Most Americans can agree on one thing: they are fearful of speaking in public…and for good reason. People will size you up from the moment you step on stage or in front of the room. It’s not necessarily about being judgmental; it’s just human nature to take notice of one’s environment. What does this mean for you as the presenter? Your audience is making a quick judgment so it’s up to you to make the most of that first impression and believe it or not, what you wear carries a lot of influence. Aside from style, the color of your clothing can have a significant impact on your audience’s assumptions of you. Here are the best colors to wear when presenting on stage or leading a meeting.
Dress for Power
If you are a woman and you happen to be presenting to a group within the glamour industry, it would be expected that you are up with the latest trends and therefore select a glamourous color choice. But, if you are presenting a new budget plan in front of the board of directors, you will lose some of your credibility if you show up to present in an outfit that resembles the frosting on a birthday cake. The fact is you have to think about your location and your audience when selecting your outfit. The same concept is true for men. If you are presenting at a seminar in Hawaii you can certainly get away with a colorful shirt and tie, but you should opt for a dark suit when presenting in front of a more formal audience. Deep, dark colors tend to elude power more than bright colors. So, if you want to come across as an intelligent, credible presenter stick with dark colors such as black, charcoal, deep taupe, grey, or dark blue. These colors are heavier and come across as more authoritative. They are an ideal choice for formal presentations about analytical topics.
Excite an Audience
It might be that you are plugging a new product and therefore want to grab the attention of your audience. If you are giving a presentation that is a little less formal and more upbeat, you want to wear a color that will reach out and grab the audience’s attention. Red has been shown to increase heart rates and excite an audience. Yellow is another attention grabber and it great for stimulating mental activity and retaining attention. Purple is often perceived as a luxurious color that can boost creativity. These brighter hues are great for presentations that are meant to excite and persuade audiences.
Build Trust and Confidence
Sometimes the purpose of a presentation is to inform an audience. In an informative presentation it is important to build trust and rapport with the audience. Blue is often a calming color and has been associated with tranquility and trust. Green can also be perceived as warm and nurturing, because it reminds us of nature. Grey is the most neutral, and can work well in informative presentations as well.
While the color of your outfit may seem like an insignificant detail, research has shown that colors elicit visual responses that can influence first impressions, general perceptions, and likeability. Therefore, you might take a moment before your next presentation to ponder: What does my color choice say about me?