Some people cringe at the thought of public speaking. The thought of standing in front of a bunch of people and making a presentation is scary for a lot of people. If you happen to be a best man at a wedding, or even the maid of honor, or the father of the bride, chances are you will be asked to pick up the microphone and give a toast in front of the entire audience. Many people overcome this fear by drinking – which is a huge mistake! Do you really want your words of love coming from someone that’s maybe had a few too many? Of course not. This is why it is very important to practice public speaking. In this article, we’ll give you some basic tips to improve your delivery and give a great toast.
Make sure you wear a supportive pair of shoes when picking out your tuxedo. For the ladies, this might be a lot harder, since the shoes will always have to match the dress and don’t have the luxury of having a choice between style and comfort like the guys do. You want your posture to be tall and confident, with open and relaxed shoulders so you portray confidence. If you get tense feet, knee or low back pain, it will affect your speech greatly. Make sure your posture is good and that you do not lock your knees.
The way you look can determine how well you do at public speaking. If you are not well-groomed or dressed at your best, you are not going to feel very confident with yourself. This lack of confidence may cause you more fear and could mess up your whole speech. So, be sure to look your best! If you need to, run to the bathroom to make sure your hair is in place or your makeup is touched up so you know you are looking your best. In terms of the length of the speech, try not to have it go longer than five minutes. This is the average attention span of most individuals, so speaking for longer than this is going to risk boring them. If you have to speak for longer than this, find some way to change gears in the middle to liven things up.
Practice your speech frequently once you have it memorized. Work on issues where you lose your flow. Learn to breath with ease and pace your delivery. Make sure that your speech time allows some open space for interruptions, which are hopefully rounds of applause. When you can, practice using your speech equipment. Just do not practice so much that the whole thing sounds fake and rehearsed. The best speech givers understand that importance of sounding like they are winging it, which ironically comes with a ton of practice. Always be yourself when you are giving a speech and you will have better luck with the audience. Sincerity is a quality that many people respect and admire. If it is clear to the audience that you are not putting on a show when you are speaking to them, they will receive your message better.
Avoid fidgeting when speaking in front of an audience. Playing with your hair, chewing on your nails and other similar behaviors serve to distract the audience from listening to what you have to say. Instead of remembering your message, they may remember that you continually smoothed your hair. If you find it difficult to stop fidgeting, clasp your hands together in front of you or behind you, or place them on the lectern. If you will be speaking for longer than five minutes, be sure to have a glass of water handy since your mouth could go dry.
Public speaking may seem difficult at first, but the more you practice or at least go in prepared, the easier it will become. You just need the right tools and some self-confidence. Remember, all people want to hear is your heartfelt words for the new couple. If you share those openly and eloquently, you can make those words last a lifetime.