learning from lii edelkoort


I got a mail yesterday from a French client asking if we could have a session on presentation dress do's and don'ts for her upcoming talk in Germany. We have worked together over the past year on her professional style and our next session a chance for her to visually and verbally articulate even more purpose. Before our session I will give her HW:

1. Provide me three presentation titles and want you want to achieve with each talk

2. Send two possible outfit photos for each situation so we can analyse and see how they support your goal or not

2. Describe the audience's current feelings about the situation you are presenting. And how you are feeling about giving it. the following list comes from Marshall Rosenberg's non-violent  communication and helps you understand if your audience arrive with fulfilled needs as in the first group. Or unfulfilled needs as in the second group or words.

Feelings when your needs are fulfilled: amazed comfortable confident eager energetic fulfilled glad hopeful inspired intrigued joyous moved optimistic proud relieved stimulated suprised thankful trustful touched

Feelings when your needs are not fulfilled: angry annoyed concerned confused disappointed discouraged distressed embarrassed frustrated helpless hopeless impatient irritated lonely nervous  puzzled reluctant sad uncomfortable

It is crucial to identify how both you and your audience are feeling about your upcoming talk because this information allows you to dress to your advantage. 

I was chatting last night to a young woman studying fashion  design here in Berlin. she mentioned how self-confident the few men were in the program and and how often the women made themselves small. I would like to see this change, with more emphasis on developing a personal brand because presenting your ideas powerfully is key to being listened to. 

Taking your confidence to the next level starts with learning your style language in order to bring your unique and inner strengths to life thru wardrobe.

We can learn a lot from Lii Edelkoort's trend 2019 presentation of in Stuttgart in December. Most participants arrived early and everyone I met was excited, even overjoyed they had managed to score a 400€ ticket for the 3 hour presentation. It is of course advantageous to create such an atmosphere where people are dying to listen to you.  However, even if you believe your audience is worried or concerned about the message you will deliver, there is still a lot to be learnt. Especially how did she live up to the expectations?

1. APPEARANCE: She was dressed like a high priestess in her flowing navy and silver cocktail coat which highlighted her silver hair and contrasted with the refined citizen look of her swaroski black sneakers ( something like the ones I posted at Antonio Marras ). Visually she was extremely present and modern in a room full of well-dressed people. The young woman who came on stage to introduce her said was frightened to get dressed that morning, so worried she was about whether she could meet the critical eye of Lii. Now this was not a self-confidence building moment for the young woman and I wouldn't suggest starting that way but it certainly cemented Lii's position. She was dressed to amaze her audience and I am sure she dresses the same way for a Parisian audience as she does for the Stuttgart one. KEY: she knows her audience and their needs and visually hit bulls eye.

2. CONTENT: She delivered the information we came to get from the world's leading fashion sociologist. During the break a woman from Hamburg said wow, that was like church and she was giving us THE WORD. Was that good or bad for you I asked? Great she said but I am overwhelmed because I've never seen anything like it before. While Ms Edelkoort doesn't change her style for the country, as it says in The Art of War, know your opponent well and she does. She knows the level of joy and and almost academic expectation the audience bring and she delivers it together with the most beautiful visuals. Her outfit color, scale and fabric was harmonious with the beautiful photos she presented. Each slide photo was perfectly choose to make her point and this took much time ( she told us how much work it took...so this ability to toot your own horn certainly can pay off). KEY: she aligns her visual and verbal and powerfully tells her story.

3. DELIVERY:She is a lecturer presenting her findings. She is academic, serious and often funny. But she is not there to build audience intimacy like Oprah, nor to entertain like Tony Robbins. She is there to deliver information you will get no where else and she seriously let you know. Her delivery style is weighty. KEY: stay true to who you are.

She met our expectations the moment she walked on stage by looking every bit the expert we had paid for. Her dress aligned with the story of fashion she prophesied for 2019. Verbally she was prepared, had done her research and backed up each prediction she made succinctly. What you can learn from her is do your homework and align your visual and verbal story. Therein lies a mountain of confidence. Whether you run an NGO, lead an engineering team or teach English to a group of 12th graders. The audiences smelled it.