Archive for June 18th, 2007

“I Wish I Hadn’t Said THAT!” (Over The Microphone)

Monday, June 18th, 2007

Speaking to a crowd – I’ve seen the mere mention of it reduce professional athletes to tears, turn astronaut/fighter pilots into quivering masses of jelly, and even frighten women who have survived giving birth!

Some of us would rather do almost anything than hold a microphone in our hands to address a large audience – even an audience of close friends (and – sometimes – especially an audience of close friends!) We don’t know what to say; we’re afraid we’ll say something stupid; and – if we do – we know we will kick ourselves for decades to come.

Chill, children! Help is on the way.

At most parties – including most wedding receptions – the required speeches are short, sweet, and straightforward. If you are the host, simply welcome everyone to the party, express your hope that they have a good time, and thank your long-suffering spouse (or whoever put in months planning the event.) If there are guests of honor (as at weddings, birthdays, and anniversaries) offer a toast to them. It doesn’t have to be clever or fancy. Just raise your glass and say, “Please join me in a toast to…” Then relax. Your hard work is done. All you have to do from here is pay for the party!

If you are the Best Man or Maid of Honor at a wedding reception, and you are not a gifted speaker, you too can – and should – keep it simple (and clean). Those who aren’t comedians need not prove that fact by bombing their way through a series of lame jokes. Similarly, self-written “poems” are usually far less enjoyable for the crowd (and the victims-of-honor) than their authors imagine. Much better are succint and sincere best wishes for the happiness of the lucky couple. Avoid at all costs any embarassing story that might create later problems for the bride or groom (as in “Did you really DO that?”).

By committing to keep your verbal output at the microphone to a minimum (and keep it clean), you can avoid hours of stress before the event, and years of regret afterward.