Two drink MAX before a wedding speech
There is nothing wrong with a little “courage juice” aka alcohol before a wedding speech. However, that alcohol should be kept to a minimum if possible. You would hope that the wedding guests themselves have had a few in them so they are more receptive to whatever you are planning to say in your speech. If you ignore having a couple of drinks, you may end up being the most memorable part of the wedding… and not in a good way either.
S p e a k s u p e r s l o w l y
It may seem kind of silly to say to s-p-e-a-k slowly, but when you are nervous that tends to happen a lot more frequently. Take your time. Slow down on purpose. You should choose to speak roughly 30% less words per minute. Taking your time to say what you need to say so people can understand you is the most important part of your speech.
Just remember, when you are speaking one on one, your words only have to travel a few feet. And the person you are talking to can see your facial expressions when you are speaking. Speaking in front of a crowd greatens the distance your words must carry plus your facial expressions would be lost on the people in the back. This is all the more reason to make sure you are speaking super slow and enunciating each and every word to the best of your ability.
Take the time to soak in the moment you are giving your speech. We typically don’t get an opportunity to say pleasant things in front of the ones we care about. Let this moment soak in without letting it pass you by.
Get a ‘Feel’ for the room
Understanding the room that you are giving your speech in can be a great help. You will want to see how your voice carries through out the room. If you plan on using a microphone, test it out first. If there is any other types of technology that you may need to pull off your speech, then you will want to triple and maybe even quadruple check them. Any readings or singing you may do at the church, please get a dry run in before going live in front of people. It will make your nerves that much more relaxed.
Look up and smile
9 out of 10 times, if you smile at someone, they will smile right back at you. Great tip when giving your speech. SMILE and SMILE BIG. Make sure to look up and smile while hammering out this important speech. Smiling is a physical sign of confidence and maintaining eye contact with the audience helps reassure your confidence.
Tips on how to get over those nerves…
Understand what nerves are
You will have this moment, but instead of running from them like your hair is on fire, embrace them. Believe it or not, having nerves helps you raise your level of whatever you are preparing to do. Trust in yourself and don’t let your nerves get the best of you.
You only have to be brave for a second
Be confident… but how?
Confidence is critical. In order to be confident, you must know your speech frontward and backward. Confidence is defined as having faith in something. By knowing your speech, then you will deliver it with that confidence. And that will go further than anything you can do.
The 3 Ps
Practice, plan and prepare your way to a successful speech. You might just want to say a few words, regardless of the length of the speech, you need to practice, plan and prepare it.
Reading your speech OUT LOUD is the best practice you can do. You must practice it several times. And then several times more. The more times you read it out loud, the better you will understand the rhythm in which you should say it at.
Another way to connect with the audience is to talk with as many people as possible in the reception beforehand. It’s good to look up at friendly faces when you stand to make your speech, and if they’ve met you they’ll get behind you all the more. You may also get some gems of last-minute material.