Our expert Best Man Baz is back this week to tell the guys how to handle pre-speech nerves.
When it comes to pre-speech nerves ‘Necessity is the mother of invention.’
Read on to discover how to be as cool as the proverbial Cucumber and not shudder like a defecating pooch.
The immense crippling nerves that are commonly associated with public speaking and Best man speeches in particular are one of life’s conundrums. Other bizarre universal quandaries are – Why is the ‘Letter S’ in the word ‘Lisp’? Why is the word ‘Dyslexic’ a high scoring Scrabble word? Why does Coke taste better out of a glass bottle than out of a can? No idea… Some things are just too loco to comprehend. It’s more annoying than the incorrect overuse of the word ‘literally’ or the incorrect use of the word ‘pacific’ instead of ‘specific’. Without being pacific this literally drives me nuts.
The best way of combatting ‘Best man speech’ nerves is to approach it like this: ‘If you always prepare in the same way you’ve always prepared then you will always achieve what you’ve always achieved.’ Therefore if you have a negative experience in memory then approach this speech completely differently and treat it as a positive opportunity and not like an Albatross around your neck. (See ‘7 Ps’ and ‘SMART’ in previous instalments.)
If you have crippling nerves regarding the speech then I suggest stripping everything down and approach the opportunity differently. If you’ve suffered from nerves on a similar occasion previously then try to remember your body’s symptoms at the peak of the nerves. Common symptoms are erratic breathing, an increase in heart rate, sweating like a ‘Lady of the Night’ in Church and having the desire to drop anchor in Pooh Bay. How you feel (anxious, scared, trapped, isolated) and what you think (I’m going to have a mare; I’m going to be a laughing stock; everyone knows I’m petrified) both marry up together as a negative behaviour (Common bodily symptoms above). Nerves will be a thing of the past if you feel (excited, confident, relaxed) and think (What’s the worst that could happen?! I’m not going to die up here. I’m prepared. I’ll do it like I practised. It’s going to be a laugh and a chance to wind my mate up) then you will behave in a more confident, positive way and you’ll be in control.
An option which always chills me out is Yoga. I’m not suggesting for a second that you buy some incense, hug the nearest Oak Tree and start wearing Linen trousers. Yoga classes focus on breathing, relaxing and focussing your mind. Once you get used to it you will find ways of focussing your breathing and heart rate so that you can overcome stressful situations. Once you’ve overcome the misconception that Yoga classes are full of hippies and flatulent OAPs consider these two words. Yoga Pants… The whole point is to approach the whole ’Best man experience’ differently and in a positive way which works for you as an individual.
In bygone Best man speeches I have witnessed seemingly confident friends fall apart at the microphone faster than a counterfeit Optimus Prime. One Best man forgot to number his speech cards; he managed to drop them and cocked up his card order. He cracked on in a flustered, chaotic manner for 10 seconds or so and then had to sit down and the Groom tentatively had a crack at the title and save the day. It’s the closest thing to human Jenga that I’ve ever seen. The poor guy just crumbled and collapsed before our very eyes. (See ‘7 Ps)
Another Best man took Dutch courage to a whole new level. He drank so much he even sounded Dutch. “I’d like you to all be upshtanding for a toasht.” With a few ‘F – Bombs’ thrown in willy-nilly I can safely say that he was as much use as a glove on a foot. I always have a hip flask on go on the wedding day with my usual tipple of Mr Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum or Mrs Disaranno (other tipples are available). That way the Groom and I can have a cheeky slug to take the edge off if required. I find that a half a dozen slugs of Lucifer’s fiery sauce suffice. If this is favourable to you then remember to pace yourself, particularly if the speeches are after the food, it can be a long shift so take it steady and don’t peak too “Shoon”.
An example of my first Best man experience.