The Public Speakers Image: First Impressions Built and Stuck
First impressions can be everything, and as public speakers, we are more aware of this than most. We are careful to build a positive personal image which we hope received well by audiences. But sometimes we forget that our images are spread virtually everywhere over the Internet. The physical image we present is not always our first impression.
Your images are spread all over the Internet, but are they the right ones? You are Googled. Trust me, you do it, I do it, meeting planners do it. Everyone sees your public image all the time on the Internet. Our eyes immediately scroll to images when we land on a webpage.
First impressions are critical, an online image will often be your first impression.
We often judge a book by its cover, as the saying goes, though we might not like to admit it. Now, you do not have to be a beauty knock-out in order to catch the eye of a Googler, but you do want to be unique and creative. The term “think outside the box” might be overused, but that is exactly what I want you to do.
Planners move fast. With a hundred things on their plate, they need to make quick decisions, which means that images and the Internet will play a huge part in their initial reactions to your platform. Your outward appearance and the branded images you present on your website and social media have big impacts on the perception that the hiring party can have of you and your content.
As a professional speaker, it is your job and your expertise to grab people’s attention, drawing them in and past your image to learn more about what you have to say. Present the public with images that will hold their attention long enough for you to draw them in.
Be creative with your images! They are incredibly important, as we have seen, so put some thought into them. My recommendation is to be fun, be yourself, and be a little crazy. Do not be afraid to step outside your comfort zone or to break traditional norms. You will stand out from the crowd and create a personal, branded image. Perhaps it’s tradition to have a traditional head and shoulder shot, but try something different! Traditional profile images are just that – traditional. Also known as out-dated, stale, and boring.
Fun, eye-catching, yet professional images will always get a glance and can be a pull factor for you. Think of how your images can create your professional brand’s image and how your images can stand you apart from other public speakers. If you do use a traditional headshot, smile and wear bright colors to stand out. Do not hide in the background; it will be harder to find you.
Wear bright colors that reflect your brand and personality. Use background images. Use props that tell your story. Make your headshot different. Use these images on your website, on social media, and even in your marketing material. Keep your image consistent across platforms to build your brand and recognizability.
Remember the old saying “a picture tells a thousand words”? Yes, we are full of clichés today, but it is because they can be so true! Meeting planners not only want a professional, they want a speaker who is fun, relatable, relaxed, full of energy, and looks like they know what they’re talking about and can connect with their audience. They do not want a speaker that might put the audience to sleep.
A good image is going to make you memorable and approachable, and this is exactly what you want.