My roommate and dear friend is soon to be a maid of honor in her cousin’s wedding. Over the last few months, she has picked out dresses, had her nails done for the first time, and tasted yummy wedding cakes. One duty that she has not been so thrilled about is writing her speech. Between working at the Castle and attending countless friends’ weddings this summer, I have heard a lot of toasts and speeches and the overarching theme seems to be: speakers have great things to say, but get nervous. While a less-responsible Tonawanda Castle wedding blogger may tell you to have a few drinks to calm your nerves, this one happens to be studying public health and would like to offer some alternative ways to ensure you stay calm and deliver a speech that the guests deserve to hear.
Take a moment before your speech to envision yourself delivering it perfectly, then believe in yourself to do it just as you have imagined. This is a psychological technique called mind-mapping, and helps paint the experience in a positive light and increase your self-confidence.
Take a deep breath between sentences. This helps keep you relaxed and also keeps you from sounding rushed.
Reading a speech can be tacky, but if you are a very nervous speaker it may be the best way to ensure you say the right things. A good compromise is writing a list of key point on a card in the order that you want to present them in your speech. This way, you are not reading directly from a paper, but you do have something to fall back on if you stumble.
Overall, remember not to over-think the situation. Just act as if you are speaking honestly to a group of good friends and have fun with it. The best speeches are honest ones given with true feeling.