It was a sunny day in September 2000 – and my heart was beating out of my chest. I was best man at my brother’s wedding, surrounded by family and friends, in a swanky Welsh hotel. The ceremony had taken place without any drama (aside from the point, just before the ceremony, where his wife-to-be’s ring somehow slipped perfectly inside his ring in my pocket, leading me to believe I had lost one of the rings… something his father in law had made clear would end in my painful death). Now it was time for the wedding breakfast and the best man’s speech. I was bricking it.
And NOBODY UNDERSTOOD.
You see, at that time in my life I was a moderately successful radio presenter and all of those present at the wedding assumed that it would be an easy speech for someone used to speaking to thousands of people every single day. In fact, just days previous, I had stood on stage in front of a reported 80,000 people, introducing music acts.
So why was my pulse rate reaching medically-concerning-levels as I sat in my best man’s suit, trying to swallow down the hotel’s set-menu wedding food?
It was because I had never been taught how to perform a public speech. I had no idea how to construct a speech, didn’t know where to look in a room of 40 people (compared to a sea of a thousand anonymous faces or a padded studio wall), couldn’t get the content or pace quite right and certainly was unable to commit the speech to memory.
Days later I began a twenty year journey to become a better public speaker – both at work and socially, in person or on camera & I’d love you to be able to benefit from that journey, in the area that causes you the most concern.
Which is the reason for this blog. Do keep checking back for regular hints and tips, sign up for the free weekly newsletter and be part of the community.
Nobody should have to suffer the heart rate I put myself through on that sunny day in Cardiff, two decades ago.