Are you a natural public speaker or petrified at the thought of making a speech? If your knees are knocking and you faint at the idea, it might be helpful to know that even the most seasoned professionals have butterflies and get nervous. We’ve compiled a few time-honored tips to help you prepare and deliver a memorable speech… and all for the right reasons!
- Preparation!! The biggest key is to prepare and make sure that you have time to dream about the speech, make changes, and practice! It will ease your nerves, and help make a good speech GREAT.
- A great speech is basically a short story. Think about the couple and your relationship with them, gather information, research jokes, anecdotes, historical data points that help to tell the story of your relationship. And always tell the story from your heart. It will be authentic and easier to present.
- Write a draft and carry it with you for a few days. You will think of ideas and include some and edit out others.
- Pretend the guests have no idea who you are. Explain your association with the bride and groom, how long you have known them, when you first were introduced to the intended spouse. This history sets the stage for the story.
- If you find you need a bit of help, contact family or friends who have known the bride at different stages of her life and ask them for unusual stories or insight.
- Always remember to talk about the couple, not just the bride.
- Maintain a balance between sincerity and humor. This isn’t a roast.
- Use inside jokes sparingly or not at all. They can alienate the audience not “in the know”.
- And most of all...keep it short! Five minutes is a good length… but anything more than 8-10 minutes, and you jeopardize creating a restless, sleepy audience, and the food will get cold!
- It is always a perfect ending to offer a toast with a sincere wish for a wonderful, happy life together for the new bride and groom.
AND A FEW PRACTICAL TIPS:
- Record it! You can hear where you may want to improve the writing and the bits that flow. An easy way to get this done is by using your phone to record and practice!
- Practicing in front of a mirror is helpful, or in front of a friend or family member.
- Use a note card, or two, to jot down phrases or words that will keep you on track and help you remember. Write down the word, “SMILE”, and you will be reminded to smile and enjoy yourself through this honorable occasion.
- Try to avoid alcohol before your speech … then you can have plenty after!
- It’s good to consult with any other speech givers to avoid duplicate stories.
- Exercise brevity.
- Don’t rush through it . . . Speak slowly and pause between sentences.
- ENJOY IT!