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Attention - Grooms, best men and fathers of the bride!

With the wedding season underway, try following these top tips to ensure you give a confident wedding speech this summer! Tips provided by international speeching coaches, Harrison Monarth and Larina Kase, authors of The Confident Speaker - Beat Your Nerves and Communicate At Your Best in Any Situation (McGraw-Hill, September 2007, £10.99, www.theconfidentspeaker.com)

1. Create a take-away message. Think of one message you want everyone to take away and shape your toast around that idea.

2. Tell a story. Nothing engages people's interest and emotions more than stories. Tell a story that supports your take-away message.

3. Brief is best. Resist the urge to include everything but the kitchen sink hoping that something strikes a chord. Edit your toast down to keep it concise.

4. Practice and get feedback. Practice your speech in front of others who understand your message. See if you elicit the emotions you hope to, and modify as needed.

5. Focus on who you're honouring. When you deliver your toast, focus the majority of your attention and energy on those you're honouring. Engage the rest of the group with eye contact and hand gestures.

6. Don't drift into sentimentality. Pulling too enthusiastically on the heartstrings of the audience takes the focus from those you're toasting and makes you the centre of attention. Remember, it's not about you!

7. Know your alcohol tolerance and resist that fourth glass of champagne until after your speech. Everyone, including you, will be better off when you speak with a clear head and your tongue in check.

8. Be prudently funny. But keep your humour clean and free of sarcasm. Best told are short and funny anecdotes that highlight the toastees’ personality.

9. Sincere flattery is a short-cut to likeability. Feel free to take that route and watch everyone smile.

10. If you have trouble starting your speech, begin with a quote. Thousands of them have been collected over the centuries and are widely available. They begin something like this: "Socrates once said..." or "Billy Connelly says..."

Advance copies of The Confident Speaker - Beat Your Nerves and Communicate At Your Best in Any Situation (McGraw-Hill, September 2007, £10.99), are available on request, or to arrange an interview with authors, Harrison Monarth and Larina Kase on any aspect of public speaking, please contact Sue Blake Media.

ENDS

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