Effectively communicating your ideas is a vital skill in business. When you give a business presentation or speak up during a meeting, people’s perceptions of you are formed by the Visual, Verbal, and Vocal aspects of your delivery.
- The verbal aspect has to do with what you actually say, the words you use and the message you’re trying to get across.
- The vocal aspect consists of the pitch of your voice, your volume, and the speed at which you speak.
- The visual aspect is how you look, how you’re dressed, your facial expressions, and body language.
Which would you say is the most important of the three?
I suggest that it’s the visual.
Your appearance, body language and general demeanor create an impression before you ever open your mouth -- sometimes subconsciously.
If the first impression is not a positive one, it will be hard to recover, no matter what you say or how well you say it. Get in front of this by forming a good visual impression!
Here are 3 visual elements to keep in mind:
- Dress in a way that’s appropriate to the situation. What will the audience be wearing? Dress about one notch up from that. TIP: If you are speaking at a conference, ask the organizer about the color of the backdrop. If it’s navy blue, and you show up in a navy blue suit, you will virtually disappear.
- Female speakers need to be aware of possible distractions. You want the audience focused on your presentation, not your legs, bi-color eye shadow, or clunky jewelry.
- Pay attention to the messages your are sending with facial expressions and body language. Your nervous expression may be perceived as irritation. Regardless of how you feel, make eye-contact with your audience and smile with your eyes. Keep your body language open and approachable.
A positive visual impression is also a vital part of demonstrating Leadership Presence.