Some tips on overcoming your fear of public speaking and delivering a great maid of honor speech. Here are some important things to remember about speeking at a wedding reception.

  1. Your audience wants you to succeed - Truly, there is no better audience in the world than a wedding reception audience listening to a maid of honor. Everyone really wants to hear what you are going to say and will enjoy it.
  2. You do not have to perfect to be loved by your audience - Have you ever watched a talk show? The hosts make all sorts of mistake and their audience love them for it.
  3. Humility and Humor are always a hit.
  4. Being yourself is a lot easier than trying to emulate someone else's speaking style.
  5. Look at your audience. Even if you have trouble looking a stranger in the eye you should at least look around the room for people you recognize. Unlike a teacher who looks at the class to find who isn't paying attention, a good public speaker looks to see who is enjoying the speech and addresses them.
  6. Be prepared and practiced. Practicing your speech out loud is extremely helpful. You can do so in front of the bathroom mirror, the dog, or to friends. You don't have to memorize your speech but be sure you are comfortable with it.
  7. If you are nervous the night before, use this energy to create an index card with the main points of your speech. Writing it down again will help you remember what to say and the index card will be handy while you are giving the speech.
  8. Visualize the outcome you want. Think about the mother of the bride laughing at your jokes or sniffling and smiling at your childhood stories.
  9. Work on your volume. One thing that can happen to people that are intimidated by public speaking is that they won't project their voice. Even if you are not confident, you can appear so by adding volume to your speaking voice. Try reading your speech into a corner. The sound will bounce back of the walls and give you an idea of the confidence level in your voice.
  10. Have that note card handy!
  11. Take a deep breath before you start. You can't go wrong with full lungs. It will even make your figure look better.
  12. Stand up.
  13. Use a microphone if given one. Hold around the middle and keep it a few inches from your lips and an inch or so lower than your mouth. Try not to let it fall because no one will be able to hear you. Try not to hold it too close to your lips or you will get a popping sound when you say your P's.
  14. Don't get drunk before your speech. Tranquilizers aren't a good idea either. They will leave you with an inability to react to the situation.
  15. Don't drink a lot of caffeine beforehand either. Caffeine is a nervous stimulant. It is the opposite of what you will want before speaking at the wedding reception.

That's it. I know that seems like too many things to remember but most people will only need a few tips.

Reference: In The Spotlight - Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking by Janet Esposito, Public Speaking for Dummies by Malcolm Kushner, staff,