It's wedding season, and nothing says “mazel tov” like the time-honored tradition of public speaking from people who probably shouldn't even address a drive-thru intercom. Here’s how to rock the mic:
Get loose. If a few hundred sets of eyes doesn’t make you short of breath, that top button definitely will. Undo it, and give that tie a tug.
Nix the standup. 90% of people lead off with a joke, and 89% of people tank. Better to start with a "that’s so them" anecdote than hear crickets.
One up, one down. As in hands. One in your pocket, one holding the microphone.
Landmarks. Find them in the room -- on the left, middle, and right -- and address them periodically. This prevents one side of the room from feeling ignored and you from reading. Burying your head in your notes went out with Social Studies presentations.
Play the numbers. Keep to a 70/30 rule -- 70% toast, 30% roast.
Watch the clock. Between three and five minutes means people won’t be shifting in their taffeta'd seats.
Wing it. Leave one part of your speech unwritten. An on-the-spot delivery means at least one section will sound especially heartfelt and spontaneous.
Stick to a timeline. Referencing something from their past, present, and a wish for their future is a solid way to tie it all together. Just make sure that past something isn’t a someone. Sorry, Julie.