Among the essential parts of a debut program are the 18 Candles and the 18 Treasures. Both segments will require your guests to speak in front—and that may be a scary thing for some of your friends or family members.
Help them fight stage fright with these tips for their speech.
1 Give them advance notice.
When you've chosen your participants, tell them in advance (better if you can include a note in their invitation) so they can prepare what they'll say. Surely, you'd want them to say something meaningful. To help do that, don't wait until the last minute—or worse, until the host calls their name—for them to find out. Telling the guest in advance will also give you enough time to find a replacement just in case that guest won't be able to make it to your debut.
2 Set expectations.
Some guests ramble on because they don't really know what they're supposed to say, so tell your participants about the general theme of the speech. (For 18 Candles, they should give advice; for 18 Treasures, they should explain the meaning behind their gift.) The start of the speech can get tricky, since some speakers get carried away with sharing anecdotes about your experiences together. Such stories, while endearing, have the tendency to alienate or bore some of the audience. Ask speakers start off by sharing how they're related to you (i.e. "The debutante and I are classmates in high school."), and then drive to the point.
3 Tell them that they can prepare cue cards if they want.
If your guest gets nervous with the idea of speaking in front of a group of people, tell them that it's okay to bring a kodigo when they come in front to deliver their speech. Not only will they be more organized as they speak, but they'll also be more confident and they won't forget their ideas.
4 Set a time limit.
It doesn't have to be as short as the 45 seconds allotted for every Oscar winner, but setting a time limit will help you follow the program's schedule. Two minutes should be more than enough for every speaker to say what s/he has to say—tell the speaker that this will work to his advantage, since s/he doesn't have to prepare a lengthy speech. A time limit will also keep your other guests from getting bored and fidgety. If there's one thing you can adopt from the Oscars, it's that they give a prize to the person with the shortest speech. You can prepare an incentive for the most succinct speaker, but do remind speakers to still keep their speeches meaningful.
When are you celebrating your debut? Are you all set? What other things do you need help with? Leave us a message or tweet us @candymagdotcom and we'll try our best to help!