It’s normal for men to be nervous before the wedding,
“It’s going to be a really big do”, he told me, “and to be honest I really wish Ewan hadn’t asked me to be his best man. I mean, I was really honoured to be asked, but the thought of making a speech is terrifying. I tried to persuade him to get his brother or another friend to do it but he wouldn’t hear of it.
“I know they don’t get on that well, but his brother is really good at speeches and stuff. I was thinking about pretending to be ill after the service so I don’t have to go to the reception. But the way I’m feeling at the moment I won’t have to pretend.”
I’m always careful to make sure that people who talk to me about speaking nerves aren’t just having the same nerves that affect all of us. We actually need a degree of nerves to help us raise our game. And that’s not just for speaking – that’s before anything where the pressure’s on to be at our best.
Gareth really wanted to be the best man, and he didn’t want his nerves about the speech to stop him from doing or enjoying anything. Knowing that helping Gareth to give a much more relaxed speech was straightforward.
Some of his nerves came from worries and ideas about the venue and the other guests. We looked at them and decided if they were reasonable or not, forgetting the ones that weren’t and finding ways round the couple that were.
For instance Gareth had worries about memorising the speech until I reassured him that no-one expected him to, and no-one would be bothered about him using something to remind him. With those worries gone he was already feeling much better about speaking.
It was then easy for Gareth to concentrate on getting his nerves down to a manageable level. He chose to learn a method that got him feeling confident and relaxed in difficult situations. With that well practiced he came back and mentally rehearsed his speech.
Not only did this actively grow Gareth’s confidence it also helped him to find the parts that he still needed to change. Every time he practiced he got more fluent, more confident, and happier and happier about the wedding.
I sent Gareth a good luck text on the morning of the wedding. Later that afternoon I got a reply from him “Bride’s dad said best best man speech ever” which I think it’s fair to say was even more than Gareth, or I , was expecting.
* Gareth’s real identity has been protected, and he is happy to share his story.
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