Here are 4 fatal speaking mistakes to avoid at all costs.
They are apologizing, telling the guests that you are nervous, bringing lots of notes, and drinking before your speech. None of these will help. But, they can hurt your speech.
Why? See below.
1. Don't Open Your Speech with an Apology
It's fine to apologize if you slip up, but that's not what I'm talking about here.
What I am referring to is opening your speech by saying "I'm sorry, but this speech isn't any good..." This won't help. If anything, the apology could tell guests to ignore your speech.
This is exactly what happened during a speech that I gave many years ago. Immediately after I said I'm sorry, but this speech is not very good, the audience stopped paying attention. In fact, it looked like the audience started daydreaming before I said the next sentence!
It was a tough lesson for me to learn. But, I have not started a speech in that way since.
If you heard somebody open their speech like this, would you listen to them? Probably not.
2. Don't Tell the Guests that You are Nervous
The guests know the feeling that comes with speaking to an audience. They are cheering for you to deliver a terrific speech. The guests are also less aware of your speech anxiety, and don't focus on the shaking knees, pounding heart, etc.
You're much better off if you look at the audience, start talking, and give the best speech that you can.
3. Don't Bring Lots of Notes
Limit the notes that you use. Assuming that you've practiced at least 5 times for this 3 to 5 minute speech, you probably won't need much more than two or three index cards, or a sheet of paper.
If you hold lots of notes, you might end up reading your entire speech, getting lost, or having a hard time in general. This is not enjoyable for the audience to watch.
Here is a fatal speaking mistake horror story: When I took a Public Speaking Class, one of my classmates used a huge stack of note cards to the front for his speech.
As he started his speech and moved his first index card to the back of the pile, he dropped every card on the floor. Of course, the cards did not fall in a neat pile. They spread all over the floor.
This classmate spent most of his speech time picking up and reorganizing his index cards. He did not score well on his speech.
Through his misfortune, I learned to limit my note cards and number the cards that I used for the speech. This tip has served me well over the years.
4. Don't Drink Before Your Speech
With all of the energy that will be floating around your body, there is no telling what will happen if you drink alcohol before you speak. From seeing others who drank before their speeches, let's just say that it was not pretty.
The last thing you want to do is deliver a wedding speech before a room full of people, and perhaps the internet, when you are drunk. It will definitely make the wrong impression.
Play it safe--there will be time to drink after your speech.
Avoiding these 4 fatal speaking mistakes is a big step toward delivering an outstanding wedding speech.
Where should you go from here?
Don't Panic! Your Wedding Speech just got easier...