Hands up if you like public speaking? There really aren’t many people that do. In fact, studies in the USA have estimated that around 75% of the American population struggles with the fear of public speaking to some degree. Chances are, the Australian statistics would also reflect that the majority of us are Glossophobes (Glossophobia is the technical term for fear of speaking in public). When it comes to life’s big events; weddings, parties and even funerals, it’s traditional and customary that certain people give speeches. At Buttai Barn, we’ve heard many wedding and party speeches, some entertaining and engaging… others…. a nervous hot-mess.
Speeches delivered on such momentous occasions have the power to stay with us forever, for better or for worse. So, if you’ve been called on to speak at an upcoming wedding or party, we’d like to offer you our top tips for both speech preparation and delivery.
Start by introducing yourself, your name and explain how you know the bride, groom or birthday person.
Break the ice
Next, it’s a good idea to tell a story, the funnier the better (but please don’t try too hard). The story needs to be relatable, endearing and must lead in to the rest of your speech. Please don’t take this as an opportunity to humiliate the bride, groom, guest of honour or any other family member in attendance.
If your speech is for a wedding, and you’re a friend of the groom, you may like to share a story about the first time you met the bride.
If it’s a birthday party, talk about some of the events in days long past that have made the special guest the person they are today. Similarly, if this is a wedding speech, talk about the early days of the relationship and how you saw potential in the happy couple from the very beginning. Mention all the things that you love about them as a couple.
Look to future
For birthdays, speak about the things the birthday boy or girl would like to accomplish in the years ahead, share some goals and dreams, and wish them well. For couples on their wedding day, wish them all the best for the many happy moments that await them as the years pass by.
Prepare a final message. This could be a quote, some favourite song lyrics, or a simple toast to the happy couple or birthday person. Keep the whole speech short and sweet, chances are you won’t be the only speaker and everyone needs their moment. Make sure your focus is always on the guest of honour or the newlywed couple, the stories you share shouldn’t be focused on you!
Even the most well written speech can be destroyed by a poor delivery in epic fashion. Here are our top tips for how to deliver with confidence:
- Have your speech written down… don’t rely on your memory when you’re nervous.
- Practice, practice and practice some more. Have your friends and family sit down and listen to you and ask them for feedback on the content and delivery.
- Take some deep breaths and be confident. Chances are, you’re surrounded by friends and family who care about you, and want to hear your thoughts. Believe in yourself.
- Don’t drink too much before the speech. You don’t want to be slurring your speech, losing your train of thought or getting distracted with your delivery. Too much alcohol won’t help calm the nerves, it will compound the problem.
So, there’s our advice. It’s a big deal to get up in front of any crowd. Don’t be afraid though, be honoured that you have been asked to be part of this memorable event and just do your best. Don’t be afraid to get emotional, it’s normal and expected.
If you’re planning a birthday party, engagement party, corporate event or wedding, be sure to consider Buttai Barn as your venue. You can contact our Events Coordinator on 4930 3153.