Wedding speeches are one of the most anticipated part of the day. Everyone looks forward to the sit down meal, partially for the free food and wine, but whilst enjoying the fine food there is also so entertainment in the form of the speeches.
There are few parts of a wedding day that are immortalised by video and re-watched. Walking down the aisle, possibly the ceremony with the vows, (especially in an American style wedding with personal vows) the first dance and then the Speeches all have pride of place in the memory of the happy couple, and likely to be recorded for them to watch with fondness and nostalgia at a later date.
How not to control your nerves!
A Groom, Best Man, Father of the Bride and others may be expected to stand up before all the guests and speak for a few moments and there are a whole bunch of reasons why they may quake at the thought of the forth coming moment of being handed the mic.
‘This will be on Video’ may be one reason, but how about the following list:
- I will forget what I want to say and make mess of it
- Its a really big occasion and I don’t want to ruin it for the Bride and Groom
- I’m not a very good speaker
- I hate the thought of speaking in front of so many people
- I have to be really funny
These among many other reasons are why in the run up to the speeches a best man may sink as many bucks fizz as they feel they can get away with as they enter the wedding venue. Or the Groom disappears as the photos are happening to discover the bar and consume a little dutch courage. Or possible the Father of the bride may have a little hip flask with some nerve calming fluids, that he discreetly sips away throughout the day, anxious about their time in front of all the guests.
There is a far better way to deal with nerves than to drink alcohol. Ultimately, plenty of alcohol may help you to get up and speak, but will it help you to speak well? There has been many a wedding day throughout time where as a result of a slightly sozzled Groom the Bride has been upset. Countless stories of the Best man’s loosened tongue humiliating the Groom and others in the room, not in a fun way, but so that many are cringing in their seats. And what about the times some witness of a Father slurring his words and rambling indecipherably with his wife looking very embarrassed next to him.
Learn to Control Your Nerves
So if alcohol is not the key, then how can you control your nerves? You may be nervous for a number of different reasons, so here’s our top 3 tips:
- Give Yourself Time And Aide Your Memory
Think of the first two reasons on the above list. I may forget and It’s a really big event.
First off, you may be painfully aware that this is a big occasion and you want to do the Couple/ your wife proud. So this means being proactive, not burying your head in the sand. If it is an important event, then give it the attention that an important event warrants. Take time to think about your objective, what you want to say, how you would like to come across, most importantly how you would like the happy couple to feel after your speech.
Thinking about it in advance with plenty of time to spare will mean that those synapses responsible for memory will become stronger. the way your brain works is quite incredible. When you have a thought your brain make a connection, when you think about that thought frequently those connections become stronger to cope with the extra thought loads. Much like a well travelled road, that is upgraded to cope with load and demand, a small A road may be widened to a dual carriage way, eventually to a nice smooth Motorway. Our minds work in a similar way, so the more thought and attention we give to something the more we will remember it.
So if you prepare your speech with plenty of time to spare you will be able to remember all the things you have thought about in the run up to the speech, and you will have given it the attention that any big event deserves. When a comedian prepares for a tour, they don’t write their material the in the week running up to their first gig, they write it and practice it, then they try it out on smaller audiences in small comedy clubs and venues, and then they start to build a great performance. Even though you are not going on tour, the same method applies. Write your speech in advance. Practice it aloud. Maybe even in front of a smaller audience, your wife/ a good friend.
- Become a Better Speaker
How do you become a better speaker?
Most people think that in order to give a good speech you need to be a good showman. You need a vibrant lively personality. You may have a picture in your mind of what the ideal might be. Have a think though, think of all the presenters and comedians you know:
Michael McIntyre, Jack Dee, John Bishop, Bill Baily, Gary Lineker, Alexander Armstrong or Adrian Chiles.
What do they have in common?
Not a lot really, they all present on TV or are comedians, but they have their own style. Their own personalities shine through in what they do.
What about you? Can you hold a conversation with people? Do you have friends? Do you tell your friends stories, jokes and occasionally make them laugh? Well nearly everyone on earth would answer yes to those questions! So that’s all you need, to be you, the you that your friends like, and tell a few stories. The great thing about speeches are, they are you, but with a little practice. So if you have a tendency to ramble a little down the pub, and your stories are a little long, because you can practice, you can make sure they are a little shorter or punchier. You are you… but slightly refined. If you’re not necessarily ‘the funny one’ well, don’t try and be funny. But you can construct your speech to have a humorous element without actually telling jokes.
The best speakers are authentic, themselves. There are always areas to improve in your speaking skills too, so if you feel you could do with a little coaching. There is no shame in preparing well and demonstrating that you want to give this your best. After all If you want to learn something, having a teacher is usually better than trying to teach yourself. If you wanted to improve in your sport of choice, golf, tennis, football you may join a club and have a coach. What is different here, especially as there is a deadline you have to work to.
- Being Comfortable In Front Of An Audience
The great thing about the Audience at a wedding is that for the most part you know them. So often as a Coach I talk about visualisation. This is a great way to mentally prepare for your speech. Imagine yourself giving a speech. Imagine a captivated audience. With a wedding visualisation is even more powerful because when you have to imagine the audience you do not have to make up a room full of strangers, but you can visualise Aunt flossy, Granny Anne, Your mate Dave……
You will know a huge number in the audience. And whats more when you think about the event, you are not trying to win people over, to convince anyone, to change their mind or to appeal to a harsh crowd. Everyone there is generally happy, they will know you, they like you. People at the wedding are generally on your side and they want you to do well. So when you think about being in front of this particular large audience it should help to give you a little confidence knowing that this is a safe environment.
These are just 3 of our tips for giving a great wedding speech. If you would like some really tailored training to help you give a great speech at an up coming wedding then click here and fill out our contact form.
Giving a speech at a wedding is a great Honour. It may be telling the world how special the person you have just agreed to spend the rest of your days with. For the best man, you have been chosen as one of the grooms most important friends, and you have an opportunity to gracefully accept the privilege, and have a little fun at his expense. For the Fathers, this is often a moment of great pride and emotion, being able to convey those feelings on the day will really help to make this day a wonderful day for the couple, and make the Bride feel the way a Bride should on their wedding day.
There may be apprehension, but these feelings of nerves and anxiety can be easily managed.