If the thought of having to make a wedding speech leaves you feeling weak at the knees, then perhaps these brief ideas will help you perform successfully.
1. First, ask about the venue – indoors or out? Is there a lectern, mike or anything else that may assist you? Then, consider how long you wish to speak – not too long or short – three to seven minutes and remember it is about the couple; not you and that some attendees may talk through your speech – stay cool!
2. Consider your audience – probably all ages and backgrounds – be inclusive and don’t be so smart as to offend anyone. The Bride and Groom want to remember the special day and so don’t embarrass them too much. Done with love, kindness and respect with a little humour, it will be remembered as another highlight.
3. The first thing to do is to reflect on the reaction you wish to get to your speech after you have sat down. Be inspired that your small contribution will be memorable for all the right reasons.
4. So in writing your words, do some research; ask their friends to tell you of their poignant and funny personal experiences with them and include your own memories. There would be many incidents worth sharing that won’t make them blush! Parents and relations are often good for stories of when they were young. Remember to do it with empathy and only use the best ones.
5. Gather all your information and then write it out just as you feel it works in the raw form. Then read it again and look at other descriptions and words. Consider if your message will be interesting and will have impact – a worthwhile contribution to the wedding.
6. Then, find an arresting opening; something to catch the attention. Your conclusion should also have impact and connect with the opening. Ensure that glasses are charged if you are proposing the toast. In due course say… “Would you please rise for the toast to the bride and groom – the bride and groom.
7. The language should be what you would use in everyday conversation, but reach out to your audience. They are probably relaxed having enjoyed a few drinks – in party mode.
8. Attempt to paint word pictures and if you able to prepare your speech early, you will be able to modify it and use phrases and language that lift your speech. You may be able to add to comments made earlier by others.
9. Your speech needs to use a logical progression of thoughts, but you don’t need to work through a chronological time-line and in fact, moving backwards and forwards and around may work better. Experiment with various ideas for the ‘wow factor’.
10. In developing your speech, you may want to gather feedback from someone you know who is a good speaker and experienced. Practise your delivery (perhaps to the family pet) and speak slowly. Repetition can be works powerful.
11. Don’t be afraid to make changes to your speech as the confidence in your message grows. The use of timbre in your voice is important, as is eye contact and strategic pauses can be helpful, but don’t overdo them.
12. Your audience will be with you all the way. They will understand your challenge and will love your effort. Finally, enjoy yourself. You have been provided with a great opportunity, a wonderful honour and you will do better than you think. Afterwards, you will feel delighted with the positive feedback.
Adelaide Public Speaking will help make your speak exciting and stress free...speak to our good friend Peter Martindale...