What is the role of color in your public speaking and leadership role? I believe you project a color from within and over the years I’ve noticed four different groups, some more obvious than others. What colors you wear also matters.
Perhaps the most noticeable – what you instantly sense – is when a “sunny” personality is speaking. You can almost see bright yellow around them. My mother-in-law, Lillian, was like that – she filled a room with sunshine whenever she entered – and her son, Eddie, also projects that glow.
Think for a moment about others you have encountered. In contrast, they seem to bring dark clouds with them, a more negative, stressful air, reflecting the color deep gray. In between these extremes are what I call the warm tones and the cool tones. Folks who exude the warm tones do not generate the intense sunshine my mother-in-law evoked but they do bring a reassuring approachability that make you want to listen. The last group, the cool tones, I associate with speakers and leaders who mostly try to connect with you brain-to-brain, in a straight-forward, information-packed, logical manner, but devoid of much emotion and color.
When we become aware of what colors we naturally produce, we can focus on adding more dimension to our messages – upbeat energy, approachability, and perhaps more logic and useful information. If you’re the one with the dark clouds overhead, enough said.
I do not recommend wearing black, or white, or anything with a pattern when you speak in public, and that goes for media appearances, also. Why? Black can project an intimidating stance. White and patterns can be distracting. Instead, favor royal blue, navy, purple, and aqua. Charcoal gray with a good pop of a brighter color can work, too. Red is okay as an accent, or in a suit or dress for a short presentation. Wearing red for a longer presentation can be hard on the eyes.
Your internal colors – and those in your closet – are powerful. You can control both.
Want your next presentation or speech to go better than ever? I invite you to watch my video, a live recording of “How to Avoid the Five Biggest Speaking Mistakes That Leaders Make,” presented to the Florida International Bankers Association – FIBA Chats recently in Miami. Just click here.