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Q. I want to give a bride's speech on my wedding day. What should I include and how can I manage any anxiety?
A. Michael J MacMahon says: Nerves are natural; most people fear public speaking. The good news is that a little fear helps you give a great speech, if you manage it. Here are a couple of strategies to help:
- Tell yourself you don't have to do it. A bride's speech isn't traditional, so don't let anyone know your plan – apart from your partner, maybe. Prepare the speech, but don't decide whether to give it until the last minute. My daughter used this technique for her wedding and it really helped.
- The second method works well for visual people. Try sitting down and breathing deeply, then think of a favourite place where you feel relaxed. Give that place a name. Then, just before the speeches, say that name to yourself and take your mind there for a few moments.
When it comes to what to include, luckily it's totally up to you; there are no conventions to worry about for a bride's speech. Stories work best – people love them. For example, think about what events in your relationship showed you the qualities you like best in your partner? As the old saying goes, people won't remember all your words, but they'll always remember how you made them feel. For more ideas, you can get a free speech template here www.michaelmacmahon.com/speechchecklist
Michael J MacMahon