Your first time speaking in public may have been in school. It probably felt dreadful when your teacher chose you to answer a question while all your classmates listened in. Running through your mind was probably why he had to pick you and not someone else. You just wanted to sit there and look attentive but not have to participate.

Your heart pounded hard and the skin on your scalp perspired when you had to speak up. You spoke but it didn't make much sense or it didn't come out as intelligent as your classmates' answers. The aftermath wasn't a pleasant experience either. When it was over, you just wanted to hide and all you could think about was how awful it was.

Fast forward back to now the groom chose you as his best man and the best man traditionally gives a speech. You feel a bit anxious because you're the main speaker at the reception, and guests expect the best man speech to be funny and memorable.

Is there a way to conquer your anxiety over speaking to an audience without taking a tranquilizer?

There's no easy way to defeat your fear of speaking in public. The way to overcome your fears is to face them. It might be a cliche, but it's true. With practice, you'll become more at ease and soon you'll wonder what you were all worried about. In fact, you might learn to enjoy talking to an audience and you might want to do it even more.

For many people, speaking in public isn't something they do often, unless it's part of their job. If you're in this situation, then there is a substitute method of practice. You can try self-hypnosis or visualization. Just imagine yourself starring in your own movie and it's about how you delivered the perfect speech to a crowd. Practice this a few times it's like a mental rehearsal. By the wedding day, you should feel confident about how you'll perform.

Don't wait until the last moment to get your speech written. If you get it done early, then you'll remove some of the pressure on the wedding day. You may carry notes with the key points of your speech to reduce your fear that you might forget to say something.

Try to become friends with the other people, such as the groomsmen or bridesmaids, if you don't already know them. Then when the wedding day arrives, you will feel more at ease while you make your toast, because there will be many familiar friendly faces in the audience.

As you speak to the audience, stay focused on the groom and the bride. Don't let stray thoughts about how you are doing distract you from delivering your message.

Being the best man and giving the best man speech and wedding toast is an experience you'll look back upon with pride. Your feelings of anxiety will disappear once you finish your speech and what will replace it is a feeling of exhilaration.

Copyright (c) 2006 by Leroy Chan