Good presentation skills require organisation and confidence. If these two essential items are not ticked off, then it’s time you looked at developing presentation skills. This type of personal development work will really assist you to develop first more confidence, which is the key. Then, by you getting organised, well presented and ultimately building self-esteem, those dream jobs will appear and your ambitions will be realised!

Being well presented in the workplace – in a presentation, in a meeting, during a discussion with a colleague or client is essential. If your career matters to you – develop your presentation skills!

A presenter or staff member is given an added advantage over someone who is less than polished in public speaking (i.e. someone who actually avoids it like the plague), when he or she can get up and deliver a well-constructed, confident presentation in front of a group of colleagues.

Superiors notice the confident approach, which translates into other parts of their role. Staff who are highly skilled in their area of expertise, but hate public speaking, will still be appreciated, but they may just get more kudos and more accolades if they can articulate their approaches and knowledge in a more confident manner.

“Being well presented in the workplace – in a presentation, in a meeting, during a discussion with a colleague or client is essential. If your career matters to you – develop your presentation skills!”

Presentation and public speaking skills are “learnt” skills – by working on these skills, the quiet and shy person can learn to present with confidence and evidentially “Find their voice”.

Where do Presentation Skills have an impact in the Workplace?

Presentation skills will help in the following workplace or professional circumstances:

  • At interviews, as the interviewer or interviewee
  • At meetings, face to face or in a conference call
  • At networking functions, meeting new people or getting to know ones you already know.
  • Speaking to colleagues and staff
  • Delivering a presentation to clients detailing a technical topic or selling a product
  • Presenting at conferences
  • Speaking at large internal meetings
  • Speaking at Chamber of Commerce or Rotary promoting your business
  • Speaking with suppliers
  • Speaking with clients
  • Presenting training
  • Attending training

And so on …

Presentations are Part of the Job

Yes, it’s true. Professionals are expected to give presentations as part of their job.  But surely with their education, whether at university or other colleges, delivering a presentation is straightforward? Well, no!

A Gallup poll found that 40% of the population have a fear of speaking in public. It doesn’t matter how big or small the group, there are some people who struggle to give presentations. Does this have an impact on their work? Potentially, yes.

So what are the areas that are important in the workplace, with respect to presentation skills?

“Presentation skills and public speaking are a “learnt” skill – by working on these skills, the quiet and shy person can learn to present with confidence and evidentially “Find their voice””

1. Know Your Audience

Understand what the audience wants to get out of the presentation. You need to be mindful of the people in the meeting or in the conference room. This is so your presentation will meet and exceed the audience’s expectations, and so your audience gets what they came for.

2. Plan your Presentation

Planning the structure of your presentation – and knowing what structure works for your audience – is very important. For your audience to absorb your information, it needs to be delivered in an easy-to-follow format.

3. Make it Interesting

Attention spans are not long, no matter how advanced the audience is. Make sure you’ve included some really interesting points, and vary the type of interest points, as this will help to keep the attention of the meeting.

“A Gallup Poll found that 40% of the population have a fear of speaking in public … Does this have an impact on their work? Potentially, yes”

4. Dress the Part 

Your appearance in the workplace matters. Not only are you meant to be a thought leader in your chosen presentation topic, you are also in competition with others wanting to advance. If you are not well presented, with respect to clothes, hair, shoes, paperwork, etc., people will notice and it will have an impact.

5. Show you Care

Your enthusiasm for the topic is essential. If you seem disinterested in the topic you are talking about, your audience will pick up on this.

6. Be Organised

Your audience will appreciate you being organised for a meeting or a presentation. If there are little changes or hiccups, your audience will understand. If you are unorganised and you appear to have not put in an effort, the attendees will not sympathise, and they will get annoyed.

“Make sure you’ve included some really interesting points … this will help to keep the attention of the meeting”

7. Discuss the “Elephant in the Room”

If there is an issue, if something isn’t working, you are experiencing a problem, then make a mention of whatever it is and then move on. If we hold back from discussing something important (which may not have an impact on the meeting topic), then get this discussion done, and then move on. If you don’t, the attendees will be thinking about that rather than the actual topic at hand.

8. Get a Grip on your Nerves

Handling nervousness and building confidence is important – you will struggle to get your message across if you struggle here. Being mindful of how you present at work will really help with your interactions with colleagues and clients. This will ultimately impact on whether you get that important raise, or that desired new job.


Featured Photo Credit: citirecruitment via Compfight cc


Adrienne-McLean-bio-image-Leaders-in-HeelsAdrienne McLean
Adrienne McLean is the Founder of The Speakers Practice, which offers Presentation Skills training program for business people, individuals, teenagers and groups. Adrienne is an Internationally Accredited SpeakersTrainingCamp Instructor and is a Distinguished Toastmaster. Adrienne has studied marketing with Michael Port the author of the Top Business and Marketing book – BookYourselfSolid.

