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How to Use Wardrobe Color to your Advantage While Delivering Training

Posted by Jeff Welch on 8/1/16 8:00 AM
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It’s very likely you’ve heard the expression, “You are what you eat.”  But have you ever considered you are what you wearAs a professional trainer, you always want to make the very best first impression on your audience. Being well-dressed, not too flashy, and adhering to the corporate dress code usually does the trick.


However, there’s another important aspect of your business attire you may also want to consider in making a positive, lasting impression. Did you know your choice of color says a lot about you and what you want to accomplish in the classroom?


Have you heard of “Color Psychology”?  Psychologists, image consultants, and wardrobe stylists study colors and their impact on human behavior. Color psychology is used in many areas such as, marketing and branding, interior design, sports performance, and yes, even corporate dress!


There is extensive research suggesting that color has both a psychological and emotional impact on us. Color can affect the people you interact with both positively and negatively. According to, people are six times more likely to be influenced by the color you wear than by anything else about your appearance.


With that in mind, using specific colors in your wardrobe is yet another tool you can add to your trainer’s toolkit. So let’s take a look at which colors might work to your advantage when delivering training in the corporate classroom.


Approachable Colors

As a professional trainer, you always want to be as approachable as possible. Your participants should feel as if they can ask any question and come to you with issues that may be preventing them from learning. Color psychology research suggests that warm colors make us appear more approachable, open and non-threatening. Based on color symbolism charts, yellow is associated with joy and happiness, pink is associated with caring and tenderness, and grace and elegance are often associated with lavender.


What do you think of when you see these colors?  I envision easy going, happy things like drinking a tall glass of tangy, yellow lemonade on a hot summer’s day, or eating a sticky pink cone of cotton candy at a county fair. And a lovely whiff of lavender immediately puts me at ease.


Attention-Getting Colors

Sometimes it’s necessary to get an audience’s attention. For example, when you’re training on a new product launch or interacting with a group of participants who are a bit unmotivated. Color experts recommend wearing something red or orange as these colors will make a bold statement when you enter the classroom.


The color red provokes the most emotional responses in us. For example, simply seeing the color red can cause the human heart to beat faster. So, try wearing a red tie or scarf to add to your audience’s feeling of excitement, energy, and passion in class!  Accessories or garments that are bright orange immediately grab your attention and can also generate feelings of excitement, enthusiasm, and vibrancy.

Authoritative & Trustworthy Colors

If you’re delivering a course where you need to send the message that you are an authority or a subject-matter expert, wear darker colors like black, charcoal grey, and navy blue. Based on color symbolism charts, black is associated with power and formality, darker greys are associated with reliability and intelligence, while dark or navy blues convey knowledge and importance. Just remember that wearing a head-to-toe outfit in just dark colors can leave an impression of being melancholy, stern, or intimidating.


If you want to gain the trust of your participants, color experts suggest wearing earth tones to give an impression of trustworthiness. I face this situation all the time when, as a Course Leader with Langevin Learning Services, I’m tasked with delivering our programs on-site at our client’s location. As an outsider, I have to work extra hard at building trust among my first-time clients/participants.


In these situations, I wear something neutral and understated like light brown or tan as these colors bring to mind honesty, sincerity, and reassurance.


Fashion icon, Coco Chanel, once said, “The best color in the whole world is the one that looks good on you.”  Just keep in mind that it’s also a good idea to make sure your color sends the best message about you.


Ultimate Guide to Making Training Fun

Jeff has been a course leader with Langevin since 2000. He completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in both Speech Communications and Broadcasting from Western Kentucky University. Before pursuing his passion for training, Jeff worked as a television reporter, flight attendant, fitness instructor, and tour guide. Jeff started his career in training at the daily newspaper in Atlanta. Training seemed to be a natural fit for him since he’s always been a bit of a performer. When at home, you’ll catch Jeff watching a cooking show, recreating a dish he’s eaten abroad, or exploring one of the many great restaurants in the Chicago area. During the summer months, he hits the road to follow the talented drum corps of Drum Corp International—something he’s done since high school!

Tags: tips-for-trainers

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Our very own world-class course leaders share their experiences, tips, best practices, and expertise on virtual training, instructional design, needs analysis, e-learning, delivery, evaluation, presentation skills, facilitation, and much more!

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