Stage presence - comfydence is key 

Comfydence is my made-up word. It came about around 8 years ago when I got my words muddled up. I was talking about how my clients wanted to feel as a result of working with me. Comfortable + confident = comfydent Since then it’s stuck. I use it all the time. People seem to get it. 
 
Comfydence is a state of mind that can be achieved when you look and feel just right for whatever situation or environment you find yourself in . So different things will provide comfydence on different days depending on what you are doing. 
 
Being physically comfortable in your clothes makes a difference to how you hold yourself. You can be full present in the moment when you feel comfortable. No fiddling or adjusting going on. You can be listening fully or mindfully focused on the job in hand. Eg. If you have aching feet because your shoes are pinching, a wedgie cos your pants are being eaten by your bum or waistband that digs in when you sit down where is your focus? Being comfortable makes things easier to be fully present. Therefore wearing an outfit you feel comfortable in for the situation/environment adds to confidence. 
 
NB. The opposite happens if you are ONLY physically comfortable but under/overdressed for the occasion. 

What to wear on stage 

You've got the gig, you're speaking. Whether it's a presentation for colleagues, a conference stage or you’re delivering an online programme there are a few things around your personal brand and style that you might want to consider. You are aiming for comfydence as you take to the stage. 
 
So let’s take a look at what you need to think about. 
 
1. Get the level right 
 
Be one level smarter than your audience, all eyes are on you. Choose attire that matches the formality and theme of the event. Don’t wear outfits that are not suitable for the cultural context or the specific audience demographics. Being overdressed or underdressed can distract the audience. 
 
Plan ahead and do a dress rehearsal in good time at home. Have a back-up outfit in mind just in case you aren’t ‘feeling it’ on the day. You want to make sure that your clothes are comfortable and allow for natural movement, helping you to feel at ease on stage. Get used to moving around in what you choose.. 
 
The devil is in the detail – check for things like loose threads and buttons, labels sticking out of your collar etc. Polish your shoes (not forgetting the backs). Do you look like you are worth your fee? 
 
Look the part – whatever that might mean to you. Creative and quirky, warm and approachable, serious and business like? Think about how you want to be perceived and consider your outfit against that criteria. You might want to create a ‘youniform’ that becomes your signature look and gives you complete confidence to own the room. 
 
2. Don't blend with the backdrop 
 
Find out what your backdrop colour will be in advance. You do not want to appear as a floating head on the stage. I’ve seen several TEDx speakers blend into the backdrop. If that's not possible consider having a backup outfit/jacket just in case. If you’re going to be seated on a settee you don’t want to look like part of the furniture. 
 
3. Avoid the fiddle factor 
 
Wear clothes that you are comfortable in and that stay where they are supposed to. Constant fiddling, readjusting your collar or pulling at your jacket will distract your audience. Remember that hemlines will rise if you are seated as a panel guest. You don’t want to be tugging your skirt down to avoid thigh flashing your audience. Similarly trouser hems will rise too, think about socks showing or a flash of a hairy shin. Style your hair to ensure it stays off your face as you move around the stage so that your eyes and mouth can be seen. 

Don't detract from your message 

4. Choose fabrics wisely 
 
Nerves plus lights can make you feel the heat. Some fabrics show it more than others such as silk. Choose lightweight, cool fabrics in darker colours if this is an issue for you. Solid colours are better than stripes, checks or busy patterns if you are being filmed. Avoid outfits with prominent logos, slogans, or text that aren’t congruent with your message and fabrics that wrinkle quickly and can make you look untidy during your presentation. 
 
5. Colour 
 
Don't wear clothes that are louder than you. As a general guide wear colours that complement your skin tone and avoid overly bright or distracting patterns. Solid colours often work best but the key is to ensure you’re congruent with your personal brand identity. 
 
Understanding which colours suit you best will make your skin appear more radiant. Any colour that matches colours within your eyes is going to suit you. Look at the inside of your bottom lip I guarantee if you match it up and wear a top/shirt in it, you’ll look radiant! (Also, this is a great way of finding your perfect neutral lipstick colour and your best colour for blusher.) 
 
