Giving a speech at a wedding is great - you can share stories about the married couple that only you know, make people laugh and reminisce, as well as provide an invaluable and precious contribution to the wedding itself. However, once many of us sit down to actually write the speech, or start rehearsing it, we start to experience jitters that often accompany public speaking. Fortunately, experts at Blinkist (www.blinkist.com), a micro-learning platform and app, have shared their best tips on giving the ultimate wedding speech on your loved ones’ special day.
Pick out some anecdotes you want to share
The great thing about wedding speeches, is that you can make them totally unique to the couple. So when you sit down to write your toast, identify a few stories that you would really like to share with everyone. It is likely that you will know one of the couple better, or for longer, than the other, but try and make your stories inclusive of everyone, focusing on how they have grown as a couple and how well they work together. The Story Factor: Inspiration, Influence and Persuasion through the Art of Storytelling by Annette Simmons is a great place to start when you want your stories to be exciting and engaging.
Make it memorable
All wedding speeches have a few staples - how happy you are for the couple, how wonderful the ceremony was, how beautiful they look and how great their future together will be. While you want to communicate all of this in your speech, you don’t want it to become too generic, so make sure to add personal touches - whether those are referring to the couple’s favourite pet, or a special milestone they reached together. If you want an extra unique sparkle, but aren’t sure how to achieve it, we suggest As We Speak: How to Make Your Point and Have it Stick by Peter Meyers and Shann Nix for some excellent tips.
Practice your speech
Once you have the basics down, start practicing your speech out loud, ideally in front of the mirror. You will want to keep your audience entertained and engaged, so try not to look down at a piece of paper too much when reciting! How To Win Friends & Influence People is a great book by Dale Carnegie has some great tips if you want to make sure that the entire audience is laughing with you and that all of them will want to be friends with you by the end of the speech.
Never just ‘wing it’
If you think you can just ‘wing’ a wedding speech, think again, because you really can’t. Wedding speeches are much like work presentations in a way - they need to have a structure, they need to engage and they need to be concise (no one likes a long-winded speech!) The key here is to give yourself plenty of time - at least a couple of weeks, or if you know you will keep changing your mind, a few months. Keeping track of all your ideas and putting them together when you are ready is always guaranteed to make an awesome speech.
Have fun with it!
Remember, everyone in the audience is on your side! They want to hear what you have to say, the stories you have to share and the jokes you want to make. Make sure to engage with your audience, look at them when you speak, and don’t be afraid to trip up! This is the kindest and most willing audience in the world, so make the most of it!
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