It’s no surprise that public speaking is the number one phobia that people suffer from in the world, and not to be morbid here, but to quote Jerry Seinfeld “According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two! Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”
If you are reading this thinking that you won’t be responsible for giving a speech at a wedding, maybe think again. Weddings these days no longer restrict the speeches to the best man and the father of the bride. More and more weddings are including speeches from the maid of honour, the groom himself and sometimes even the mothers of the bride and groom and close friends and family.
So what are some sure fire ways to ensure you not only survive your next speech, but make it one the bride and groom will remember forever?
Write it down
Make sure you have your entire speech written down. This will ensure you won’t forget a word, and if you get lost at any point, you can refer back to it to find your footing. Like any speech, it is important to have a beginning, middle and end. This will keep your speech clear and in a logical order – remember no one likes a rambler.
Practice makes perfect
Yep, as the old saying goes, practice makes perfect. Read it out loud over and over again. It doesn’t have to be in front of anyone, it could be in front of the mirror or the cat. To appear as though you have given hundreds of wedding speeches, run through the entire speech seven to ten times before the actual day. This will ensure you know exactly what you need to say fluently and confidently.
Timing is the key
As a general rule, try not to let your speech run over five minutes. After about five minutes, you might start to lose your audience due to boredom. If you wish to have a longer speech, try to incorporate some humour. This will not only keep your audience listening, but laughing and wanting more at the same time.
Your body language is a very important tool in conveying what you are trying to say. If you stand up straight, this will assist in projecting your voice. Making regular eye contact with your audience will give your speech a more intimate feeling. Last but not least, breathe and smile. This will show the audience that you are relaxed and at ease – even if you are not!
If you choose to include any stories in your speech, make sure the stories directly relate to either the bride or groom, and stick to a story that most of the guests will be aware of. Skip any of the stories that will leave anyone feeling embarrassed, or that are crude and inappropriate. You don’t want to offend the bride or groom, or any one in the audience for that matter.
No matter how nervous you are, under no circumstances drink your nerves away. Stick to water because you really don’t want to be rushing or slurring your speech.
Most importantly relax! You are giving a speech at a wedding. Weddings are a time for celebration. If you put the extra effort into preparing and delivering your speech, you might have the bride, groom and guests eating out of the palm of your hand!
Ms Gingham says: Brilliant quote! I just love Jerry Seinfeld! Thanks Sarah for the fab post!
Sarah says: “Newly Wed who loves to blog about weddings and food! Loved everything about planning my wedding and honeymoon, and absolutely devastated that it is all over now Have the most amazing husband who I love with all my heart, and am so looking forward to the journey life will take us on together now that we are married!”
Read more by Sarah here.