Adrienne, with her experience of growing up in a family business, working in the corporate and small business sector plus building her own business, gives an enthusiastic and practical approach to the benefits of presentation skills development, learning to promote yourself and building a successful business.  She is a regular presenter, blogger and a contributing author in four recent business publications.

Follow her via Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+

I once had a boss tell me that I was too pretty for the job. Being that I was 5’2 and 135 pounds, the supermodel career track was just slightly out of reach.

There are perceptions about “pretty” women at work, and they can be dangerous to you and your career if they are not managed appropriately.

Here are five perceptions about pretty women and work, and how to overcome them:

1. You are the office hostess.

There is a difference between being considerate and placating. Consider others always, but know that everyone in the room is capable of taking care of themselves. You are there to work, not play hostess.

2. You are just a pretty face.

You know what I’m talking about; that collective face that the conference room makes when you say something that no one else has thought of or something that makes the room LOL. Keep showing up. Keep being brave and smart and bold. Keep knocking their socks off. Don’t let their surprise stop you, let it fuel you.

3. You should dress like your grandmother.

You should not. You should dress like you. You should however consider your audience and the brand you are building. Common advice is to dress for the job you want. Chances are the job you want is held by a man twice your age. A blue button down shirt and black slacks may not be your thing. Dress as smart as you are. Every. Damn. Day. Don’t give them a reason.

4. You aren’t serious about your career.

But, you are – so they are wrong.  Just because you are pretty, doesn’t mean you are waiting to be rescued or taken care of. You can be pretty and fierce, determined, focused, and ambitious.  Be serious and pretty and awesome. Prove you’re there for the long-haul. Show up like every day is an interview.

Dress as smart as you are. Every. Damn. Day. Don’t give them a reason

5. You have a relentlessly high self-regard.

By golly, I hope you do. I hope you see yourself for the whole person that you are: Kind, loving, generous, whole, and full of life. I hope you wake up every day and know that you are enough, just the way you are. I hope you carry yourself like you are worthy.

What I know though is that you have insecurities and you are self-conscious. I know you worry about what people think of you and how you are perceived. I know you question your nose and your hips and your ideas and your essence. Smile. Be open. Be honest. Share your authentic self. Let people in to see all of who you are…not just a pretty face.

Featured photo credit: pennstatenews via photopin cc

Tara Ashcraft Leaders in Heels bio imgTara Ashcraft, MSEC

Tara is a change expert and master coach who is excited about helping women live the lives they have imagined, and inspiring them to imagine big, bold, brave, beautiful lives. She has over ten years of experience in learning and development in both private and public sectors. She’s equal parts psychology, pom-poms, pixie dust, and possibly umbrella drinks.  Connect with Tara at or

Using headshots and professional portrait branding photographs is vital to attract the right type of clientele to your business, so how do you ensure that you are conveying the right messages, that you are an authentic leader?

Your branding image includes the photos that you use to portray yourself on your website, business cards and any other social media or online networking platform.

Here are a few tips on creating the right type of branding headshot:

1) When ensuring the right look for my clients, natural lighting is key! If your images don’t have sufficient light, you may just end up looking rather outdated and dull – possibly a little off-putting to your clients! In addition, avoid any type of harsh lighting as this can bring attention to frown lines. For a great authentic image, it is important to highlight the trust building features of your face, like your smile or eyes.

2) For a great image, make sure your eyes are clearly visible as they reveal so much about who you are. A clear shot of your eyes will also assist you in coming across as more authentic. Remember – People like to feel like they can trust you before they’re willing to go out on a limb and purchase your product or services.

3) Make sure that you take the time before your shoot to dress for the part before you have your photograph taken, especially if you’re trying to brand yourself and business for online success. Visual branding largely relies on the trust that you build, and looking unkept is one of the surest ways to do the exact opposite. For example, if you’re a woman, then enhance your features with appropriately styled makeup or have your hair styled in a professional manner. Your photographer should have a consistency for the look of your corporate branding images, so make sure you ask to see their photography portfolios ahead of time to ensure they’re suitably skilled for the job.

4) A prime example of corporate digital branding gone wrong is using sexy poses and clothing in your online business brand. You may end up scaring clients away. A sexy corporate branding image is an inappropriate representation of your business – if you don’t believe that, let your customers do the talking.

5) Ensure your personality is shining through like a beacon. A tuned in photographer should be able to capture this easily for you. If you do this correctly, you will successfully connect with your clients because you will come across as an authentic person – not just some face they recognise from the Internet. Your clients will feel the authentic connection via professional branding images. You’ll know when you’ve achieved this level of authenticity by the way your clients interact with you, and the way they recommend you to other people.

