When you’re nervous about a big pitch, it can be the little things you get caught up on. How many times have you lain awake at night, wondering if the outfit you’ve picked out for your presentation tomorrow is suitable?
While the details of your appearance are less likely to affect the outcome of your presentation than whether or not you get your message across effectively, you still need to ensure that your choice of clothing is creating a professional impression for your audience. Perhaps more usefully, you need to ensure that you feel confident in what you are wearing. If you spend the entirety of your pitch worrying that your shirt is too tight or your tie too bright, you won’t be doing justice to your content. You need to feel your winning best.
So first and foremost, make sure that whatever you’re wearing is something you’re comfortable in. And as for the style of dress itself, we have one simple piece of advice: Dress slightly smarter than you expect your audience to.
If you’re pitching to a creative start-up audience who live in jeans and T-shirts, you could, for example, wear a blouse and cardigan if you’re female, or smart jeans with shoes and a shirt and tie if you’re male. If you’re presenting the financial reports to your boss’s boss, wear full business dress including jacket. If you’re not sure what your audience will wear, go as smart as you can. Of course, no one’s expecting you to show up in a dinner jacket, but it is always better to be overdressed than underdressed.