October 20, 2010

A "secret" strategy...



Here's a quick tip for you today that may save you some aggravation when presenting. It came up during group coaching last night, so I know I'm not the only one who thinks about this. But I may be the only one who plans for it!

When I speak, I get hot. I expend a lot of energy, my face gets red, and not only do I heat up, I also get sweaty. I'm sure this is a familiar scenario for many of you.

Whether your perspiration is limited to sweaty palms and a pre-introduction "glow" or you get full-on drenched when presenting, this is a pretty common issue for performers.

The last thing I want to be self-conscious about while presenting is damp circles under my arms. The last thing I want is to be unable to gesture freely because I'm afraid of displaying my steamy situation for everyone's distraction.

So I wear patterns. (That's probably not what you expected me to say. You probably expected me to promote some brand of heavy-duty antiperspirant. Some of you may go that direction, but let's just say that's not my "thing.") Yes, I have a wardrobe of presentation clothing that consists of patterned tops or sweaters that are guaranteed not to show sweaty circles.

It's a simple strategy that gives me one less thing to worry about when presenting. Guys, do you have a similar strategy, or do you just keep your jacket on? Which must make you even hotter...

Share your secret (or not so secret) preparation strategies in the comments!

11 comments. Please add yours! :

Lisa Suchesk said...

I always think about this! And that's my greatest public speaking fear: turning too red & shiny (translation: audience has visible proof that you're nervous.)

So, I dress lighter than the weather may call for, definitely think about texture and color of my top, and make sure that I arrive in plenty of time to cool down and collect myself before I speak.

Great post!

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Maybe instead of proof that you're nervous, you can think of the red & shiny look as proof that you're excited! At least that's the way I see it, and probably how the audience sees it, too.

Erik Deckers said...

Jacket? I don't think I've worn a jacket in the last four years to speak. I usually wear jeans.

I find that wearing a t-shirt underneath a button-down shirt is enough to keep me from pitting.

I also keep a folded up paper towel in my pocket, because I get a little warm during my first 20 minutes of speaking. It's small enough to fit in my hand without being obvious, and I can just wipe off my forehead.

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Thanks for sharing, Erik! I am clearly not in the loop about what male speakers wear. T-shirt under a shirt makes perfect sense! I imagine some guys might wear a sweater over a shirt, too, instead of a jacket, and that would hide any damp circles.

Paper towel idea is clever and subtle.

Laura said...

Great tip!

Mercifully, I'm not much of a sweater. I do expend a ton of energy, though -- so I get warm.

I like to ask for a cooler than average room. The chill keeps me more animated, and keeps the audience a little more alert, too.

Lisa Braithwaite said...

OH yes, great idea. Always better to have a room slightly cool than slightly warm - which is just asking for people to nod off.

Bil Moore said...

Men don't get the clothing options that women do.

I wear a jacket. And an undershirt. And prescription-strength antiperspirant. The problem for me is that I am always warm, so if it's a warm room the jacket makes me sweat... which is evident when you shave your head.

Just in case, I wear a light-colored dress shirt, either white, yellow, or ecru. I have much better luck hiding it with light shirts than dark shirts.

Lisa Braithwaite said...

I agree, Bill, that men's choices are much more restrictive. There should be movement for men to wear patterned shirts! Take off the jackets! Be free!

Marie Amirtharaj said...

Hi Lisa,
I read your article on a "secret" strategy which is said to be common for all presenters, i too have a question,

Can we reduce the fear while presenting by changing our way of dressing?

Waiting for your valuable reply...

-Amirtharaj.

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Amirtharaj, reducing speaking anxiety requires being thoughtful and prepared for a variety of scenarios. At the same time, you can't be prepared for every single thing that might happen during a presentation, so part of reducing anxiety is letting go of the need for perfection and "overthinking."

If you're comfortable in your clothes, that's just one factor in your overall comfort, but one less thing to worry about!

Marie Amirtharaj said...

Thanks for your reply regarding my question.

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