It’s a standard tradition at weddings for the groom to get up and give a speech. It will usually include a few ‘thank yous’ for those who helped make the wedding a reality, it may feature a funny or romantic anecdote about the couple, and it absolutely must involve some romantic words about his love for his partner.
If you put it that way, it all sounds so easy – but how many men can really say they feel highly confident about talking to a roomful of wedding guests? If you’re a groom who is a little nervous about the speech, try these top public speaking tips to make it through the event!
Plan for the worst
For some, the fear of standing up in front of everyone to make a speech is driven by the fear of something going wrong. During a groom’s speech, this could be anything from the microphone failing, to the best joke falling flat.
It will help to calm your nerves by making a plan for the things you’re worried about. Test the microphone first and have a spare on hand, prepare to say “tough crowd” if no one laughs, and move on. Knowing the worst that could happen will show you how you can get around it.
Don’t write anything you’re not comfortable saying
So much of the actual speech is about what you have prepared, so focus on making it a speech that you know you can deliver. If you’re not a naturally comedic person, don’t force yourself to tell a joke – you’re not there to make people laugh unless you really want to. Similarly, if you don’t feel comfortable talking about yourself, write the speech in a way that the focus is on your partner.
There are plenty of ways to write a speech to ensure that everything you say feels natural and true, which will be a massive help on the big day.
Watch YouTube videos
There’s almost nothing you can’t learn from a YouTube video – including public speaking. But instead of looking up instructional videos on how to speak in public, make it a fun exercise and look up a video of your favourite comedian, or even just the opening speech of the latest awards show.
The purpose of this is to watch how the person stands, what they do with their hands, and how they move about. It’s not something you generally look for, but when you focus on it, you’ll see how it’s all part of the speech. If you’re nervous about how you will look during your speech, take cues from these videos and incorporate them into your own ‘performance’.
Have you ever heard someone speak, and thought that they were rude for not apologising for being a poor speaker?
Your audience doesn’t need to forgive you for not being used to being in the spotlight, and you don’t need to apologise for it. It’s your wedding, and everyone in the room is just happy to see that you’re happy (that’s why they’re there!), so keep that in mind whenever you feel like you’re not up to the task.