Have you ever had to give a wedding speech? As the groom or best man? Do you remember that feeling? A knot in the stomach, sweaty palms and a panic attack! Not a very pleasant experience. And yet, I’m sure your wedding speech has the potential to be a great success because 90 % of a typical audience want the speaker to succeed. Yet according to the Book of Lists, speaking in public is one of our greatest fears. Much of this anxiety is due to a lack of confidence in writing and preparing a speech rather than in the delivery. What are the secrets of giving a great wedding speech? Here are 10 tips for giving a great wedding speech:
1. Have a plan and set some objectives & outcomes.
There is nothing worse than not knowing what you want to achieve. Do you want to be funny, thank the caterers or touch the emotions of your guests? Before anything work out what you want to achieve.
2. Have a formal structure – beginning, middle and end.
Audiences love structure and the best speeches stick to this tried and true rule. Have a welcome (especially acknowledging those who have travelled a long way to be at the wedding), have three personal stories (eg how you met your wife) in the middle and an end (eg thanking and toasting the bridesmaids).
For Example: Greeting/Welcome (acknowledge special guests), Personal Story #1,how we met. Personal Story #2, most memorable moment together and why. Personal Story #3, funny habits and why I love her. Something nice about the future. Call to action: Toast Bridesmaids.
3. Avoid having too much to say.
Hands up those that are guilty of this sin. I know I am. Keep your speech short at a wedding, between 5 and 7 minutes.
4. Keep it Positive.
Keep the content of your speech positive, avoid negative comments about previous wives or girlfriends or other black sheep family members. Remember it is a celebration.
5. Research your speech using personal stories.
Personal stories help connect with an audience. From your deep well of life reflect on three events that demonstrate how much you care for and love your wife.
6. Keep the personal stories short.
Keep these very short and use them to demonstrate a point. Try and take people to that moment in time by describing the place, situation and even what time of day and what the weather was like. Paint the picture and take people back to that moment.
7. Have a strong opening and closing.
People remember the opening – first impressions count! The closing is important as it should reinforce the key message you want the audience to go away with in their head after they have heard the presentation. Ending with a ‘call to action’ can be a powerful way to get your audience to act on your message. In the wedding speech the call to action is easy, ask people to stand, then charge their glasses and toast the bridesmaids.
8. Avoid alcohol until after the speech.
You need to be on the ball. Save the celebrations until after your speech.
9. Keep eye contact and use simple notes.
Use hand cards with key points. Avoid reading a speech and keep eye contact with your audience.
10.Practice and Rehearse.
Practice the speech or at least get some feedback from someone you trust. Recording and listening back to a presentation is the fastest way to improve your skills.