If you suffer from a fear of public speaking, you are not alone. Giving a speech can be one of the most nerve-wracking moments of your life, but proper preparation can help steady your nerves. Long before you deliver a dedication speech to honor a family member, colleague or friend, make an effort to prepare the right content to ensure that the entire audience, and especially the guest of honor, will appreciate your words. Once you dazzle the crowd with your dedication speech, you may even be asked to give another at a future event.
Highlight Strengths and Share Experiences
Write the dedication speech to honor the individual. Dedication speeches often take place at retirement parties, anniversary celebrations and award banquets. Regardless of the specific event, your speech should highlight the individual's accomplishments, share personal anecdotes and combine poignancy with humor. You can write the entire speech based on your personal relationship with the honoree, or ask other key people for their input for the speech.
Share the speech with some of the guests who'll be in attendance to gauge their reactions. Often, a dedication speech relies on humor, but your speech shouldn't offend any guests. A few neutral parties will help you determine the appropriateness of your words. If they make any useful suggestions, make the necessary changes.
Practice Your Speech
Rehearse the speech until you're completely familiar with it. While taking a printed copy of the speech to the podium is acceptable, simply reading your speech reflects poorly on you. Deliver your speech mostly from memory, while keeping an eye on your notes to maintain your place.
Relax in the period of time leading up to your speech by breathing, talking with friends and drinking water. Remember that joyous events tend to put people in a relaxed mode. Your speech delivery doesn't have to be perfect, so don't worry about thinking it has to be. Instead, keep calm and don't fret as you get ready to deliver the speech.
Maintain an Appropriate Pace
Speak clearly and at a slow pace while you're giving the speech. Rushing your delivery when you're feeling nervous is normal, but doing so negatively affects the delivery of your speech. Speak at a normal pace, and take pauses when appropriate, such as after you made a joke. Often, speeches get easier after you speak for a minute or after you earn the first real laugh from your audience.
Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.