I have spent the last three weekends at three weddings and over the course of these three weekends I have had three chances to showcase my unique public speaking skills. As you may have realized by now, I am not so shy when it comes to standing in front of a group of people and speaking into a microphone (real or fake). When two sets of friends ask that I speak at their weddings, I was 100% excited and 0% nervous. When I was given the chance to give a toast at one of the weddings, I was more than 100% excited. I love to brag, but I have figured out the formula to the perfect wedding toast. I can’t tell you exactly what it is (if we end up at the same wedding, I will lose my advantage), but let’s just say I can give an entire speech, covering the bride and groom and the two as a couple, in just 51 syllables*.
All this excitement and confidence might lead you to believe I am incapable of being nervous, but this is apparently not the case**. I am typically most nervous when I am on an airplane during take-off and landing, not when I am set to speak at a wedding/engagement party/office event. Apparently the past few weeks were not typical because the nervousness I experienced at the first wedding where I was set to speak matched the nervousness I assume is experienced by people playing to sold out arenas. I was so nervous before the first reading, that I had those sweaty palms of which others speak. I was so nervous that while I was reading in a church full of people (friends and otherwise), that my knees were knocking together and the only way I made it through was reading the last six lines of my reading directly to the happy couple.
I started worrying that I had lost my touch and would not make it through the next speech or the next reading. Experts might say that preparation is a good antidote to these types of nerves. Experts might be right, but I wouldn’t know. Instead of spending the week writing my speech and practicing the reading, I started my preparation on Friday morning when I wrote my speech for Friday night. I didn’t even get my hands on the reading until Friday afternoon, so advanced preparation was not really an option.
On Friday night, the speech seemed to go reasonably well/my friends were just being polite. This boosted my confidence for the big show, so I spent my Saturday running and hanging out with friends. I did practice the reading a few times, the last being at the hotel bar before we left for the ceremony. And I was a hit (you know, behind all the other important people at the wedding). So it turns out my antidote for nerves is not preparation, it is a combination of confidence and a
*If you are mathematically inclined and educated in the finer arts, you may be able to figure out this riddle.
**I know, I was surprised, too.