Unconventional speaking advice #3: Bring an extra shirt

This post is part of the Unconventional speaking advice series. To find out more go to the first post.

Ah summer. Wimbledon, barbecues, Pimms. We’ve been complaining about dark nights and cold weather for months. Now the time has come to start complaining about heat and humidity. Summer brings the pleasures of being packed into hot public transport next to slippery tourists, glistening with sweat. By the time we reach our destination we are just as moist and just as disgusting.

There are few physically off putting things to worry about as a public speaker. Your audience is generally far enough away to be protected from bad breath or body odor so if you’re well groomed and well dressed you’re not going to provoke snide remarks. But the one thing I hate to see is sweat patches. At this time of year they are common and impossible to hide. If you are on stage they are visible to everyone in the audience.

As public speakers we should pay attention to small things that could distract or repel people. So the message of this post is to watch those sweat patches. This is common sense advice which I’ve decided to include it in this unconventional advice series as I would never offer it to someone directly. Like bad breath, body odor or dandruff, I worry that people would take offence. It’s up to you to tackle this issue. That might involve finding a brand of anti-persperant that works for you, or bringing a fresh shirt along to your speaking engagements. Don’t just ignore them.

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One Comment

  1. Martin
    Posted July 13, 2009 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    The title of this post reminded me of the story of the execution of Charles I – the story goes that he asked for an extra shirt to wear because ‘the season is so sharp as probably may make me shake, which some observers may imagine proceeds from fear.’

    So his extra shirt was to avoid getting cold – and appearing to be afraid – rather than sweating too much, but the story jumped to mind anyway!

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