I was watching the Oscars and each time a female presenter or winner, walked on stage, I cringed. Many of them teeter-tottered to the microphone on stiletto heels up to 17 cm (7 inches) high. Apparently stylists were offering clients CBD oil to rub into their feet to ease the pain.
But it wasn’t the pain so much that worried me. The trouble with ultra-fashionable footwear is that it forces a women’s body forward, creating an uncomfortable and sometimes unattractive gait. This is only made worse with skin tight dresses, with or without long trains.
Meanwhile, the men are free to glide on stage in comfortable, supportive shoes. They can focus on what they have to say, instead of focusing on staying upright.
So here’s the dilemma for female speakers – whether at the Oscars or in the office: focus on your walk or focus on your presentation? Which will get you what you want? You know the answer to that. But the problem is that all female presenters want to look good from head to toe. So what to do?
My suggest is dress yourself from the ground up. Chose the shoes first. It may take some time, but you CAN find stylish, attractive shoes that are also supportive and comfortable. I often wear low heeled funky boots with a skirt of trousers.
The lower heel helps you maintain proper body posture. So you look strong, a confident leader. You don’t have to worry about walking on stage or maintaining your balance in the boardroom. You have the proper shoes to help you. And those shoes will support your legs or feet so you can stand all day.
And when you are standing, delivering a speech or making a presentation, here’s a tip: stand with your feet shoulder width apart. It’s a stable, balanced, strong look that conveys confidence. Don’t do any balancing acts by placing one foot in front of the other or by putting all your weight on one side of your body.
Comfortable shoes, standing shoulder width apart and planting your feet firmly on stage, will show the audience you are in command of your subject… not a slave to fashion.
Halina St James takes the worry out of presentations with her Present Like a Pro video training course. It’s available now from the Podium Coaching online store, together with her popular TalkitOut: From Fears to Cheers e-book and workbook.