Too many wedding speakers fail because they become overawed by the occasion.
As a result, they rush through their speech, don't look up from their notes and try to hide behind the lectern.
If you feel nervous about your upcoming speech then you should take some comfort in the fact that everyone gets nervous before a big speech. My best piece of advice if this: fake it until you make it.
I have compiled some of the most useful tips to help you fake your way to a great speech:
1. Chat to the Guests
It can intimidating talking to a room of people you don't know. So why not try to meet them before you speak? This is a tactic used by experienced conference sales people.
There are two big advantages in taking this approach. Firstly, you will find the audience much less intimidating if you recognise their faces. Secondly, I find that the audience will have already warmed to you personally and give your speech a great reception.
2. Claim your space
So many speakers try and stand in a corner or hide behind a lecturn. This is a negative approach that just promotes any feelings of anxiety you may be feeling. And besides, the audience can still see you anyway!
Instead, stand at the center of the stage, close to the audience and adopt a strong posture.
If you're feeling confident enough, you can add some movement by walking around the stage. Not only will you look more confident, it will also help work off some of that nervous energy that has built up
3. Check your Posture
Remember what your mum said, "straighen your shoulders!".
Standing strong and tall isn't just for show. Research shows that adopting a strong posture promotes the release of testosterone which in turn increases your confidence.
So, not only do you look better - you feel better. It's win/win!
4. Don't clasp your hands
One tell tale sign of nervousness is clasping your hands together. It's not a great look because it looks like you are pleading and also stops you from using natural gestures. Try to use gestures as you would in a normal conversatoin with a friend. Gesturing is a very natural part of speaking so if you just keep your hands apart they will naturally start to gesture to support your points.
5. Make eye connection
Nervous speakers either look at their notes, look at the back wall or just dart their eyes from left to right around the room.
Try to make contact with individuals in the audience unitl you finish your point or your sentence.