Dressing the Part

Penny McLaren’s article, “From Knocking Knees to Speaking with Ease,” found in the December issue of School Nutrition, is all about public speaking—dos, don’ts, tips, tricks—how to achieve confidence, skill, and masterful delivery whether you prefer a professional coach or endless practice in advance. Debbi Beauvais, RD, SNS, went through comprehensive media training as part of the process for becoming a spokesperson. Combined with advice for achieving Leadership Presence, a presentation from SNA’s own Chief of Staff, Jean Geraghty, here are some key suggestions for looking your best and commanding a room:

  • Wear simple clothing, nothing bold or distracting.
  • Avoid white because it washes you out; wear a complementary color or a jacket. Jackets, in particular, are on-trend and provide an opportunity for individuality.
  • Don’t wear distracting jewelry or flashy clothing.
  • Stand up; you are more energetic when you are standing.
  • If you must be seated, don’t swivel, roll, or rock in your chair.
  • Dress appropriately for the meeting or event and make sure to invest in a few good, well-tailored pieces for both body type and business environment.
  • Whether male or female, your look should be well-polished and put together—no wrinkled shirts, slouchy pants, or torn pockets.

The Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 2014, Journal of Social Psychological and Personality Science, 2015, and Professor Karen Kline, author of Mind What You Wear all agree that clothing affects how you think and how you act. It contributes to abstract, critical thinking, attention to detail and confidence in the work place. So take care when purchasing your wardrobe, when dressing in the morning (make time to do so rather than hurrying through the process) and step it up for special events like meetings, conferences and presentations. Other people notice when you dress well, whether at an event as a speaker or around the office, and your subconscious does, too.

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