Giving an engagement party speech can seem daunting, even if your audience is made up of just family and friends. Luckily with some simple preparation it can be quite straightforward. Here are some tips to help you make sure that your engagement party speech is a success.
1) Captivate your audience
There’s no point in giving the funniest, wittiest, and most moving speech of all time if your audience is busy clinking glasses and making plans for the reception. It is always a good idea to begin your speech by making sure that every eye in the room is on you.
A good way to do this is to establish a relationship with the audience by introducing yourself. People are less likely to be captivated by your speech if they don’t know who you are. Fortunately even if not everyone at the party knows you, they will be mutually acquainted with the newly engaged couple, so make sure to begin by mentioning how you know the betrothed.
2) Tell stories
Studies show that people respond to stories better than statements. This is because a good story will leave your audience emotionally invested in your speech, whereas a simple statement may leave them doubting your point of view.
Consider the different impacts of the following sentences:
‘I always knew Mark and Sarah were a great match for each other’
‘They met at the golf course when Mark helped Sarah to get her cart out of the same patch of mud he had got stuck in a week earlier’
Which one of these gives you a better impression of the couple?
3) Use Humor
It may seem obvious, but no one wants a dry speech at an engagement party. At the same time, giving a funny engagement speech is not always easy. Clichéd one-liners are a definite no and will most likely put off your audience. Humor works best when the audience doesn’t see the punch line coming, so take some time to think of something unexpected and be aware of your comic timing.
The perfect joke for an engagement party is one that appeals to everyone whilst still being original – so nothing crude or offensive. Inside jokes are also not a good idea as some audience members will feel left out.
4) Use cues – NOT a script!
There are few things worse than having to sit through an engagement speech where the speaker struggles to read from a script word-for-word. In most cases, it is difficult to read from a script without sounding tedious and stilted.
The secret is to use bullet points to give you a general reminder of your structure and ad-lib the speech based off these cues. This way, you can prepare yourself properly but your speech will still have a conversational tone, keeping your audience engaged.
The best way to get comfortable speaking in front of people is to do just that – speak in front of people. Practice in front of friends, family, and co-workers so that when the big night comes along you will be in familiar territory. It is worth finding a group in your area dedicated to practicing public speaking; Toastmasters is a great resource for this.
6) Act out your speech
A captivating speaker is one who truly believes in the words they are saying. If you are enthusiastic about your speech, your audience will be too. The best way to do this is to use physical gestures and facial expressions to match what you are saying. For example: it would look slightly odd for you to be talking about how happy you are with your fiancée whilst frowning nervously.
Use confident body language – stand up tall and look straight ahead, make big gestures with your hands, and avoid fidgeting or looking at your feet. If you appear to be nervous, your audience will be uncomfortable too. Which brings us to our final tip:
Public speaking can be nerve-wracking for even the greatest orators. If you are giving a speech at an engagement party it can be easy to get caught up in the stress and forget the purpose of the night: to have fun and celebrate with family and friends. Remember that even if your speech falls flat you will be in front of a forgiving crowd.
If you are especially prone to anxiety, mindfulness practice is a good way to calm your nerves.
An engagement party speech can be a moving tribute to the newly engaged couple, or an awkward disaster that is best forgotten. Make sure you're remembered for all the right reaso