Best Man Speech: Overcoming Anxiety

Written by   (author of Obvious Conclusions)

When someone is asked to be the best man in a wedding, the initial feelings of your friend getting married and you being such a big part of it are often quickly thawed by one sobering thought:  I have to give the best man speech.

To many people unaccustomed to giving a speech, much less a best man speech, the idea of speaking in front of many people brings great fear and trepidation.  I am reminded of the Seinfeld joke in which he quipped:

According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”

Fear of public speaking can add great stress to your wedding weekend.

My friend Danny once was called upon to be the best man at his friend Todd’s wedding.  This was going to be a large occasion as Todd and his bride to be were rather high-society and planning a huge wedding with a who-who’s list of attendees.

Danny confided in me that he had never once spoken in front of a group of people before much less a group that numbered over 500 people in his hometown.  This surprised as Danny is a very gregarious individual who people love to be around.  I had assumed he had done many speeches before especially at his workplace.  But this was not the case.

“In fact,” Danny mentioned, “the only time that I have given any sort of public speech was in a college class.”  He went on to say that he sweated and stammered through the speech and that he refers to this day back in college as the worst day of my life.

As the wedding weekend neared, this was becoming a very large issue.  With Danny’s anxiety at such a peak, he was neglecting his other best man duties like planning the bachelor party.  Danny was so racked with fear and trepidation that he even considered calling Todd and telling him that he could not be the best man.  The very sad part about best man speech anxiety, as was the case with Danny, is that the best man does not naturally enjoy the wedding process because of his best man speech fears.

I told Danny about some websites that might help, including a page full of video examples entitled How-To Become a Great Public Speaker.  These videos began to help Danny through the process.

But then Danny himself found this site called Best Man Speeches – Be Fearless, Funny, and Flawless! I noticed his demeanor change.  He stopped talking to me about all of his anxieties and started actually participating in the wedding process.  His fear seemed to be all but gone.  He said this resource gave him all the techniques to quell his nerves, come up with great anecdotes, and give a great best man speech.

On the wedding day I was in attendance.  Danny gave a moving and funny speech that resulted in a huge waves of applause from the audience.  He was funny, relaxed, and seemed so at ease on the stage in front of hundreds of these important people.

Later that night, I saw this beautiful girl talking to Danny and as she leaned her body against his she said:  “Danny, that speech was absolutely amazing.  How did you do that?”

“Aw,” he said, “it was nothing.”

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Richard Cummings

Richard Cummings is writer, traveler, and web content developer.

Get your copy of his latest book entitled Obvious Conclusions, stories of a Midwestern emigrant influenced and corrupted by many years living in San Francisco and abroad. It just received its first outstanding review "...reminiscent of David Sedaris or Augusten Burroughs" on Amazon UK.
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