Feeling Nervous about your wedding speech? Don't worry. It's probably a little Speech Anxiety.
You're in good company. You've probably heard the statistics from the Book of Lists in which Public Speaking is mentioned as the biggest fear among adults.
I have good news for you. There are lots of tips that I learned when I suffered from speech anxiety.
The ways to control your nervousness fall into two categories--I call them Mental and Physical Techniques.
Mental Techniques help ease bad thoughts and nightmares while making you feel more at ease
Physical Techniques help reduce the shaking knees, sweaty palms, and other physical problems that come with nervousness
Try these tips to get relief from feeling scared, negative, or overwhelmed about your speech.
1. Mental Somersaults
Replace negative thoughts like this speech will be horrible with such positive thoughts as how happy you are for the bride and groom.
This alone helps reduce your speech anxiety and makes you feel much more comfortable about your speech.
2. Practice! Practice! Practice!
Practice your speech at least five (5) times--preferably at least once a day for the five days leading up to your speech.
You can practice in front of the mirror, in front of other people, in the actual room, or on video.
For more help in this area, visit the Practice Page to find the fastest and easiest ways to focus your practices.
3. Speak About What You Know and Like
Try to add some of your favorite ideas into your speech (how you met, a funny, but non-offensive story, etc.)
This will add something familiar and enjoyable for you to say during your speech.
I attended a wedding where the Maid of Honor is the Bride's sister. To help control her nervousness, she shared two childhood memories from a family vacation.
4. Arrive Early
If possible, try to be near the speaking area before the reception starts. This will give you time for any last minute details.
Techniques to help control sweaty palms, shaking knees, butterflies in our stomach, and other discomfort that comes with speech anxiety.
1. Deep Breathing
Slowly inhale for 4 seconds...hold your breath for 4 seconds...and slowly exhale for 4 seconds...repeat this process 5 or 6 times.
2. Light Muscle Squeeze
Start by lightly squeezing your toe muscles...continue to lightly squeeze your muscles from the bottom to the top of your body...hold your muscles for about 3 seconds...stop squeezing...repeat this process 5 or 6 times.
I learned this trick when competing in a Toastmasters Speech Contest. Although it felt silly at first, this tip has made me feel less nervous about giving speeches to this day.
When you're feeling nervous, exercise is a wonderful way to burn off this energy. Play your favorite sport after practicing your speech. On the day of your speech, taking a brief walk will make you feel more comfortable.
4. Use Gestures and Walk
Limited gestures (hand movements) and walking during your speech help you control your nervous energy while speaking to the guests.
Where should you go from here?
Worried that something will go wrong? The What If? Page will show you how to put out fires before they happen.
Check out the Audience Analysis Page to help impress your audience.
Don't Panic! Your Wedding Speech just got easier...