Presentation Training: Let the Costume do the Work

Posted by Bridget Beirne
August 6, 2012

Your wardrobe is a big part of presentation training.

There is an old joke among actors when it comes to their costumes, especially in a difficultpresentation training 3 resized 600 piece. Knowing that what they wear will influence everything about their character, actors often joke that when it comes to a tricky moment, they will “let the costume do the work”. Donning a corset, or knickers, or elevator shoes, or a two foot wig will obviously inform the choices an actor makes about how they sound and move.

We know that the same holds true when presenting. Remember, that fantastic Armani suit you just bought is a costume, and you want to be sure that you are working it right. We often talk about giving yourself a dress rehearsal- wearing everything you are going to present in while you run through your presentation. Here are some unexpected reasons why:

1)      Oooh, my feet!: Shoe lovers of the world will agree that having a gorgeous pair on your feet can give you that extra polish as well as a dose of added confidence. However, the wrong shoe (or a new shoe) can also be agonizing. Standing in uncomfortable shoes for an hour long presentation will cause your mind to be dominated by one thought- OW! Give your shoes a test run before you present, especially if they aren’t a pair of old faithfuls. If you can’t get through your dress rehearsal in them, you’ll never make it through your presentation.

2)      Let me out of here!: Ill- fitting or restrictive clothing can often be the difference between a presentation full of natural, connected movement and one where you’re fighting your clothes. Costume designers often ask actors if the clothes they are having them try on will restrict their movement on stage. Make sure that you haven’t chosen an outfit that will keep you from using your body when you present.

3)      A Lighter Shade of Pale: Bear in mind that when you present you are often positioned in front of a black, dark blue, or brown background. Wearing colors that blend into the background will make you disappear (no one likes floating head syndrome!). Aim for a nice jewel tone (deep reds, greens, turquoise, subtle gold, etc.) to make sure you stand out as much as your stellar content. The right color will make you pop and ensure that your costume is helping to do the work.


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