It may sound weird, even weirder than my usual impressive weirdness, but…
I didn’t do so well with a presentation last week, and I wonder if my shoes were to blame.
I had bought a new pair, which were tight and uncomfortable, and my feet didn’t feel happy throughout the conversation.
Why is this important?
Well, I’m a big believer in what legendary actor Sir Alec Guinness did as soon as he landed a new role.
He would immediately go out and buy a pair of shoes he thought the character would feel comfortable in.
By building the character from such a large base, he felt he could make them much more believable and believable.
Simply put, shoes matter and we can tell a lot about someone.
They also help us in terms of confidence, energy and a global way of approaching the world.
So, back to the purpose of this blog:
Here are the four fundamental factors that I have come to conclude are essential in choosing the right shoes for public speaking and presenting.
Just to be my usual storyteller tease, I’ll reveal them in reverse order:
At just over 6 feet, I’m reasonably tall.
But I always feel like a little extra push gives me a little more authority and confidence.
There’s also something about a stub that lets you speak well in public:
It puts you on your toes, full of energy and ready to perform at your best.
I don’t like being trapped behind a desk and I tend to wander around freely when speaking.
It conveys a lot more mastery of the moment that way.
In order not to distract the public, such a trick requires tender souls so I don’t hang around.
A softness underfoot makes me feel that I can anchor myself firmly, which reassures me.
Feeling the contact with the ground is also somewhat soothing.
Small points, but they can be important.
Especially if it’s a big time, like an investment pitch or clients, where you still need to take advantage of every possible advantage.
Leaving the new and re-entering the old
It’s tempting to go out and buy some new shoes if you have a big moment coming up.
But I wouldn’t recommend.
New shoes are rarely comfortable, and comfort is important in public speaking and presentations.
You have enough to think about, remember your words, narration, voice projection, body language and more.
The last thing you need is to feel itchy in a new top or tightly confined in new pants.
Proven shoes are always the best for a big time.
An audience will judge you from the moment you step on stage, before you’ve even said a word.
Which means you need to look like you’re honoring them and taking this opportunity seriously.
So even if your shoes aren’t brand new, they should be smart.
Not flashy: You don’t want them to distract from your words.
Just smart enough to show you’re serious about this moment.
Finally, why am I so sure that the right shoes can be essential in helping you do a good job of presenting?
It’s because after the interview I was disappointed with, I had another one to do a few days later…
– And it went much better
For this one, I wore shoes that followed my four founding principles above:
So these are my new favorite friends for events.
By the way, is there anything I forgot about choosing the right shoes for public speaking and giving presentations?
If you think so, please let me know in the comments.
I would be interested to hear.