August 16, 2010

3 reasons your wedding speech is a piece of cake

Many people consider the "wedding speech" to be their worst nightmare. Whether they're the best man, maid of honor, father of the bride, or just a family friend who's been asked to say a few words, they feel pressured to be formal, funny, profound, touching and memorable.

They feel that it's their responsibility to sum up their entire lifetime relationship with the bride or groom in two minutes, while not embarrassing themselves or the wedding party. And then there are those whose goal is to embarrass the wedding party... but that's another blog post.

Here's the secret of the wedding speech: It may be the easiest speech you ever give, so look at it as an opportunity to have fun, and don't make it more than it is. Don't believe me? See below.

1. The audience isn't there to hear you.

In a typical presentation, you are expected to know stuff. You have material to deliver, and your audience depends on you to learn something or take action after your talk.

However, at a wedding, there are no expectations of expertise on your part. You are just a guy (or gal) who's there to support the bride and groom. You don't have to know anything!

2. You don't need to create content.

At a wedding or rehearsal dinner, all anyone wants to hear is stories about the bride and groom. The stories can be funny, heartbreaking, silly or (slightly) embarrassing, but you don't have to make anything up. Any story you remember from your relationship is good enough. And if you've been asked to speak, you certainly have many stories to choose from. Tell a story and you're good.

3. People just want to drink.

Notice how everyone has their hand wrapped around a glass of champagne? They're just waiting for you to finish so they can make a toast and tip their glass. The audience is there to celebrate. It's a party. So keep it short and bottoms up!

I hope these tips help you find the fun in the wedding speech. Always remember: It's not about you, it's about the audience. And in this case, it's about the bride and groom. No speech could be easier, when the audience is so focused on someone else! Speak from the heart and have a great time.


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8 comments. Please add yours! :

Deb said...

Nice, Lisa. Thinking back on wedding speaches given and heard, I would only add that it's a good idea not to drink too much BEFORE the speach if you're the one giving it.
(no not me, it was someone else)

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Great point, Deb!

Larry P said...

Have to share this story of a "bad" wedding toast.

My oldest brother (a highly respected professional engineer) was getting married to Cindy. Cindy was his second wife. His first had died of breast cancer a few years earlier. Cindy taught High School. She was what is known as an AG teacher. AG stands for Academically Gifted. Yep, she got to hang out with the really smart kids.

My youngest brother, also a professional engineer working with NASA on the space shuttle program. His toast was this.

"To D**** and Cindy. I don't know very much about you Cindy. But when I found out you were an AG teacher I knew you would fit right in. Teaching agriculture is perfect. After all, we know how D**** likes sheep."

Yep, a classic "I can't believe he just said that" moment.

Larry P

Lisa Braithwaite said...

That must have been horrifying! I hope the bride and groom had a sense of humor about it.

homeincomeseeker said...

Hello! The notion that folk are there to just drink and not scrutinize is quite a tickler. I like your blog and am amazed that there are so many blogs dedicated to the public speaking. I simply wrote a post to my health & wellness blog. I don't think I could create an ongoing niche out of it. Keep us the good work.

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Thanks for your comment, Nikki! I guess there's a niche for each of us. If you look at several public speaking blogs, they're all different, just as each of us who coaches or trains has our own style and methods. It's nice, when dealing with something like public speaking that's scary to so many people, to find a good match with your own personality!

Stephen Presentation Skills Trainer said...

I love this idea! And so true about people just wanting to drink. I think the key is understanding that it really isn't about you at all and that takes so much pressure off. If you focus on everybody else you have a lot less time to worry about yourself!

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Thanks for your comment, Stephen. The key, as you say, is that it's not about you... which is true of any speaking engagement, but really amplified at a wedding!

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