7 ways to beat your wedding speech nerves

99% of the population is afraid of public speaking, and of the remaining 1%, 99% of them have nothing original and interesting to say.
— Jarod Kintz

Public seeking is still the number one fear on the planet, greater even than the fear of death, heights or Barry Manilow concerts. When you stand up to speak we open ourselves up to judgement. What if you mess up? What if you say something wrong. What if you forget what to say and can't get the words out at all?

Even the most experienced speakers feel nervous before they stand up to speak, and that's because nerves are important. They make sure we spend kIt can be a petrifying experience for even the most practiced speaker.

But there are ways to beat your fear. And here are 7 of them to help get you started.

1. Practice

It takes one hour of preparation time for each minute of presentation time.
— Wayne Burgraff

The key to any great speech is practice. Before you stand up to speak you need to be as comfortable with your material as you would be having a chat with your best friend.

2. Care about your topic

It’s much easier to be convincing if you care about your topic. Figure out what’s important to you about your message and speak from the heart.
— Nicholas Boothman

It's much easier to add passion to your speech if you actually care about what you're saying. Stick to telling the stories about the bride and groom that you love telling. 

3. Trust in what you have to say

Best way to conquer stage fright is to know what you’re talking about.
— Michael H Mescon

Make sure that you have faith in your speech before the big day. If you know the words are right then you can relax and deliver them in the best way possible. One sure fire way to do this is to keep the speech simple. Focus on 3 stories and form your speech around that.

4. Know your audience

‘The customer is always right’ may have become a standard motto in the world of business, but the idea that ‘the audience is always right,’ has yet to make much of an impression on the world of presentation, even though for the duration of the presentation at least, the audience is the speaker’s only customer.
— Max Atkinson

Talk to the bride and groom about their parents and friends. Get an idea of what they'll like and what kind things will make them laugh or smile. Pitch the speech at their level. 

5. Don't fight your nerves 

When you work with the thing you fear the most, you take away it’s power
— Jessica Collins

Even the best speakers still feel nerves before they get up to talk. Nerves are important. they remind you to pay attention and help give you energy. Embrace them and go in with a smile.

6. Don't be afraid to make mistakes

Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.
— Mahatma Gandhi

Because the audience are on your side no one will much care if you slip up occasionally, lose your place, or mess up a punchline. And even if they do care, no-one remembers a doozy for that long anyway. On the whole people are all too busy worrying about themselves.

7. Have fun

They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.
— Carl W. Buechner

Your speech gives you the chance to entertain the guests and, so long as you've practised well, there's no reason you wont. Take a few deep breaths, stand up, look the guests in the eye, and enjoy yourself. It will all be over in a few minutes anyway.

Conclusion

When you stand up to give your wedding speech, you're making a contract with the audience - "if you give me your time I'll entertain you". As long as you have something interesting to say the guests will give you their time gladly.

Practice your speech, take a deep breath before you star and trust in the audience to support you.

All being well you might even enjoy it yourself