IF I’M THE BEST MAN, WHY AM I BEING PUNISHED?
That was my feeling during the period leading up to my brother’s wedding. Of course it was a real honour being chosen to be in that treasured role. I was his friend and he recognised me as being someone who was special in his life.
So why the punishment?
The punishment I’m talking about is of course the Best Man’s Speech. I am quite accustomed to speaking in public and have done so since the age of 18 when I first taught classes in English to French children but this was a different matter. I was being asked to play the role of funny man. The Best Man’s Speech traditionally has to be funny and this was where my fear arose from. My brother had always been the humorous one when we were growing up and I just tagged along. Now I had to make 200 people laugh!
This was many years before I became a hypnotherapist and if I’d known then what I know now I would have been able to use many of the tools and techniques which I use with clients on myself. Some experts estimate that up to 75% of the population has some level of anxiety regarding public speaking. There can be a fear of being exposed, feelings of vulnerability and in more severe cases panic attacks can occur in the build up to or even during a presentation.
I have worked with a number of clients with quite severe fear of speaking in public. Sometimes the fear can develop later on in life even after years of positive experiences and confidence. This can be a result of current stressors and/or past trauma. I am able to help them calm their nerves and develop a stronger focus on the subject matter and the audience rather than an over focus on themselves. It is also sometimes necessary to help people reduce overall stress and/or discover any underlying root causes.
So did I survive my ordeal at the wedding? Well let’s just say that 200 people did laugh and more than once. What’s more, I actually did enjoy myself but I do wish I’d had some positive psychological strategies and techniques to draw from rather than just relying on Bob Monkhouse wedding jokes from a joke book!
Now that we’re entering into this year’s wedding season, if you know anyone who you’d like to enjoy giving a Best Man’s Speech, rather than suffer as I did, send them my way for some psychological support and I promise I won’t teach them any Bob Monkhouse jokes.