For many, a first date is petrifying. The expectations from one person to be unique, entertaining, charismatic, charming and yet sincere can be a nerve racking experience. Most people experience this anxiety in another situation also, public speaking, except that these feeling get multiplied by ten when realizing you are not just trying to impress one person but rather an audience! It is natural to feel nervous and one reason why, is that you probably don’t have much experience in writing or even speaking publicly to a crowd. To help, we have created a framework that will guide you through the difficulties of writing and delivering your special speech.
The Writing Process
First, establish an objective or a theme. Pick a specific characteristic about the newlywed’s relationship other than love. Writing is much simpler when there is a direction to move towards, therefore, developing a clear focal point will keep you on track. After this, metaphors, jokes, and anecdotes are easier to muster.
Metaphors are powerful because they create an image. This helps you establish a connection with the audience by tapping into their power of imagination. Moreover, finding the right place for a metaphor is just as crucial. Like what comedians say, “Timing is everything!”
Jokes: A Sensitive Subject
All the members of the crowd expect a little entertainment. A good integration of humour and heart-felt moments in a speech always leaves a satisfied feeling for an audience member. I prefer a display of wit over reciting jokes. If you lack wit, (let’s face it, some of us aren’t blessed with it) choose proven jokes that have been tested with friends. Avoid telling inside jokes. Nobody wants to be excluded from a good laugh.
Anecdotes: Not Always the Best Antidotes
Telling stories are usually long and boring. Avoid cliché phrases such as, “This reminds me of when…” and avoid phrases like “you had to have been there.” Why say a story in which you had to be there to appreciate it? It’s a desperate salvaging of a story that ‘bombed’. The moral of the story? Keep stories relevant and short.
Eloquence: Thy Name is Simplicity
Creating an eloquent speech means eluding a few bad habits. Here is a collection of some:
• Silence is Golden. Do not try to bridge gaps of memory loss with “umm,” “like,” or “you know.” Silence is more tolerable than listening to these fillers.
• The goal is to be original, so avoid clichés. Don’t utilize overused phrases.
• Do not overemphasize a noun by placing several adjectives before it.
• Avoid double negatives. Saying phrases like, “You haven’t seen nothing yet.” Essentially, it is equivalent to saying “you did see something.”
• Most importantly, don’t use big words when simple words will get the message across.
It’s Delivery…Not Frozen Pizza
Before printing, it is better to enlarge the font to size 16 in order to see clearly. Bold key words and phrases to act as a landmark in order to effortlessly search for your place as you speak. All the aforementioned tips can help you be more flexible with the presentation. Slight hand gestures can create drama and emphasis but avoid overdoing it. Be aware of hand gestures that produce the opposite effect such as crossing arms; it emanates an unwelcoming persona. Having a clear and audible voice is important. Add pauses, tone and enunciation to create colour to the delivery. Remember to stand straight, no slouching, leaning or shifting weight.
Keep in mind to just talk to people because that’s what this is all about. As the best man or bridesmaid, this speech will be your stage to show the guests that the bride and groom have picked a person that knows them best.