Ask the Expert: Wedding Speeches

Today’s post is courtesy of my secret speech-writing weapon, Victoria of The Oratory Laboratory. She is the master at creating perfectly funny, yet heartfelt speeches written in your own voice, and will coach you so your delivery is the icing on the (wedding) cake.

The Unspoken Truth of Speaking. If you’d rather fly over the Atlantic on a sofa with wings than speak in public you’re not alone. 75% of the population are terrified at the prospect of speaking before an audience and that probably includes your maid of honor, the best man and yes, even your father.

The internet provides tips galore about what to say and what not to say at weddings but seldom do you see any good advice about the delivery. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses, but here are a few common pointers that you may want to gently pass on to your wedding party.

New York City Speechwriter Victoria Wellman Phillips The Oratory Laboratory

1.  Don’t try and memorize your speech. Do you think Obama doesn’t have twenty transparent teleprompters in front of him??  A speech is a contrived and well prepared form of expression- the audience are expecting you to take notes up there with you.

2.  Don’t rush. This is a story and you’re telling it for the first time to the people listening. They want to join you on this little journey so give them time to take it all in.

3.  Don’t just read the speech; connect with what you’re saying as you’re saying it. If you’re telling a story about your childhood, take yourself back and there and think about all the small the details, how you felt, who was there etc

4. Practice your speech as if you were reading it to a room full of five year olds to find the playfulness in the text. Jump up and down on your bed while shouting it, read it in a bad Scottish accent if you want. Once you have fun with it you can always rein the crazy back in.

5.  Keep your feet hip-width apart. Your bottom half should feel solid and grounded so that you’re free to gesticulate without falling about the place. If you’re leaning or swaying you lose the energy and presence that stillness creates.

6.  Before you start, take a couple of seconds to take in the room and your audience. Take a breath and begin only when you’re ready. This will ensure the audience are 100% with you from the start and you’ll feel more in control.