Speaking in front of a crowd can be intimidating, and speaking in front of a fashion-savvy crowd brings that intimidation to a new level. Look sharp and act the part when public speaking at a fashion show by capturing your audience and hitting on key points that keep the show moving.
Writing Your Speech
A fashion crowd doesn't want to get bored. Keep your speech to the point and refrain from too many jokes. A good outline to follow is: a short, witty intro, concise descriptions of each look and a warm, sincere thanks to the sponsors of the show in closing. A quick Google search can bring up memorable fashion quotes from iconic designers like Yves Saint Laurent and Coco Chanel, which work well as a good intro for a fashion show. The typical fashion crowd is slightly jaded and doesn't always appreciate humor, especially when they're all in a room together. Be sure to thank any additional people at the end of the speech.
If your speech isn't memorized, remember to glance down at your note cards sparingly. If you plan to go off note cards, be sure to rehearse a bit beforehand to make sure you hit all the major points and don't get lost in between. Even if you don't use them, you'll be glad to have the note cards should you lose your place. If you're describing outfits, go over the outfits beforehand with the fashion show's stylist to be sure you have things like fabrics, colors and details correct. This will add consistency to the fashion show and give your presentation authority. You can designate a note card per look, with bullet points for the designer of the garments and details, which will make it easy to glance down and trigger your memory when speaking.
When it comes to your speech, wait until everyone is settled to begin. There's nothing worse than starting off without a captive audience and never being able to get their attention after the ball is rolling. Make eye contact with audience members throughout the room and smile. A fashion show is a fun, light event for the most part, so there's no reason to be tense. Have fun with your public speaking, and others will play off this and also have a good time.
Dress for Success
If it's a fashion event, and you're from the business end of fashion, enlist a good friend from the creative side to help you with wardrobe. Fashion events usually have a very liberal dress code. You don't want to show up in a huge tutu, but you also don't want to wear a standard black or navy suit when there's a room of fashion-forward people milling about. You're less likely to hold their attention if you show up in plain clothes, so add some personality with a bright silk scarf or tie. Women should keep their hair back in a tight ponytail or bun, as most people want to clearly see the face of the person speaking. If you're wearing your hair down, have a clean, crisp blowout.
Get to Know People
Before you take the stage, don't huddle up alone at a table. Make your way across the room, get to know people and make your presence known. This will command attention once it's time for you to take the stage. Simply introduce yourself, your purpose at the event and inquire about the same from person you're speaking to. Remember to smile sincerely. If you're from the business end of the fashion world, brush up on contemporary designers and fashion news. It's likely a fashion crowd follows these the same way others follow world news, so you want to be able to keep up and contribute to conversation.
Samantha Cabrera is a freelance editor and writer, covering fashion and beauty. She currently serves as the Fashion Director of Papierdoll.net, and writes Style-television.com, a blog of b5 media. Cabrera also serves as the National Women's Fashion Examiner for Examiner.com and has written for About.com and Bride.ca. Cabrera is a native Texan and attended the University of Houston.