Sunday, February 15, 2009

what does your speaker wardrobe say?

Over at the Capital Buzz, a Washington public relations blog to which I contribute, there's a discussion going about about this post on the messages women speakers send with their dress, by fellow blogger and meeting planner Jennifer Collins. Some agree with Jennifer that the speaker's lack of attention to her dress (in this case, leaving her stomach visible to the audience) diminishes her overall impact; some came to her defense. I agree that it leaves an impression--whether you're sympathetic or turned off is up to you to decide--but also know it's an area where women speakers have more variables to deal with than do men, whose wardrobe choices are more limited. There's a plus side, as women can draw attention to themselves with brighter colors and more variety of styles in dress...and a down side, because drawing more attention means your audience will focus on the details. I also know that many speakers fail to consider appearance when preparing for a speech or presentation, and always advise my trainees to do so. What do you think about how a speaker's dress impacts her performance? Join the conversation here or at the Capital Buzz. You can see all The Eloquent Woman posts on speaker appearance issues and tips here.

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