Nerves aren't the only thing to worry about in a wedding speech...
Everyone worries about drying up when they give a best man’s speech or a big corporate speech. We picture ourselves so overcome with nerves that we struggle to get through our text.
Thankfully that kind of implosion is relatively rare. Even the most nervous speaker usually manages to bottle their anxiety for 10 minutes and to fake confidence. What is far more common is that nervousness before the speech becomes over confidence once you are on your feet.
If you have arrived here because you are worried about your big speech, the idea that you might be too confident on the day probably seems ridiculous. We’ve worked on so many best man speeches where the speaker has so convinced themselves that their speech will be a disaster that when they stand up and actually begin to enjoy it…too much.
The mixture of needless nervousness and the realisation that the speaker is actually beginning to enjoy themselves is fatal. Adrenalin kicks in and the speaker starts to make all sorts of bad decisions.
The most common manifestation of this is speaking too quickly. The excitement takes over and you end up galloping through your speech at such a pace that your audience can’t enjoy it.
Other speakers, surprised by how confident they feel, depart from their speech text and ad lib. Jokes that they had cut out because they were deemed too rude suddenly reappear. They then find that they have completely lost the place in their speech and crash back down to earth.
There’s so much out there giving advice on how to avoid nerves but precious little on how to deal with this more unexpected overconfidence. So here are our top 3 tips to avoid it:
1. Keep calm and carry on. Dealing with nerves and overconfidence both require keeping clam. The same techniques people advise for handling nervousness also work for preventing you getting carried away. Practice in the venue earlier in the day, focus on your breathing and keep reminding yourself that you have a speech you are happy with
2. Stick to the plan. You are unlikely to make better decisions after several glasses of champagne and with dozens of your closest friends and family staring at you. You made rational decisions on what to say, what not to say and how to say it. You spent weeks getting the speech right. Stick to the text and you’ll be fine.
3. Go slow. You’re probably speaking far too quickly. You’ve practiced so many times that you go into autopilot and race through the text. Remember to stick to the rhythm and pace you practiced. Your pace, tone of voice and body language give vital signals to your audience. These pauses, intonations and gestures are the punctuation of your speech, don’t skip them. You also need to allow time for people to get jokes and then to laugh. So many speakers crash their own applause out of excitement. If you need to ask a friend at the back of the room to give you a signal if you’re going too fast.
If you need help to write and perform the perfect wedding speech or business presentation, you can use our professional speechwriting service today.