Packaging the Presenter

When you stand before an audience to make a speech or presentation, you may be representing your department, your organisation or business.


What the audience sees and hears is their impression of, not just you, but what you represent.


Much has been said about dressing for success.


Success in anything, including making speeches and presentations, comes from attitude, aptitude, and application.


Dress decorum, and good grooming show your respect for yourself,

your work, and your audience.


Presenters should not be packaged into something that they are not.


The presenter should comfortable to  present an image that is    him/her  the  best  possible way.


The guidelines for dress outlined in the following section can be followed at all times.


Basic considerations for men and women

  • Consider the clothes rack first: your body.
    Consider weight, balance and posture.
    Are changes necessary?
    Can they be done?
    Will you make them or should you deal realistically with what you see?
  • Try on your clothes.
    View in the mirror for proper fit. If you’ve gained weight, stretched or pulled fabric gives the impression of neglect and poor grooming. No amount of drawing oneself in before the mirror will change that impression.Clothes that are too loose give you a waif-like, lost appearance. Either get your clothes let out or taken in or get rid of them.


  • Analyse your work and your wardrobe.
    Separate your work and leisure wardrobes.
    Does your work wardrobe present a confident, well groomed image?
  • Are the clothes suitable for the type of work you do?
  • Have you clothes that will take you from your work to the boardroom to the platform in front of an audience?


Never buy a new outfit to wear to make a presentation

or speech. If the appropriate outfit is not in your ward-

robe, buy it well in advance, wear it at appropriate times

until it feels comfortable, then wear it to speak.




  • Check colour.
    This is very important for men. Wearers of suits in bright green, electric or baby blue won’t be taken seriously.
    Women’s suits in baby pink or blue can be construed as babyish.


Navy blue is not always the answer. It can be too dark and

overpowering for sandy haired or pale blond men and

women. It can make brown haired people appear sallow.

They would be much better in a dark brown. Navy blue

looks wonderful on people with black, grey or white hair.


If you’re very thin, avoid very dark colours. They’ll make

you appear thinner. Waistcoats narrow the torso.


If you’re carrying extra weight or are very tall and broad,

you’ll find light colours will make you appear larger.


  • For business buy the best.

ü  Buy basics in classic cuts.

ü  Fit is very important.

ü  Clothes should be proportioned to your body.


You don’t need a lot of clothes for business. Choose items

that can be interchanged. If you keep your basic wardrobe

in  one  colour and  your accessories  in complementary

colours, you can build a wardrobe on very few pieces.


  • Invest in time savers: padded hangers and shoe trees.


  • Keep your clothes washed, ironed, cleaned, and pressed.


  • Shine your shoes. Brush suede. Avoid run-down heels.


  • Hang your clothes so that outfits are together and easily reached.


  • Shop sensibly at sales. Some bargains can be a waste of money.


Don’t buy if you’re thinking:


(a)  ‘This isn’t  a good  colour for me. I’ll wear it when I’m feeling good.’

(b) ‘I have to stand straight/and/or pull in my stomach to wear this.’ (We all relax away from the mirror.)

(c) 1 don’t know where I’ll be able to wear it.’

(d) It’s  a little  too dressy (or a little too casual) for the office.’


 Don’t buy it if:


(a) It’s  too  tight, too short, too big, not a style you’re comfortable in.

(b) You’ve gained or lost weight very recently. Wait until you’re sure you’ve stabilised.


Don’t buy:


(a)     Very fragile fabrics for work.

(b)    Very light colours for work. This is particularly true of fabrics that need dry cleaning or special care, such as light coloured suedes and leathers.

(c)     Light coloured shoes and boots if you live where you have to walk through rain, mud or slush.


  • Smiles draw attention to your teeth. Take care of them.
  • Half-glasses add  10 years. Heavy frames take attention away from the eyes. Invest in bifocals with clear glass on top with the correction at the bottom and light frames.



What to wear when making a speech or presentation


  • Always check the background of the room or space you’ll be speaking in. Choose a colour that contrasts with the background so you don’t literally fade into the wallpaper. Light shade for dark background, dark for a light background.
  • If you’re the luncheon or after-dinner speaker and your topic is light and entertaining, your clothes can reflect the mood.
  • If you’re making a speech or presentation to your peers or colleagues, dress and grooming should reflect your own self-esteem, your attitude toward your presentation, and your subject.
  • When making presentations to people in positions higher than yours, you don’t have to emulate them in dress but choose the best of your business clothes and present a clean, well groomed appearance.
  • When speaking to people in positions under you, dress the way you do every day.
  • If you have to go out into the field or to smaller towns, don’t feel you must dress the same way as your audience. Their work-boots and jeans may be very necessary for the particular work they are doing. You may choose to wear a sports jacket, blazer, corduroy or trouser suit that is slightly more casual than your usual business image and that of your position. Pin-stripe suits, white shirts, and old school ties give too much of a boardroom image for the field.
  • If you come in from the field to the head office or from a smaller town to the city, choose those clothes that you’re comfortable in yet show you have respect for your work.


