When you stand up at the reception to make your wedding speech it will obviously be the first time that the wedding guests have heard what you are going to say. But please, please, make sure that it isn’t also the first time that you have heard the speech.
Read it out loud
Even if you have read through the speech a thousand times, and even if it reads brilliantly, a speech has to be spoken. Some things look great on the page but don’t trip off the tongue. The only way to find out how well it works is to read it out loud. How does it sound? If there are any words or phrases that your stumble over, or find difficult to say clearly, change them for something that sounds better.
Road test stories
If you find yourself swapping stories with friends down the pub, (ideally, friends who won’t be at the wedding) tell a story from your speech. The environment will be very different to the reception, but you’ll learn what bits of the story work and where attention tends to wander. Cut any bits you don’t need.
Read out the whole speech and record it on your phone, iPad or computer. Use the recording to listen to the flow, intonation and rhythm of the speech. Listen for how clearly you are enunciating, and how quickly you are delivering your words. Nearly everybody new to public speaking speaks too quickly – you should aim for about 100 words per minute, which is 25-50% slower than normal speaking speed.
Give yourself notes, edit the speech, and record again. Use this recording to help commit as much of the speech as possible to memory. Listen back as you’re going to work, doing the washing up etc…
Most people hate seeing themselves on film, but a video can help you identify quirks in your posture, hand gestures and body language. This is obviously just a rehearsal, and your delivery will be more dynamic when you’re in front of a live audience, but you may spot ways in which you can improve your delivery.
Practise makes perfect
It’s a cliché, but it’s founded on common sense. The more you practise the better your delivery will be. It also will help your confidence. The more you practise the better your speech becomes, and the more confident you will become. You know your speech, and you know it’s good. Finally, you are ready for your big day.
Do you need help with your wedding speech? Follow the link, write to firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Robin on +44 (0) 7985919856