Toastmaster

Helping a shy guy prepare for his wedding toast or speech

There is a very good reason why people are prone to nervousness when making a wedding toast—we just don't have speaking engagements every day, and certainly not in front of our closest friends and family. Your fiancé may be as terrified of making a wedding speech as he is to see the bill for the wedding flowers! That said, your fiancé can come off as a charming groom, making the guests think he pulled the speech out of thin air. Here’s how. (P.S.: If you follow these tips, you’ll be even more prepared to make your own wedding toast or speech!)

First, the easiest way to combat speech nervousness is to practice, practice and practice some more. This doesn't mean practicing in front of each other (as that might ruin some of the surprise), but it does mean ensuring your fiancé spends some time thinking about the speech he’ll be asked to deliver. He should practice in his head and practice out loud in front of some of his friends. He should practice while driving, walking and working. As practice is so critical to combating nervousness, it is my first suggestion when it comes to making a wedding speech. It’s the only crutch a public speaker can rely on.

However, before your fiancé will have a wedding speech to practice, he’ll need to have written one. Fortunately, if your fiancé can write an email, he can write a wedding speech. The easiest subject to write about is how—exactly—your fiancé met you, his wonderful wife, and what convinced him that you’re the best match for him. As a typical wedding speech lasts a maximum of two to five minutes, your fiancé will have plenty of material by sticking with this easy formula. The best part, of course, is that it will be written in a heartfelt way. (I’ve been to more than one wedding where the ordinarily composed groom can barely contain his tears! There’s no shame in this.)

Your fiancé should actually write the speech out, and not rely on any of the pre-made wedding speeches available for purchase on the Internet. A canned wedding speech is about as interesting as canned water chestnuts. Your fiancé wants to simply survive his wedding speech, and not be known as a guy who delivered something that was written for "him".

Finally, once the speech is written in long form, I suggest that your fiancé write his speech on cue cards in an outline form. A speech written in long form tends to be read, rather than delivered. There’s not much point in that approach and reading what is essentially a long email is just a recipe for boredom and more nerves, particularly when your fiancé can't read his own handwriting, begins to get choked up with emotion, or worse, the pages aren't numbered and fall out of order. An outline will provide him with keywords to spur the thoughts that will be translated into something genuine when delivered.

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