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Keeping Up Appearances: Personal Presentation for Public Speaking

The importance of how you present yourself when speaking in public cannot be underestimated. Image plays a large role in how you are perceived and how your message is received.

Portraying yourself in an appropriate and professional manner can have an impact on your presentation. It encourages your audience to focus on listening to you, rather than being distracted by your appearance.

Let's examine how you can put your best foot forward for your next presentation.


Striking the right balance between under and over dressing can allow your message to shine. Whatever the circumstances, you should be suitably dressed for the occasion and in a manner that represents your organisation well.

Shirts should be ironed and shoes shined. Keep flashy jewellery to a minimum and Hawaiian shirts at home. Your clothing should be comfortable but make sure you don't stand out for the wrong reasons.

Your appearance is a reflection of you as a person and representing yourself in the best way possible will help you to send a positive visual message before you even begin to speak. You don't get a second chance at making a good first impression.


A sloppy and untidy appearance will give the impression that this speaking engagement is not overly important to you. An I don't care attitude sends a negative message and can jeopardise your credibility.

Long hair should be kept out of your face and any facial hair should be neatly trimmed. If you are wearing make-up, keep it natural. Ensure that nails are clean and tidy and that your perfume or cologne is not overpowering.

Being well groomed is about making your audience feel comfortable. Conveying a favourable impression through your appearance will actually reinforce your expertise.


Your posture can communicate a great deal about your confidence and personality. A positive attitude is reflected through body language and non-verbal signals.

Express this by standing tall and holding your head high. If you are sitting down before or after your presentation, ensure that you are not slouching. Have a bounce in your step and remember to smile.

Even if you are nervous, appearing confident will help to alleviate those nerves. Emanating a friendly manner through the way you carry yourself will reinforce your professional skill and capability.


Maria Pantalone

Maria Pantalone works with individuals and teams to make communication their strength so that their message is heard. Her programs help her clients to excel in their role and be recognised as leaders in their field.
30 Business Communication Tips

Looking for tips to help you with your speaking, writing and interpersonal communication?

Then download my free ebook, 30 Business Communication Tips.

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