To Speech Or Not To Speech? 6 Tips To Help You Decide
Picture this: You are wearing your best dress/suit, it’s your turn to give a speech for the happy couple, the atmosphere is good, everyone is happy, and suddenly as you stand, everyone in the room starts to laugh. Of course, you look down and realise you are 100% naked! For some, especially those introverts who are not used to large groups of people, public speaking can be a nightmare. An actual real life, big, scary nightmare!
But you are not alone. So many people are terrified of public speaking and insecurities can often get the best of us. What if my jokes aren’t funny? What if I stutter? What if I accidentally panic and forget everything, or worse, say the wrong thing?
Don’t panic! Here are some pointers for your speech to keep you cool, calm and collected on the big day:
1. Thank everyone
Remember to thank the bridesmaids, the mother of the bride, the father and the guests for coming. Include anyone you feel deserves acknowledgement and congratulate them on their success on a beautifully put-together wedding.
2. Start with a basic introduction: Who are you to the couple?
First, it is important to make this a positive entry, i.e. “Here I am, the proudest best-friend/brother/sister/mother/father you could possibly imagine, on this very special day.”
3. Sentimental moments
Discuss something that makes you smile when you think about the newly married couple, i.e. “I remember when George first told me about you and your first date together… he couldn’t stop smiling! I could just tell there was something different this time.”
4. Follow this up with an inside joke…
Firstly, you must get the material right. Would the targeted person involved be okay with telling this joke as well? Decide on a target – what is the joke about? Is it something that most people can relate to? For example, husbands are likely to laugh at jokes about wives etc. Once you find your relatable theme, make it funny by stretching the truth and give a pause for the punchline, which should never be predictable. For example, “Suzie finally found a man… to do her dishes!” The joke depends on your confidence in delivery so don’t be afraid to practice with some people. Tell your joke with a smile and try not to laugh, and lastly remember that people will recall how your speech made them feel, rather than the details of what you said. So, no matter what you say, say it with positivity!
5. Well wishes and ending joke
This part runs the risk of sounding expected or predictable, so to give it a personal edge try and make it sound tailored to the couple. For example, “Jonathan and Lucy, I wish you a world of happiness, health, scuba diving and plenty of apple cinnamon pancakes.”
6. Some tips for nerves
Nerves can affect everyone differently and you may already have your own technique for overcoming them. Take deep breaths, practice plenty and if needed bring flashcards to remind you what to say. A common symptom is shaking since the fear can put your body into survival mode, and your body gets pumped and ready to fight/flight. One way to lessen the effect is to tense and release your muscles to calm them before your speech. Also consider directing your speech to a person rather than the whole audience, i.e. the bride. Overall, remember that it’s not what you say that people will remember, but how you make them feel. So, try to relax and just enjoy yourself!
By Claire Louise McBride, Excalibur Press