To make sure you’re getting started in the right direction, make sure you’re using a highly skilled professional photographer who is experienced with online personal branding portrait photography. Investing in yourself will make a difference to your business in the long run. There is a massive difference between your friend’s digital camera images and a professional photographer who taps into you the brand, poses you well, includes the correct lighting, make up and provides an overall positive atmosphere for your personal brand success.

Zahrina Robertson

Zahrina is Australia’s Leading Personal Branding Portrait Photographer for Business Women – She creates magnetic and insightful images that talk 24/7 to best represent her clients businesses in the social media and online world. Through her coaching and authentic approach, Zahrina brings out the best in her clients as she gets to know them behind their public persona, capturing their true essence and X-Factor. To find out more about Zahrina and view a wide range of her images, please see

Who am I?  I’m versatile and chameleonic and paired with the right mate, can go from comfy at home casual, to slick and super professional.  I come in all shapes and sizes but recommend you own me in 4 specific styles, forming the foundation of your go-to wardrobe.  Yes, I’m a T-shirt!

The 4 styles of T-shirts


 #1 – Slim and Structured


Weathered Pippi Stripe T-Shirt $60

I fit you snugly (but not too snugly) and I’m fitted through the body and arms.  I look great with a round or boat neck in crisp, clean colours and stripes.  My best pairing is with less fitted pieces like wide leg trousers and full skirts so make sure I don’t drape or bunch up.

 #2 – Slouchy and relaxed


Just Female Gazo T-Shirt $60.37

I’ve got a round or v-neck and am a bit looser.  I love to show off a little collarbone and look fabulous with a rolled sleeve.  You can wear me hanging out or loosely tucked into skinny jeans, fitted skirts and dressy shorts.

#3 – Give me graphics!

ASOS Digital Print T-shirt $37.81

I’m a little bit different and like to be original.  Look for me in a bold but simple design, nothing fussy or overdone.  I look good fitted or relaxed and my best friends are cool printed trousers, leather pants and simple shorts.

#4 – Like fine wine, I get better with age


Amplified Ramones 74 Crew T-Shirt $34.03

I like to put my musical tastes right out there and proclaim my rock star status!  I’m faded and might be a bit distressed (but in a good way!).  You may have bought me at a concert back in the day or found me at a market or on eBay.  I love a contrast and although I look good with your favourite faded jeans or denim shorts, I look hot with a pencil skirt and/or a tailored blazer.

Still think a t-shirt is a ho hum wardrobe piece? No way! Choose your own style and add the perfect t-shirt to your wardrobe.  It’s a summer essential!

Are you a t-shirt fan? What’s your favourite look?

Featured image credit

If there is one accessory this season that really speaks the language of versatility to the sophisticated, corporate woman, it has got to be a silk scarf! A scarf is also a great trans-seasonal accessory, perfect for the in-between seasons weather which we are currently experiencing.

Make a statement with scarves

In the world of corporate fashion, the way you wear a scarf, and the type of scarf you wear for that matter, can really make a fabulous statement paired with your classic black and grey business suits. Wearing scarves is probably one of the fastest ways to incorporate colour, patterns and prints, and even layers into a dark suit, It’s a great idea to invest in a high quality scarf that looks and feels great on you. Silk scarves are a fabulous option, and if you can, opt for a handmade and unique piece to really make your own statement.

When it comes to choosing your scarves for work, plan ahead on how you are going to wear them. Here are a few options for you:

Bow Tie

The Bow Tie look can add a dash of elegant sophistication to any corporate ensemble. For a large style, use a large square silk scarf. Fold in two opposite corners of the scarf so they meet in the middle, then fold each side in again to form a long skinny scarf. Wrap this around your neck and softly knot to secure around your neck comfortably. Then tuck the two ends behind the knot to form a bow shape. Alternatively with a smaller scarf simply drape around your neck and tie a little knot and swing it off center – this looks great with a nice cropped blazer.

Bow tie

Miu Miu Scarf $230 via My Theresa

French Knot

The scarf is a quintessential Parisian icon and the French Knot is a timeless classic. Fold the scarf in half and drape around your neck. Then take the folded half and pull the un-looped ends through the fold. Voila!

swirl violet copy

 MAH Swirl Violet Scarf $75

The Wrap

A great option while sitting at your desk and it’s not quite cold enough for your jacket, or alternatively for evening drinks after work. Simply, drape the scarf across your back and twist the ends half way around your arms.


Roberto Cavalli Tilda Silk Scarf $354.40

A few more tips:

  • Make sure you choose a colour that contrasts with your outfit ie. red on black, or patterns on a block colour – avoid patterns on patterns!