Black is not a great colour for most people near the face as it can be draining. Teal, navy and purple are great universal colours and suit all skin tones. 
 
Matching your natural colouring works best; wear generally lighter colours if you're light in colouring, darker and brighter colours if you're dark in colouring. However, bear in mind that light and bright colours draw attention to the area you are wearing them so avoid them on your bottom half only – you want the attention to be on your face so the audience can see your facial expressions. Remember, most of the message you convey will be perceived by your body language. 
 
6. Shoes 
 
Wear them in beforehand so they are comfortable, you don’t want to be thinking about your feet when you are speaking. Choose shoes that suit your signature style and are comfortable, so that you can stand and move confidently as you take up the stage Make sure your shoes don’t squeak as you walk around and avoid stiletto heels that can easily pierce and get stuck in temporary floor covering. Good posture enhances your presence and projects confidence, you don’t want to be wobbling about in heels you cant walk in. 
 
If you like colourful, statement shoes make sure to repeat the colour somewhere else in your outfit e,g. a tie, a pocket handkerchief, jewellery, lipstick or scarf so the audiences eye’s don’t get stuck at your feet. Wearing a pair of shoes in the same colour as your hair forms a wonderful top and tailing effect and creates a visual loop which is pleasing to the eye. 

Stage style for speakers 

7. Make up 
 
If there are bright lights you may need to dial up the colour but ALWAYS blend carefully. Learn from or hire a professional if you know your face will be in close up on camera or blown up on a big screen. 
 
8. Foundation garments 
 
Get your underwear right so that your outerwear will look great. The audience does not need to see the shape of your undies also be mindful that some fabrics become see through when there are bright lights. Remember that infamous Lady Di photo? While I’m talking about this kind of thing, remember that if you can see up it, down it or through it you might distract your audience – something to be mindful of if you’re on a raised stage above your audience. Also, remember skirt hems rise up if you’re sitting down as part of a panel – I know I’ve said this once already, but it is definitely worth repeating. I’ve seen it catch people out so many times. 
 
9. Jewellery 
 
Avoid distracting, noisy jewellery, anything that could jingle or draw attention away from your message. Choose it to suit your body scale, keeping it in proportion. Elizabeth Taylor famously said, “Big girls need big diamonds”. Also, make sure it is on brand as part of your personal style recipe and suits your personality. 
 
If you are a glasses wearer invest in the anti-reflective coating so that lights are not bouncing off them, which can be very distracting and also make it difficult to get good photographs of yoyr performance. You could consider contact lenses if that’s an option. 
Communication is 55% non verbal 
10. Microphone 
 
Are you going to be mic’d up? Is there somewhere unobtrusive for it to be clicked onto? Lapel mic wires might need to be obscured inside clothing and the tech team might need to do this for you. Battery packs can be lumpy and heavy, think about where they could be obscured. If you’re using a hand held microphone, ensure it is positioned correctly and doesn’t interfere with your movement or visibility. 
 
Ultimately you want to be exuding confidence and have your audience completely captivated by what you are saying. Don’t underestimate the power of colour and clothes when conveying your message. Your personal appearance, along with your body language accounts for a much greater proportion of how your message is perceived than the actual words you are using. 
 
Finding out what you need to create comfydence for yourself is where I can help with my 1:1 packages. What outfit/item do you have that gives you comfydence as soon as you wear it? 
FAB Business Club : female authentic ballsy 
This community is really special. It's got the most amazing vibe going on. It’s a safe space where you can metaphorically fling off your bra. It’s women empowering women and providing a circle of support because being in business can be a lonely place. 
 
It's a supportive business network with personal development and a heart centred vibe at the core of the community – no pressured referrals or other stuff you don’t like about networking. It’s birds of a feather networking and growing their businesses together, sharing collective wisdom, a place to thrive and celebrate camaraderie. It’s a space where you feel like you have come home. 
 
We have monthly meetings, online and face to face events. Your first meeting is free, hit me up for a complimentary 'Golden Ticket' to see if we're a good fit. 
The paid membership includes an option to upgrade your networking to include personal style and brand mentoring with me. There's also free FB group if you’re not ready to invest just yet. Come and join in the conversation. 
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