Timely tips to beat your fear of public speaking at weddings etc

PUBLIC SPEAKING: The best speeches are like the best theatre.

CONGRATULATIONS! So you’ve been invited to give a speech!

This could be as best man, father of the bride or whatever for a wedding (like Pippa Middleton’s recent extravaganza), an anniversary, business event or other special occasion.

But public speaking’s a doddle, nothing at all to worry about.

Fortunately, there are ways to make your speech memorable and entertaining at the same time without having to go through a nervous breakdown.

You simply have to keep some tips in mind to grab your audience and leave them begging for more.

Use whatever reason you’ve come together for the occasion as fodder for your speech.

If it’s a business event, use personal anecdotes about work and colleagues.

But best avoid recalling that episode in the mailroom when the lights failed and you stumbled over Buxom Brenda from Human Resources…

If it’s a family celebration, fall back on shared memories but not that time Auntie Ada – the one who’s just a bit over-enthusiastic, to put it mildly, about hitting the bottle – handed over your Birthday present.

We can only imagine booze was involved when she re-wrapped it – a half-scoffed box of Black Magic.

Another rule is to stay sociable but NOT sozzled and speak before 11pm.

There’s nothing worse than seeing your audience slide off the edge of their seats before you do. At 10pm they’ll be mellow; by 11pm, totally knackered.

The best speeches are like the best theatre. There’s laughter and there’s pathos (though hopefully not because you’re experiencing that nervous breakdown).

People often think speeches have to be a barrel of laughs, but if there’s one golden rule, it’s the following.

Check exactly who’s in the audience – and their specific occupations – before ending with something like this:

“Before departing, I’d just like to leave you with this thought. Why is it, all the people who know how to run this country, are too busy driving taxis or cutting hair?”

And one final rule, don’t outstay your welcome, otherwise you’ll be nodding off long before they do.

In other words: “Be interesting, be brief and be gone.”

Nora Johnson’s psychological/suspense crime thrillers ‘No Way Back,’ ‘Landscape of Lies,’ ‘Retribution,’ ‘Soul Stealer,’ ‘The De Clerambault Code’ (www.nora-john son.net) available from Amazon in paperback/eBook (€0.99;£0.99) and iBookstore. All profits to Costa del Sol Cudeca cancer charity.

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