Delivering a speech can be a nerve-wrecking experience, especially for those who have little practice in public speaking. For those who don’t like being in the spotlight, this process can quickly turn from nerve-wrecking to absolutely terrifying. This fear can only be taken from you, with a lot of practice and experience but there are a few simple guidelines you can follow in order to ensure that your fear stays unnoticed and your speech runs smoothly.
Who speaks and when?
Traditionally the host delivers the first dinner speech. In a casual round with friends however, it is often the guests who thank the host for the invitation with a short toast. The famous law “the host speaks first” does apply to more formal occasions and receptions (even though at a wedding reception, it is mostly the best man who delivers the first speech). Attention: make sure that all glasses are full before initiating your toast!
How do I get my guests to pay attention to me?
The speaker must win his audiences attention, before starting his toast. The best way to do this, is to stand up and hold your glass up – do not bang your cutlery against your glass, that is completely obnoxious. At a dinner party, the first speech is usually held by the host to welcome his guests. Especially in smaller rounds, it is not necessary to stand up for your speech. If you feel more secure while sitting – you should deliver your toast seated.
How do I keep my audience entertained?
The goal of a speech is to interest and to entertain your audience. Make sure that the content does not only concern you alone, but could also be of interest to your listeners. It is tempting to keep all the exciting content for the last few minutes of the speech, and a strong ending is certainly advisable. However, it is the first few minutes of your toast, which decide whether or not you’ve grasped your audiences interest and attention. So initiate your speech with a strong introduction and try to look right at your listeners while speaking! A solid eye contact will ensure their attention. It’s important to keep your cool. If you mess up a line or stumble, take a deep breath, gather your thoughts and continue speaking calm and confident. Any good speech consists of three main elements: a strong content, humor and humanity. Show your audience that what you’re saying truly means something to you, on a personal level. Throw in a good joke here and there and you can’t go wrong.
Last but not least: Even if you suddenly realize that you are an excellent speaker, please don’t overstay your welcome. A good speech is always short and to the point and your guests really don’t want to listen to you blabbing all evening. Say what you have to say and then give them a chance to mingle and enjoy the night! If you are searching for the right venue to host a dinner party, you should pay us a visit at DUKE restaurant. The chic and grounded interior, the superb wine selection and the excellent modern-classic French/German fusion menu will surely impress! For very special occasions we also have a private dining room, where you can dine and celebrate in an intimate round, with private service.