“Tips on Planning your Wedding Speech”
Hanieh Chehrehnegari – SpeakersKey Ltd
We are delighted to welcome Hanieh to our blog to give some words of wisdom on making that all important wedding speech. Hanieh is the founder of SpeakersKey and as a former TV presenter and reporter she is experienced in public speaking herself and established her business to help people combat nerves and fears with delivery their own speeches in life and a large part of this is of course wedding speeches. Here Hanieh gives us an insight into how the skills of her and her business can help grooms, best men fathers of the bride and even the bride herself!
Traditionally, it has always been the best man and the father of the bride who are responsible for delivering that all important speech at weddings. Recently, however, a number of couples choose to defy this convention and call upon the services of a number of people to raise a toast at their wedding, such as the Maid of Honor. I’ve had the pleasure of being invited to a number of weddings over the years and with those come the speeches and for the most part these have run smoothly with little or no awkward moments at all however I have also witnessed the most uncomfortable, cringe worthy toasts followed by a stunned silence and shock from either the bride, the groom or the entire audience. Being given the honor of delivering a speech should fill you with excitement and good planning, content and delivery should leave the audience with a fond and memorable speech. For some, however, this responsibility is often met with nerves, fear and sleepless nights! In this article, I will be looking at 3 tips in planning and delivering your perfect wedding day speech.
1. Over the years research has shown that the thought of Public Speaking is met with fear and that the only fear that was ranked higher than this was in fact death! But Why? What causes so many of us to have this fear? The important fact to understand is that if planned well, content good and delivery practised; there is no need to be nervous. Research has also shown that much fear arises from simply the potential for error and perception, what will people think; will my joke be funny? What if I forget my lines? Rather than the positive aspects like giving a meaningful speech and wishing the newlyweds a great life together, full of joy and happiness and perhaps having the audience appreciating a particular story along the way. If you have been given this responsibility and are feeling anxious at the thought of it, then start to focus more on what will go right rather than what could go wrong. Remember, positive thoughts breed positive actions!
2. The minute you are asked to speak should be when you start to research and plan your speech. Planning and practising ahead will help you overcome any teething problems. Use this time to research the content of your speech – What are you going to talk about? What stories do you want to mention? Will you be sharing a joke or two? How long do you have on stage? These are the key questions that you should be asking yourself or others. You should also speak to the bride and/or groom and ask them whether there are any specifics that they’d like you to mention and conversely any subjects that you should steer well clear of. You must be careful, tactful and know your limits – discussing the brides intimate history in front of her in laws is not a good idea! Ask friends and family for any inspiring stories, anecdotes or fond memories that they have of the happy couple.
3. Once you’ve done your research, start writing – this should always be done so that you can actually refer to the speech and make changes as opposed to just “winging it” and hoping that you’ll remember everything. Remember delivery is just as important as the content itself so practice delivery to anyone and everyone – the wider the audience the better as you’ll be able to gauge the reaction from a variety of people and this ensures that your speech will be well received by the entire audience and not just a subset. Does it sound good? Was I clear during delivery? Is there anything that needs to be added or removed? Is the timing right? Now is the time to edit and once you are satisfied with the final draft, practise some more! Additionally practising the speech in a similar environment to the actual venue is also a great idea as you’ll get a feel for the acoustics and it’ll give you a chance to wear your outfit to really get a feel of what it’ll be like on the day!
4. Finally and most importantly, enjoy the speech! You have been chosen to speak for a reason – you’re obviously very special to the bride and groom to be privileged with this responsibility, they want to see you do well as does the entire room so have a laugh or two.
Below I’ve listed some additional points to ensure the smooth running prior to your speech so take it upon yourself to certify the following;
– Does your speech contain a thank you to all guests that have attended? (I once travelled half way across the world to attend a wedding of a very special friend as did a few of the other guests, and we received no mention whilst all the others did!) Remember to acknowledge people.
– Does the microphone work (if there is one)?
– Know your audience; are you toasting the right people? i.e. Father of the Bridge toasting the Bride & Groom at the end.
– Don’t think that alcohol will help you get through the speech – it is not required. Treat yourself after the speech!
– Are your jokes appropriate and non offensives to all?
– Cue cards often make the speech more structured and well paced so should always be considered.
– Smile! Enjoy yourself – you really could add more joy on the wonderful day by smiling!
SpeakersKey is a training and development company specialising in public speaking, confidence building and workshop design. They can provide tailored programmes across the country and online training. If you wish to discuss requirements for training for your own wedding or speech please contact Hanieh for more information