Handling Wedding Speech Anxiety
Do you break out in hives if you even think about speaking in public? Does the idea of addressing a room full of people make your stomach churn? It can be very difficult to give a wedding speech or toast when you are plagued by stage fright or public speaking anxiety, but these tips can help.
Know What to Expect
When you’re ask to give a toast, clarify your role with the bride and groom. Is it okay to give a short toast, or are they expecting a speech too? Knowing as much as you can about the toast will help you feel more in control: ask how many people will be toasting, when you’ll be speaking, and where the microphone will be.
Writing the Speech
If you don’t like speaking in public, write a speech that is brief and to the point. It’s okay to keep it short if it is heartfelt. Be yourself, and write a speech that you are most likely to feel comfortable and confident delivering to a roomful of people.
Practice, Practice, Practice
It’s okay to keep it short if it is heartfelt.
Nothing will ease your nervousness like practicing. Prepare well in advance and use every opportunity to practice your toast or speech out loud. Deliver it to your family, or in front of a mirror. Giving a wedding speech that you are very familiar with will decrease your chance of stuttering or stumbling over your words.
Even though you can probably recite your speech from memory after practicing it so much, it’s a good idea to write it down. If not word-for-word, at least jot down some general notes to ensure that you don’t go deer-in-the-headlights and forget what you were supposed to say once it’s your turn to speak.
When Giving the Speech
When giving your wedding speech or toast, it always helps to have something in your hands. Hold your glass or lean on the podium as you speak. When nervous, we tend to talk fast with a higher voice. Breathe deeply and speak slowly and loudly, trying your best to deliver your speech in a strong, confident voice.
Only look at friendly faces in the audience, or if you don’t like seeing crowds, then look over the tops of your audiences head (they’ll never know). Better yet, look at the bride and groom as you speak. Their close proximity to you may make you feel more like you’re having a conversation instead of being on stage.
Remember that the anxiety before you speak can be intense, but after the first few words of your speech it usually subsides. And after you finish, you can collapse into your seat and breathe a sigh of relief: you did it!
♥ Jenny Evans
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