Online Public Speaking

Training & Practice

How to Give Your Speech

It’s time to talk about how to deliver your Maid of Honor speech. Let’s look at things step by step.

First, be aware of your body language and energy. Body language is basically how we carry ourselves physically. It’s important in every speech, not to mention in everyday life.

How you look and feel when you simply walk to the front of the room will start sending a message to you and your audience before you say a word. If your shoulders are slumped and your head is down, you’re not only telling your audience “I’m not feeling good about this”, you’re also telling yourself the same thing. Stand up tall, hold your head up high, keep your shoulders back. The audience will read your positive energy.

Another technique that helps is to SMILE.  Smiling can send great positive energy to others andmake YOUfeel better.

We should also point out that most speakers have extra amounts of energy while they are presenting.  Someexcess positive energy can be a good thing, too much might make you seem edgy. As you get to the front of the room and start speaking, unless you’ve got ice in your veins, which few people do, you’re going to feel some level of a surgeof energy.

We suggest channeling the energy into your physiology in a good way. If your body is producing extra energy - which is what it is doing - then use it in whatever appropriate way you can. Stand up straighter. Move your hands and arms in an appropriate manner.  If it’s possible and appropriate to move around the room, do so.  Channel some of the energy into your voice. If you use your energy and master your physiology, you will succeed.

The next step is to focus on your subject matter while speaking. Don’t focus on yourself, the situation, or the number of people looking at you. Your speech isn’t about you, so don’t MAKE IT about you in your mind. Focus on the words and ideas and they will flow unhindered. This is huge.

The next step in presenting to an audience is to decide whether to read, or not to read.

Listening to someone read a speech can be pretty boring. We also wouldn’t recommend memorizing your entire speech and not bringing any notes on it. Many speakers have drawn a blank when the moment actually came.

We suggest you memorize MOST of your words and concepts and use an outline as a guide, filling in the presentation with the parts you prepared well for. All you really need are triggers.

If you’re not confident in that approach, you can bring your whole speech with you, but please, please try to avoid reading it. Just use it for reference.  


The next step in giving a great presentation is understanding tempo.Most people tend to speak faster when they give a presentation. This is probably due to the extra energythey are experiencing. One problem with speaking too quickly is it may limit breathing, which can make you feel more nervous. It can also sound unnatural if you’re speaking too fast.

We recommend that you make the effort to speak a little more slowly than you might feel naturally inclined to at the moment. This may seem uncomfortable at first, but your presentation will sound more naturalthan you think it does. It may also make you seem more relaxed to the audience and give you more time to breathe, which will have the added benefit of making you less nervous!

To decide how fast you want to speak in your next presentation, here’s a great idea: Go to our live practice area and try out a few different paced presentations with a practice audience, and ask the audience which tempo they liked best.

Next, it’s time to discuss eye contact. Our suggestions for wedding toasts are slightly different than they are for other speeches. We usually recommend making a lot of eye contact with the audience, but in this case the audience is pretty spread out and you may want to look mainly at the bride and groom and others in the wedding party. Just decide ahead of time who you want to look at and make a point of it. You don’t want to forget to look at important people.

Next, don’t use non-words like UMM. We all hear this sound on a daily basis. We all use it once in a while. But it doesn’t belong in a speech. We don’t want to make you self conscious or paranoid about this. Set your goal to avoid the use of “um” and other non-words.

These are the key steps in giving a great Maid of Honor speech. Before we wrap up, is there anything you would like to change about the way you wroteyour presentation now that you learned about how to deliver it? For example, if you decided that you want to use a lot of energy when you give a presentation, does that have any impact on the best words for that style?