  • If the last time you wore your suit was to a wedding 10 years ago and it’s too small and outdated, don’t wear it.
  • You’re far better in sports jacket and slacks.
  • Attention to good grooming, from clean nails and hair to polished shoes, is very important.



Special considerations for women

  • Suits aren’t the only answer to business dressing.
  • Skirts and smartly coordinated tops or dresses and jackets can provide the same image.
  • Don’t burden yourself with briefcase, handbag and umbrella. Put them all in one. Briefcases with side pockets will hold a clutch bag and folding umbrella.
  • Consult a skin and make-up expert. Caring for the skin is essential. Make-up enhances your good features and plays down others. Get into a skin care routine and maintain it.
  • Keep your make-up discreet. Check it for dating sixties eyes and lips.
  • Get a hairstyle that is easy to care for, flattering and businesslike  reflecting the way you feel about yourself and your job. It should reveal your face and eyes. Have confidence in your stylist. Don’t let your hairstyle date you.
  • Greying or grey hair doesn’t have to be dyed. It can be very flattering if it is alive and lifts the face. Long, straight hair on mature women can pull the face down and age it.
  •  Your eyes and face communicate. Wear flattering accent colours at the neckline directing attention upwards.
  • Dress and suit hems should not show below a coat unless it is three-quarter length.
  •  Underwear should be invisible: no bikini lines, bra wrinkles, bunchy slips or saggy straps.  Pantyhose should fit up to the waist  not around the hips. There should be no wrinkles at the ankles. When you’ve chosen your basic wardrobe colours, find a make that fits in a suitable shade and stock up. When in doubt wear neutral coloured hose. Patterned hose is not businesslike.
  •  Jewellery should be discreet and real. Ankle strap shoes are not for business. (They also chop up the long look of the leg and thicken ankles.)
  • Choose business shoes with a medium heel height.
  • Correcting figure faults with careful dressing:


Special considerations for men

  • Suits may be your basic wardrobe, but well styled jackets and trousers should not be overlooked. Make sure your basic suit colours are flattering to you. Don’t choose to wear navy because it is ‘businesslike’. You may look much better in brown.
  • Short-sleeve shirts may be great for leisure wear, but to work in wear long-sleeve shirts. The touch of white or pale colour at the cuff is good.
  •  Don’t overburden your pockets. Lumps and bumps look untidy.
  •  If you have skin problems, see a dermatologist. Skin care is as important to men as it is to women. Warts, moles, and blemishes can be removed.
  •  Get a barber you like. Don’t skip haircuts. The very day you think you can let it go for another week can be the day you want to make a good impression. Wash your hair frequently  and  keep  it  groomed.  Unfortunately the dandruff ads are right. People are repelled by it. Beards can be flattering but should always be clean and trimmed.
  •  White may not be the best colour in shirts for you; it can make some skins sallow. You may be better off to choose shirts in very soft shades of your suit colour.
  • Avoid flamboyant colours and patterns when choosing ties. Don’t wear a tie just because someone you love gave it to you as a gift. Ties with narrow stripes with a fine red line  are  considered  sincere and honest by the experts. You may use your own discretion.
  • Buy coats large enough to fit comfortably over a suit. You don’t want to look as though your coat shrunk or you’re drowning inside it.
  • Buy shirts with tails long enough to be tucked inside so they don’t creep out.
  • Fitted shirts are fine but should not appear to have shrunk.
  • Trousers should fit up around the waist. (We can  honestlly we’ve been half-mooned by several presenters when they bent over.)
  • Wear executive-length socks. Baggy socks and exposed shanks don’t present a businesslike image.
  • Double-breasted jackets make you broader. Waistcoats make you narrower. (With the accent on fitness and good health, paunches do not present a good business image.)
  • Jewellery should be discreet and real. Gold bracelets, neck chains and sovereign rings have never been part of an accepted business image, except in show business.
  • Your shoes should complement your outfit. Oxfords, other lace-up shoes, loafers and pumps all have their place.Save the leisure shoes and trainers for leisure and sports.
  • White belts and white shoes do not present a good business image.
  • Save the white socks, the tweed jackets with leather trim and tabs, the hiking boots, the jogging and athletic wear for your private life.