Updated: Apr 22
Giving a speech at any time is nerve wracking for most. But giving a speech when you are emotional invested in your listener is an even bigger task to get right.
Wedding speeches always require emotional intelligence and a steady approach. What matters is that the content reaches the audience moment to moment. Often, we hear speakers come off stage and say, “I was so nervous, I just couldn’t get to grips with my nerves”. You spend days rehearsing to get it right and then minutes messing it up!
Here are our top tips for for how we overcome and conquer this pesky thing called ‘nerves’.
1. What actually are nerves?
Nerves are adrenaline. That’s it! A powerful euphoric substance that the body cleverly makes for us. When adrenaline spikes, we must use this chemistry to work in our favour and to our advantage.
Simply start to see it as the vital, wonderful life force that it is.
When we align ourselves to this idea, we can use adrenaline to become passionate, engaging story tellers, bringing meaning to our words and life to our speech.
2. Breathe deep.
If you get this right, then you’re off to a good start. Without a solid awareness of how you breathe then you will surely be flooded by adrenaline and back in the trap of feeling ‘nervous’. Breath is the single most powerful way to overcome any momentary glitch.
Deep belly breathing is what counts and it is a technique we must master well in advance of any speaking event. Fill your tummy first with air, let it rise up like a balloon. Then let the ribs glide outwards, filling the chest. This is called diaphragmatic breathing and it goes deep into the body. In doing this you can steady your exhale and let the words resonate with power and projection.
3. From the ground up.
When we feel ‘nervous’, we often feel unsteady and not in our bodies. A feeling that can leave us lightheaded and ungrounded. By simply bringing awareness to our posture and grounding down into the feet we can alleviate nerves. Getting back into the body, frees us from over thinking and analyzing.
Feel all four corners of your foot in your shoe, work up the legs, torso and neck and try to straighten up. Find length in your back and engage your core – this is an exercise in realigning the spine! Think about connecting roots into the earth, whilst being pulled gently towards the sky.
4. Focus out, not in.
Remember this is not about you, this is for your audience. When we begin speaking, start from a place of service and ask the question, how can I best serve them?
When we shift our focus onto the listener and become curious as to who they are and what they want, then we no longer have time to worry and overthink. If my focus is outwards and directed towards another, then I can’t be caught up in the chaos of self-doubt.
5. Positive Visualisation.
Envisage the day in question and start to see your moment on stage taking shape. Picture yourself in a radiant light, looking and feeling your absolute best. Visualize the audience captivated by your words. Envision your pace, pitch and pauses.
Take control over the delivery, giving it weight and meaning. Watch your listeners laughing and leaning in to your every word and phrase. This is such a powerful tool for preparation allowing you to believe in yourself and reach the goals you set for an outstanding and unforgettable speech.
In a future blog look out for another set of top tips...when we will be focusing on the value of Presence, Charisma and Humility!