For many people, speaking at a wedding can seem like a total nightmare. For help, we chatted to Lawrence Bernstein at Great Speech Writing who, together with his team of writers, has written 1000’s of wedding speeches for brides and grooms over the past ten years. He shared a few simple tips with us to ensure that your speech on the big day is remembered for all the right reasons.
Preparation is key.
Start planning early. Know your speech well enough so that by the time you stand up to deliver it, you only need to glance at your paper to remember what comes next. You don’t want to be ‘reading’ it, however well written the speech is.
and take your time. An average wedding speech is 8-10 minutes long. Day-to-day, you’ll be talking at about 220 words a minute. In your speech, aim for 120 and allow for pauses to breathe. It’s a good idea to write these into your script for maximum effect. It may feel like you’re delivering it at a snail’s pace, but your audience will be able to digest it much better.
Speak clearly and loudly!
The audience will be on your side and eager to hear what you are saying.
Emphasize key words.
You do this in conversation, but it’s easy to forget in a ‘formal’ setting. If you’re telling people you’re “so happy”, make it clear – “I’m so happy!”
Try not to let nerves (or shaky hands) show. Adrenalin can be a positive and enhance your delivery.
Make eye contact with your audience.
Looking up will give you extra confidence and engage your audience.
Body language is vital.
Gesticulate to emphasise a point, don’t forget to smile, and if you are addressing someone, look at them.
Check your posture.
Good posture can make you look and feel more in control. Stand tall, feet shoulder-width apart and project your voice.
Pause for applause and laughter, rather than continuing through it. Be prepared for hecklers by having some responses up your sleeve – even if it’s just an ironic “thanks for that…”.
Stay off the booze!
It may be tempting, but getting drunk will not help you deliver a great speech… save the drinking for when the speeches are over and everyone’s toasting you!
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