and are hard to mess up.
  • Check buttons and zippers. Avoid embarrassments before they happen.
  • Have confidence! After you're out, don't worry about how you look. It's about you and your speech, not your clothes. Clothes don't make a speech – nor will they break it!

Impressions matter. Understanding how what you wear affects what people hear is one small step on the way to becoming a speaker. Happy speaking!

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