FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Having spoken at her own wedding, albeit not actually involving the sixth in line to the throne despite what the groom claimed, professional confidence and public speaking expert and former BBC producer, Esther Stanhope
Can share her do's and don't's of how to win over the in-laws. Yes even if they are The Queen!
Here she shares her top five tips for Meghan Markle when she juggles protocol with self promotion at the Royal Wedding Breakfast on the 19th of May.
Say it out loud FIRST. Then write it down.
You may be an actress and good at learning your lines, but this isn't a rehearsal, you won't have a prompt, and you will hopefully see the audience again. So don't wing it!
Plan what you want to say in your natural spoken way before committing it to paper. Use post-it notes, recordings and the like to capture your natural self. Then use those words in the written speech. Otherwise it will come over as formal, and you will be filed away with all the speeches that the Queen has already heard from US Presidents' wives. Use all your acting techniques and breathing exercises to overcome the nerves and adrenaline.
Play to the audience.
Go through the key people in order. Include their 'likes'; exclude their 'dislikes'. Work out where to pitch the humour to attract the smiles and avoid the grimaces. Create your own humour, and don't rely on jokes. And don't set out to embarrass anyone....unless it's Harry, in which case it's your own outlook. Sexual innuendos may well go down well at the wedding buffet at the Dog and Duck, but are unlikely to hit the mark at the Palace. So don't go anywhere near the knuckle. And remember that the Queen is pretty patriotic if you have to bring your home country into the speech.
Make it Personal
Tell a few little stories....three maximum.....about yourself. What your parents said when you told them you were going out with a fun loving helicopter pilot, for instance. Make personal reference to people in the audience; name drop in a warm way. But don't follow the age old advice for public speaking of imagining the audience naked. You are going to see them again, and you really don't want to get into the habit. If you involve them, they will enjoy it, and they will want you to enjoy yourself too. If you didn't see them as friends, you wouldn't be there in the first place.
Don’t do this….
Drink. A bit of Dutch Courage before standing up to speak is the customary procedure for the nervous groom. But when you are unlikely to have eaten much, and the table tipple is fine champagne, Dutch Courage is more likely to turn into American Crisis, your lines will go to mush, you will start blubbing and bursting out those thoughts in your head that should never pass your lips. Like, 'Well tonight’s the night I'm going to find out if he's really a ginger'. It won't go down well. So stick to the water until you sit down.
Leave technology to chance at your peril. You might think you have a powerful voice, but don't put the hearing aids at the back of the room to the test. So use a microphone, or rather two, as one might just be faulty, both table mounted so you don't have to show your nerves by waving a hand held around, and controlled by a technician who has been shown pictures of the Tower. Check it all works yourself beforehand.
Keep it Short
Ask others how long their speeches are, and plan yours to be several minutes shorter than theirs. You neither want to upstage anyone, nor come through as the one who likes the sound of her own voice. Close it down in good time with a feigned tear and a little dab of the eye, so that even if you have gone on a bit, they will still love you.
But more than anything, smile, smile, smile – eyes and teeth! Enjoy it.
This isn't a rehearsal, this is a major life moment.
A former 'Live' BBC Producer, Esther's helped big personalities, international celebrities, and politicians radiate charisma & quickly engage with an audience (She's interviewed the likes of Madonna, George Clooney, and Alistair Campbell). She now helps global organisations win new business by bringing personality to their pitches and presentations. Clients include Deloitte, HSBC, Barclays, International law firm Squire Patton Boggs, FirstGroup and Mumsnet.
Esther also speaks at company away days, conferences and Women's Networking events. about personal impact, confidence and charisma. She's a regular at Mumsnet Workfest - helping women get their Mojo back when they want to get back to work and she's inspired 100's of women in business to raise their profile by speaking in front of audiences.
Check her out on Ch4's Celebrity Wife Swap http://bit.ly/1zaanTu
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