Does Your Image Influence the Success of Your Presentation?
It does when you believe that it does!
I've coached hundreds of professionals and leaders, and I found that it's a widespread belief that physical appearance influences the audience's acceptance of the speaker.
In many situations, yes, looks could be of influence. However, there are other dimensions that people will decide to listen to you. Physical appearance could make your first minutes easier but could not save your entire presentation.
Why are we discussing this?
Because your tendency to focus on what you" think" you don't have, believing it's your ultimate barrier, will not help you improve.
Let's say you believe you don't have a fit body, and your insecurity about it sweeps to let you think your audience will judge you upon it or even be sarcastic about it while forgetting your topic isn't about modeling nor about bodybuilding and that's not why your audience is there for.
The bigger problem here is: That belief will stress you more when delivering your speech or presentation.
When we discuss the image in public speaking, we mainly consider two main things:
1) Does your image match with the event?
2) Does it match the impression you aim to leave?
And that is what you need to focus on.
The second thing you'll need to work on is understanding that the "great public speaker" concept isn't a mold you need to fit yourself in. Great public speakers in history have things in common but plenty of different things, including their looks. In many cases, we spend more time focusing on the wrong issues.
To be able to work on this productively, I always recommend applying a "Self-Evaluation Exercise", which can be done as follows:
1) Record a video for yourself presenting any topic.
2) Prepare a list with all the variables that are important to the success of any speech/presentation (Usage of pauses, structure, posture, engagement…etc) with a rating from (1 to 5) for example.
3) Give yourself a rate at each point.
4) Evaluate the overall performance.
Self-evaluation exercises aren't just essential to be aware of your performance on a deeper level but also help you focus on what matters by noticing what is of a stronger negative influence on your presentation/speech success and what is not.
It would help if you learned to be comfortable in your own skin, to respect your differences, and to understand that influence in public speaking is a much deeper topic than being subjected to how we look.
People might listen to you for minutes because of your looks but could listen to you for hours because of the value you deliver.