Truth is – people will make immediate judgments on your skill, your education, your status, your credibility based on what you wear and what you present. While it’s one thing not to care what other people think, it’s entirely beneficial and business oriented to use that information strategically, and to your advantage.
Many speakers do not take interest in their appearance or personal presentation, until they reach a ‘more popular’ status. I recommend you start thinking about that now, as part of your brand building. Be smarter than your receiving public – your audiences, and use those perceptions to your advantage. (Image building is just one piece of building your personal brand)
Don’t condemn people for their ignorance, use it against them. — Scott E. Roeben
What’s unique about you? A little on the nerdy side – embrace it like Bill Nye the Science Guy, and make it part of your Speaking persona. Have a ‘crazy, beloved aunt’ personality, play on it. Look at celebrities that have reinvented themselves by accepting how they are perceived and playing upon it for a new avenues of opportunity: Jack Nicholson, Robert DeNiro, Betty White, etc.
When I was taking part in Darren LaCroix’s Humor Boot Camp, with Judy Carter, at the very start of the bootcamp, instead of introducing ourselves, we had to get up on stage in front of everyone, and bear all of our weaknesses – no matter what they were. You think speaking is hard!?! Try that! All the things you’ve spent your entire life trying to hide, there out in the open! The goal was to:
- Release limiting beliefs
- Let go of things that could be holding you back
- Use those things that set you apart (good, bad, or indifferent)
- Use those things to find your audiences, and a portfolio of humor.
Why do you try so hard to fit in, when you were born to stand out? — Movie, What a Girl Wants.
How does that fit into image building? Trying to identify those things that set you apart will have an impact on the clothing you choose and the image you want to portray. The great news is: You don’t have to have a professional and or polished image! Go through TED.com and you will find a variety of talented individuals all with their own image, and not polished and professional. Temple Grandin is a good example.
Don’t limit your image to what you wear on stage. Start building your brand off stage, because who you are anywhere, is who you are anywhere.
Why should you care? If you are looking to become a professional speaker, or building a brand for your business, then your image precedes you before you get on stage, and carries on after you get off. What are you about? What’s your mission? What are you trying to accomplish? And if you are a business owner who speaks to build your business, trust me, stepping away from the polished, professional persona will help push you beyond your competition and bring you more speaking requests.
Being strategic about your image, and your personal brand as your are developing your business, can enhance your social media and web performance, your pipeline of opportunity, etc. An added benefit, it helps you to ‘move into’ the speaker you want to become, by allowing to craft and engage your mindset, and ‘own’ your direction. Kind of a ‘fake it til you become it’!
Paying attention to your image, by focusing on:
- what you wear (colors, styles, statement pieces (jewelry, ties, accessories, etc)).
- physical / facial features
- voice (including but not limited to accent)
- your appeal (attractiveness or lack thereof)
- how you make people feel
helps you create something memorable, talkable, relatable for your audiences and followers.
Who do you want to attract? Who do you want to appeal to? What do you want people to know?
Focus on your image, as it’s an asset to your business and career.
Have questions? Leave a comment below, or ask your question, and let’s chat to help each other out! Let’s all start developing and owning our image and brand.
Become more aware of the presence you want to create, and how you want people to engage with you. Polish your image, define your image, tweak it, redefine it, use it to your advantage!
To your Speaking Success,
I’m Rae-Ann, and ‘yes you can!’