The mere thought of speaking in front of large groups of people can be terrifying for many of us, so obviously we avoid it whenever possible. There are times however, when we’re faced with the task and there's no running away. We need to say a few words. This is a template for success that you can use when you have to stand up in front of any type of formal or informal gathering and speak.
The greeting is the easy part. You begin by simply wishing your audience a good morning, afternoon, evening, or whatever time of day it is. “Good evening everyone...”
2. State the Event
"As we all know..."
The second part is also pretty easy: You simply state the obvious and remind everyone what the purpose of the event or celebration is, and what you're all doing there.
“As we all know, we're here to celebrate the marriage of John and Mary, and to show them our support as they begin their journey of love and life together...”
Now you've got the ball rolling, and the words are coming. You look like you know what you're doing, and people are listening. So now, it's time to....
3. Establish Common Ground
It's important to include your audience as part of the message you're delivering. Talk about something both yourself and your audience can relate to regarding the event or celebration. “We've all had the wonderful opportunity to get to know John and Mary and enjoy watching their love develop...”
4. State Why You're Speaking
Tell a brief story, or include a personal account, to let people know why you specifically are talking. What gives you the right to be speaking? “I've personally been very lucky to have John as a best friend of mine, and it's been amazing to watch him grow as a person, and couldn't be happier for him to have found someone like Mary to celebrate his life with...”
5. Call for Action
"So let's all..."
Finally, close your speech with a call for action. This lets everybody know that you're finished without you having to awkwardly say "That's it!" or "I'm finished… uh Thanks?"...that is how every weak speech is concluded and makes the audience uncomfortable. You should say something like "So let's all raise a glass to John and Mary, and wish them well. Cheers!" or, “So Let's all give a big round of applause to Liz for the outstanding job she's done while working with the company!"
Of course, there’re many ways these leading lines can be used, but if you can commit them to memory and be prepared to use them next time you might be asked to speak, you will let go of all fear and anxiety, and people will be impressed with your ability to get up and give a confident, coherent speech in front of a group of people, while looking like you didn't even have to prepare! Good luck!