Welcome to IC’s Leadership Brand Blog

Stage and Screen Presence For The Professional Woman

Whether you realise it or not, every day you will find yourself on a "platform" where you'll be presenting, be it on stage, in a meeting room or in front of a screen.

Officially you may not have "speaker" as part of your job description but the truth is we are all speakers.

Like most professional women you will be required to step up and speak whether it be on a stage, in a meeting room, at an event, on a podium, in a lecture theater or pitching to key stakeholders.

Your leadership brand is the first element of your executive presence that provides insight into who you and what you are about as a person.

With our world becoming smaller and teams becoming global, there are a plethora of virtual communication tools that allow you to be seen and heard. So how are you leveraging your Leadership brand for maximum impact?

Let's dive deep and explore ways to maximise your leadership brand for both stage and screen.

1. Align your personal style to your audience

Each speaking engagement may require you to alter your personal style depending on your audience and objectives. Select three adjectives that give you a framework of how you want to be perceived. Whilst it's important that you consistently deliver on your personal brand, there will be times that you need to make slight adjustments so that you have impact and influence with your audience. There is a great concept called "Yin/Yang" that I teach my clients who are speakers and those who need to wield influence. Click here for more information.

2. Select your stage outfit

Ultimately have this action completed one week prior to the event/session. This will allow you ample time to try on your outfit and rehearse. This will also help you visualise yourself in the moment and what you will look and feel like.

If you are planning to present from a large stage, avoid too many stripes, checks, small patterns and bright colours. Block solid colours usually work best. The fit of your clothing is also important. Ensure there are no pulls going across your hips or chest particularly if you will be moving about the stage.

Ensure you know what the background colour is. For example, some TED talks are held in a room with a black background so it's best not to wear black otherwise you'll look like you have a disembodied head.

Don't forget to consider your accessories. Avoid dangling jewelery that could interfere with microphones.

3. Colour Contrast

Whenever you are giving a presentation to a smaller audience, the best contrast to aim for is “medium”. Medium contrast is when you combine a light colour with a dark colour in your outfit as seen below. This level of contrast has just the right amount of colour to keep the audience engaged without distracting them from your message. This will be especially important if listeners can only see the top half of your outfit.

If you are presenting from a large stage, wearing high contrast will give you presence. 

There are 3 levels of contrast, high medium and low. Here are examples.

4. Colour Placement

If colour is the very first thing our eyes notice then colour placement becomes paramount. Our main communication portals are our eyes and mouth. Ideally, when talking with someone, we want them focused on what we are saying. Placing colour high up in your business outfit will ensure the focus is on your message. Consider a high-placed accessory, lipstick, earrings, tie, glasses, brooch, scarf as your vehicle to direct others to where you want them to look.

5. Influencing Triangle

Did you know that the FIRST thing people remember about you are elements to do with grooming, rather than the specific clothes you wear? That might come as a surprise to some of you reading this post.

When watching T.V presenters, many times we can only see them from the waist up. Our eyes quickly scan and take in the whole picture and then our eyes typically rest on a portion of the body known as the influencing triangle. This area is at a point at the breastbone and then comes up and out – taking in the whole of our head. We specifically notice their hair, skin, eyes, teeth and lateral details around attire. If you are presenting on a screen the influencing triangle will play a big role in how you display your leadership brand.

6. Don't neglect your shoes

Test and break in your shoes. There would be nothing worse than trying to move around a stage or meeting room in pain. All women reading this post will know exactly what I mean. Don't forget that your shoes could be at eye level with the audience if you are speaking from a stage so make sure the heels and toe are in good repair.

7. Bring your energy

Energy, when it comes to conveying commitment, is not about movement, but about focus and passion. The communicator’s mouth and voice carry this energy – and the body naturally follows. To get you in state consider power posing and using affirmations to increase your energy levels before presenting. Did you know that Tony Robbins gets himself in the zone for about ten minutes prior to taking the stage. He gets his body “awake and alive” by jumping up and down, spinning around, fist pumping, stands with his arms outstretched, and even bounces on a trampoline. He has enough energy to keep 4,000 people engaged for 50 hours over four days (WOW)!

8. Consider your vocal pace

There will be times when speaking slowly gives your audience the mental space to breathe and take in what you have to say. This allows you to connect with them at a high cognitive level. During a teleconference, your voice is the whole thing, your only personal signature. Use all of it! It can help you convey all that you intend: precise meaning, level of confidence, and conviction. Respect the power of the pause. Be especially sensitive if the call is global or includes any participants whose first language is NOT English.

In essence, think of every speaking engagement as an opportunity to create a TED-like talk. It's an opportunity to share your unique message and for your personal and professional brand to gain visibility and authority. Many professional women want to have more visibility and this is a great way to achieve it.

If you are a professional woman and you'd like to learn more about how to leverage your personal brand, come and join me and 20 other ambitious women and learn, The Art Of Self Packaging For Success. Click here to register. Limited seats. 


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