|by Andrea for http://www.clker.com|
Last post I mentioned the 3 C’s of communication: content, clarity, and charisma. It turns out there’s a fourth C: coat.
At the morning competition for FameLab San Francisco, one contestant chose to wear his coat while he delivered his speech. It was a nice coat – new, neutral color, and very stylish. But when it came time for his evaluation, the judges focused on the coat more than his content. The take-home message? What we look like – our clothing, accessories, and overall appearance – makes a difference. In this case, one judge was so incensed about the coat that she could barely remember the message!
As scientists, we often concentrate on presenting our data…did we get the facts right, and remember to make a particular point? This is all important, but our public face – what we look like – matters too. For a conference talk, that probably means a tailored shirt and slacks (or a business suit - any M.D.s out there?). For young women, I highly recommend pants rather than a skirt. Most of us want the audience to remember our message, not our legs, not matter how great they look! For a public talk in a bar (think Science on Tap), I usually opt for something more causal, like jeans and a blazer. I want to look professional yet comfortable, and not out of place. For a talk at a school I’ll break my “no skirt” rule, showing the girls that they can be scientists and still look good in a skirt and boots!
What’s your favorite talk attire? Whatever your look, let the audience focus on your message, not your clothes…and leave the coat at home.