Tips on giving a reading at a christening, wedding or funeral

Wedding reading

At some point in our lives most of us will be asked to give a reading at a ceremony such as a christening, wedding or funeral. It’s easy to think that giving a reading is a simple thing to do, after all, it is just ‘reading’ isn’t it?

In fact, it’s not as easy as it looks – if I simply read the text to you, it probably wouldn’t have much impact. How do you make a reading engaging for your audience and more than simply ‘reading’?

Here’s my top 5 tips for giving a reading:

1. Know what you are going to read off-by-heart. If you do, you won’t always have to look at the paper in front of you and can look up, make eye contact and engage with your audience.

2. Look for areas that you can ‘bring to life’. There might be parts of the reading that you can read slowly or with a varied volume for more impact, just as you would if you were reading a storybook to a child.

3. Identify why your reading is important to the ceremony you are reading it at. It might then be useful to introduce the reading before you start. For example, ‘I am reading this poem today because it is Mark and Sharon’s favourite poem and is very relevant on this special day’. Such a description will add to your reading and set the scene for your audience.

4. Don’t be afraid to show emotion. If you are giving a reading at a funeral it is natural to worry about if you can hold it together and not be overcome by emotion. This is perfectly natural and illustrates the importance of the reading to you and your audience. Your reading isn’t meant to without emotion, so don’t worry if you unintentionally show some!

5. Be loud and proud. If your audience can’t hear you, they cannot appreciate the reading. Be sure to project your voice and let them know how great your reading is – your audience would rather you were slightly too loud than completely inaudible!

Good luck!

Want help giving your reading?

If you would like training or coaching in giving a reading, please contact Rich here. Rich is happy to work with you in person or via video link to ensure that you deliver your reading in a meaningful and effective way, whatever the occasion!

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Rich Watts is the UK Business Speaker of the Year and a past JCI National Public Speaking champion. He setup and now runs Rich Public Speaking providing presentation skills and public speaking training.

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