Speaker: Professional Appearance

What did you think of the appearance of today’s Zoom speakers?  Quite a contrast from looking sharp to totally unacceptable. Here are a few tips professional speakers use and may wish to consider to look your best in front of any audience.

Speaker: Professional Appearance

Make sure you are well groomed and dressed conservatively.

Ask your host how the audience will be dressed.  As the speaker, you always want to be one notch more dressed up than your audience.

 Avoid grey or white colors.  You will look washed-out, particularly if you are dealing with spotlights.  Instead seek light and dark blues.  They provide a much better contrast.

About one hour before walking on stage, get rid of all loose non-essential items on your person.  These include car keys, wallets, loose change, cell phones, pens, college rings and lapel pins.  Your goal is to present a neat, neuter appearance with nothing about your appearance providing the slightest distraction to the audience.

About forty-five minutes prior, get mic-ed up.  Do an audio check again noting where the room’s speakers are located.  Stand by them and do another audio check.  Will this produce a loud squelch?  This is the time to check.

 Practice your “audience visits” now noting placement of cords, tables, chairs   and other potentially hazardous obstacles that may be in you planned path to the audience.  

If your presentation is scheduled after a breakfast, lunch or dinner, avoid anything that has the slightest chance of staining or splashing onto your clothes.   

About 30 minutes prior, conduct a final review of your “speaker space”.  Place your bottle or glass of water in an easily accessible spot, out of audience view near your speaker location.  If you wear glasses, have an extra pair ready next to your “speaker location”, just in case.

Bring a small clock to the event and position it so that it is in your line-of-sight but out of audience view.  This will be an invaluable tool in helping you finish on or ahead of schedule. 

About 15 minutes prior, go to the rest room one last time for a “final inspection”.  Surprising what still needs to be adjusted so that you look your best.

ZOOM: Professional Appearance

Be well groomed and dress conservatively.  Although you are not standing in front of a live audience, you are standing in front of a live camera.    

Assume that your audience will be dressed in “stay-at-home- casual”.  That does not  mean you should follow suit.  Business casual should suffice.  But no t-shirts, hats on backwards or shirts well unbuttoned showing your chest tattoos.  And yes, I have seen all of this from Zoom speakers recently.   You are showcasing your brand and you want it to look professional. 

Wear darker colors to avoid the over-exposed, washed-out look that light colors produce.

Thirty minutes prior, briefly review for the last time your presentation noting again those areas you plan to utilize for audience participation.  This is a tricky proposition with Zoom.  Done correctly, it can be a lot of fun.  And the audience loves it.

Twenty minutes prior, check your “speaker visual aides” to make sure all items you will use during the speech are positioned in the order needed near your “speaker space”, but out of audience view.

Fifteen minutes prior, give yourself a final “appearance inspection”.  And you can do this in the comfort of your own bathroom, not having to worry about an audience member (hopefully) popping in during your inspection.

As the Zoom speaker, should you stand or sit to present?  Good question with an easy answer.  You will want to select whether you stand or sit depending on which choice provides you with the most comfort delivering your speech.

Place that small wall clock behind your camera, well within your eyes line-of-sight.  This will again help you finish on or slightly ahead of time.   Audiences love this.

Ten minutes prior, check in with you host, relax and have them turn “off” your video.  Then it will be up to them, not you, to turn your video back “on”. Enjoy a bottle of water.

As you sit there waiting for your host to check in the attendees, keep in mind that you have done this before and you are good at it.  You have a great message for your audience and have spent a huge amount of time in preparations.  You are ready.  Good luck.

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Bill Driscoll

Bill Driscoll

Twenty-four years as a Keynote Speaker to Fortune 500 Companies and Trade Associations

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