There is a statistic somewhere from a research project in America that confirms more people are scared of the thought of public speaking than they are the thought of death. I see this week in week out – very confident, successful and accomplished people who are terrified at the thought of standing up and talking out loud to people. If anything, that situation is only going to get worse. In America only 3% of smart phone use involves verbal communication, we have already raised a generation that does all of its communicating through text, emails and messages. So, if you think people aren’t that jazzed about making a groom speech today, then they are going to need sedating in the future.
In order to rationalise that fear,. we need to look at exactly what people are so scared of, and it’s pretty basic: nobody wants to stand up and say something that nobody finds funny/interesting/moving. I completely understand that, so what’s the best policy? Start early, invest time and effort into what you’re going to say, and leave nothing to chance. You wouldn’t go to a job interview without putting in some ground work, so why would you leave the speech to the last minute? If you’re that worried about what you’re going to say then do something about it, rather than think it’s an insurmountable task.
Secondly, you have to appreciate the sensibilities of the people you’re talking to. These are all great friends and family, and they want you to do well, they are primed and ready to laugh and enjoy anything you’re going to say – this isn’t your first night at the comedy club, it’s a wedding. So, if you’ve got a great speech, then only really shonky delivery can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. How do you mitigate that?
Well, the first thing to do is read the speech as often as you can – do not try to learnt it parrot fashion, you will send yourself bonkers. Instead read it frequently and it will soon cement itself in your brain. You will instinctively know what comes next, the pattern of the speech, word combinations etc, and so there will be no surprises on the day. Once you are super familiar with the speech, then on the day it’s your choice as to how best execute it. A lot of grooms like prompt card, but I think they’re fiddly and you can lose a lot of information on them if you’re working from bullet points. If you’re attempting to write the entire speech on them, you’re going to set new world records in squinting.
My advice would be to print the speech out in full on A4 sheets using a much larger font than normal. You can then use this as a prompt, as you’ll already know the speech inside out, and no chunks of content will be lost in translation. You are making a hugely important statement in your life by getting married, and there’s only one chance to mark that occasion by saying what it means to you. Forget the pressure and think of it as a privilege and an amazing opportunity – because it is.