  • When choosing the colour of the scarf ensure it flatters your skin tone i.e. whites will generally make you look pale, where as warmer colours like reds and browns will look best close to your face.

  • Tie a silk scarf to your leather handbag for an easy ‘expensive’ look.

How is that for versatile! Silk scarves are the perfect staple accessories this spring, you could even get away with outfit repeating just by swapping scarves – so be sure to stock up!

Ondina M is the founder of MAH, an international luxury fashion brand fusing art and science to create beautiful, unique collections of handmade silk scarves.

Featured Image supplied by MAH

It’s often said that as women get older, we tend to choose safety in our clothing – to camouflage and compensate for certain areas.

The irony is that as we try to hide these areas, these “safe” selections are likely to do the exact opposite and make ourselves look even older (and girlfriend, no one needs THAT!!!!).

5 fashion mistakes that make you look older

Here are the 5 most common mistakes that will actually age you rather than flatter you.

#1. You forget to show off your shape

We’ve all been there – we’re having a “fat” day, so we grab something we can hide in. The end result? We cover ourselves in loose clothing that is shapeless and more baggy than we should be wearing.

Good news – in today’s world, clothing technology has come a LONG way. Like this “SSSHH” dress (which stands for Shape, Support, Smooth, Helps firm and Highlights curves) from Diana Ferrari.

Clothing with inbuilt shaping elements are now being much more common, so it hugs, flatters and smooth curves without the need for separate body shaping undergarments (although that always helps).


Diana Ferrari Marcie Pencil Dress $179.95

Embrace & smooth your curves with this dress from Diana Ferrari

#2. Your jacket length is going down, down and down.

When it comes to our hips and bum, the natural tendency is to drop our length down in order to cover our bottom half. Here’s the deal though – taking up your hem or jacket length is actually the simplest, most effective way to take years off your look. (True story).

If you’re concerned about your bum or hips, drop your blazer length to around mid-way down your bum, but no further. The trick is to have coverage while still showing off your curves. Otherwise your jacket ends up looking big and oversized, and that can add years on you.

Sheike Mirage Jacket $129.95

Keep your jackets fitted and not too long like this blazer from Sheike from their Spring 2013 range.

#3. You always wear black

It’s often all to easy to fall back on to black. It’s slimming and versatile, which is why this colour is oh-so-popular. However black can also be aging, and depending on your skintone and complexion, it can be a harsh colour for certain skintones to wear.

To offset that, try a softer alternative such as charcoal or steel gray which is not as harsh as black but just as versatile to wear.

Try a lighter colour such as charcoal or gun metal instead of black, like this blouse from Jigsaw.

Jigsaw blouse

Jigsaw Silk Front Tee $129

#4. Your shoes get heavier

There’s a certain sense of safety in not tottering about in super high heels. After all walking in high heels is hard work as any woman will tell you!

But that’s also when our shoes starts to get heavier and bigger. It’s as if we feel a need to have an ankle strap, and a solid block heel or wedge as our shoe safety blanket.

The reality is the chunkier your shoe, the bulkier and heavier your foot looks, and that actually makes your legs look shorter as well.

So turn back time and grab a pair of stilettos to elongate and lengthen. If you’re worried about walking in them, choose a mid-height (usually anywhere between 4cm – 8cm), which should give you just enough height to elevate but still walk in easily.

Keep shoes sleek & slim like these mid-height heels from Joanne Mercer to lengthen those pins.

Joanne Mercer shoes

Joanne Mercer Pump $139.95

#5. You don’t show off your décolletage

Showing off your décolletage is one of the easiest and quickest ways to take years off of your look.

This is usually an area that most of us are happy to show off, so embrace lower V and scoop necklines. If you’re going to work and want to do a lower neckline without appearing inappropriate, look for tops with a sheer overlay such as lace to give you a little coverage while still accentuating this area of your body.

Stay modest but sexy with this lace sheer top from Diana Ferrari

Diana Ferrari blouse

Diana Ferrari Mara Lace Top $49.95

No matter what your age, no one wants to look any older than we are. Yet it’s often too easy to fall into these common traps above. But as I always say – you only get one body, so EMBRACE and love it just as it is, no matter what your age or size – because it is beautiful just as you are. So show off your body and enjoy it every single day!

Wendy Mak

Wendy Mak is a Success Stylist™, Speaker, Storyteller & Author. She helps women to think, dress & eat well to create their successful & happy lives and business. Wendy is also author of the book “The Terrific Thirty – 30 items, 1000 Outifts”, which has been featured in New Idea, Woman’s Day and The Morning Show. Wendy can be found on

Featured Image Credit