Dress like you belong on stage!
If there is one band in the history of popular music in which there is no gray area, it's KISS. You either love them...or not. I must admit, I'm a fan. Certainly not on the level I was back in the 70's during their heyday, however there remains many songs that I still enjoy listening to. But let's face it, what KISS is really known for are their live shows, complete with spectacular staging and of course their signature make up, personas, and costumes. I'm not ashamed to say that KISS was my first concerts and remains one of my favorite father-son experiences. It was September 3rd, 1976 at the old Colosseum in Richfield, Ohio which is somewhere in between Cleveland and Akron. I remember so much of it quite vividly. And I'll certainly never forget arriving back home to hear my then 40-year-old Mom ask my then 50-year Dad ask "Well, how was it?" To my surprise, his response was "It was like a circus! It was great!"
Two years later, during an interview with NBC's Edwin Newman, Singer/Guitarist/Starchild Paul Stanley said something that I took to heart to this very day: "I think KISS is a lot more exciting than four slobs walking on stage that need a shave." As a performing musician, I continue to follow that advice. Now of course I'm not wearing pancake makeup, 7 inch heels, and over-the-top costumes. However, I firmly believe that the better you look onstage, the better you perform. My picture in the "Get to know Jack" section of the rockthepresentation.com website is a classic example of my stage attire. And I wear the same colorful sport coats, dark jeans, and "modern day Beatle boots" when I'm teaching my classes. And of course one can't forget the little extras such as a pocket square! The general attire rule for my band is: No t-shirts, white tennis shoes, and of course no cargo shorts! I casually remind them from time to time "dress like you belong on that stage. If you want to wear you ragged t-shirt, look disheveled, and not put any effort into your stage attire, then make yourself a space somewhere out in the audience.
This same principle applies to your professional presentations, be they in front of an audience or remotely. The better you look, the better you will present. It's that simple. The key is putting forth the effort.
DISCLAIMER: The following advice is geared towards my fellow male presenters. As a man, it's not my place to advise how woman should dress. I will say however, based on past experiences, I'm confident in saying that professional women already put forth that effort when it comes to dressing like they belong on that stage. Okay guys, here's what you should be doing:
1. Ditch the ill-fitting sport coat and pleated trousers! One does not need to spend a small fortune when it comes to a nice looking suit. The key is in proper tailoring. All too often, I've seen business professionals arrive to a presentation looking like the suit was just pulled off the rack. And not matter your body habitus, DO NOT WEAR PLEATED TROUSERS! There is nothing flattering about that fashion creation.
2. The little differences make all the difference in the world. Make sure the following are part of your "onstage" attire: tie tack, cufflinks, and a pocket square. These little details will set you apart from your competitors. And your customers and clients will appreciate you putting forth that little extra effort to make sure you look good in their presence.
3. Polish those damn shoes! Nothing can derail a good look like a pair of worn out shoes or boots. Artofmanliness.com has a nice quick video on how to polish your own shoes. Simply head to your local department or discount store for an inexpensive shoe polishing kit and you are on your way. It literally takes minutes. And if you're traveling and likely not have your kit with you, pay the $7-$10 at the airport or hotel have a nice sheen put on those shoes.
4. Is a full suit necessary these days? The general rule for years has been: dress one level above your audience. However, does that mean a full suit? Just as rock and roll has always been about breaking the rules, the same can hold true on business professional level. Even if you're presenting to a bunch of conservatively dressed wall street types, doesn't mean you have to dress like them. Immediately set yourself apart by walking into a room wearing a colorful sport coat, crisply pressed dress shirt sans tie, dark non-faded jeans, and of course the little detail items mentioned above. It certainly has worked for the likes of Sir Richard Branson!
Follow the above advice along with the other tools and tips you will pick up with The "Rock The Presentation" workshop and you are well on your way to becoming a presentation rock star! For more information on all offerings from Rock The Presentation! click here.