Dressing and speaking the part

First impressions are important even when giving a speech

Public speaking is comprised of different things – what you say, how you say it and how you present yourself.

You’ve heard people say that first impressions are important. While I’m not suggesting that they outweigh other things, there is some truth to it.

How we dress and present ourselves when delivering a speech does play a crucial role in conveying a statement about who we are.

What statement are you making?

Even when unconscious of it, we are sending off signals and making ensuing statements.

If you have ever seen the 2006  Hollywood film The Pursuit of Happyness, there is an unforgettable scene in which Will Smith’s character shows up to a job interview wearing a tank top under a paint-splattered jacket and jeans. Luckily, he is able to redeem himself by the end of the interview using his quick wit and charm.

If I had been in his shoes, I’m not confident that I could have pulled that off. In fact, I know I couldn’t.

When I’m delivering a speech at my Toastmaster club, I dress more formally than I do for some club meetings. I’ll select a dressy pair of shoes, possibly a necklace and do my hair differently (if I want to take it a step further!)

For other meetings, I let the role I have for the evening help me determine what to wear.

Toastmaster is a dignified role, while quizmaster is a light, fun role at the end of the night.

For the majority of people, putting some effort into our clothing choice when speaking publicly is a good thing, whether it’s for a job interview, a Toastmaster meeting or a professional speech of some kind, dressing appropriately for your audience is always advisable.

Your speech delivery and attire impart a message to your audience. What do you want it to be?


Tasha Waite is a member of Thunderbird Toastmasters Victoria. The club can be reached online at thunderbirdtoastmasters.org.



Just Posted

Clash of protesters seen in Alberta unlikely to occur in Greater Victoria

Here, those who disagree may voice their opposition, ‘but not to the degree of the issue in Edmonton’

Sewage treatment plant in Esquimalt sees rising costs

A staff report to the CRD shows rising costs for wastewater treatment project

Worried about bats? Here’s what to do if you come across one in B.C.

Bat expert with the BC Community Bat Program urges caution around the small creatures

Vancouver Island mom says she will go to court overseas to try to get daughter back

Tasha Brown says her estranged wife abducted their daughter Kaydance Etchells in 2016

VIDEO: Dashcam video captures moment Victoria cyclist struck

Police seeking cyclist captured in video

B.C. adding fast-charge stations for electric highway trips

Okanagan, Vancouver Island, Kootenay stations ready for use

15-year-old with imitation gun caused ‘dynamic’ scene at Nanaimo mall

No one was harmed in Monday’s incident, say Nanaimo RCMP

B.C. on right road with tougher ride-hailing driver rules, says expert

The provincial government is holding firm that ride-hailing drivers have a Class 4 licence

RCMP investigating alleged ‘sexual misconduct’ by cyclist on BCIT campus

BCIT said they were reviewing video evidence of the incident

New home cost dips in B.C.’s large urban centres

Victoria, Kelowna, Vancouver prices decline from last year

Graphic suicide scene edited out of ‘13 Reasons Why’ finale

Suicide prevention groups support the decision

Nine kittens and cats rescued after being locked in bins in northern B.C.: SPCA

SPCA says cats were starving, and matted with feces and urine

High-speed rail link would run from Vancouver to Seattle in under 1 hour: study

Annual ridership is projected to exceed three million

Most Read