Many ladies are terrified of that little word 'speech'.  It's only a word - don't be afraid!  Spookily enough, I'm more comfortable addressing a room full of ladies than I am making small talk around a table of eight, but we're all different.  The main thing is to be yourself.

Seriously though, even ladies with vast experience of addressing a room full of people get nervous before a speech.  It's natural to feel butterflies - it keeps you on your toes.  The trick is to get those little butterflies flying  in formation if you can.  Here are a few hints and tips:

  • For a more formal speech, I found it useful to obtain a copy of the previous Lady Captain's speech, so I could be comfortable that I was including the right things in my speech.  I actually checked out the previous few years so I could be sure I was on the right track.  There's no point in reinventing the wheel if you don't have to.
  • A short speech is better than overstaying your welcome on the podium.  Your audience will want you to say what you have to say and then sit down - there's nothing worse than standing up there and seeing you've lost your audience.  So: short and sweet.
  • If your aim is to thank a lot of people, do make sure you capture everyone.  I took a second opinion - well, two actually - to make sure I hadn't missed anyone, so don't be afraid of asking someone to check your list. 
  • Rehearse, then rehearse again.  Practice makes perfect and, especially if you're nervous, practice helps enormously.  If you can get to the point you know what you're saying, you'll feel so much more confident when you stand up to give your speech. 
  • Practice in front of a good pal, too, if you can bear it.  Are you speaking too quickly, too quietly?  Will you have a PA system to use?  If so, you might want to have a practice using the microphone.
  • When giving your speech, I had a glass of water to hand.  It's a handy prop - taking a sip now and again will help you to pace your speech, and will also help you to relax and make sure you know where you're up to in your speech.
  • Don't feel you have to memorise your speech.  Small cards can be useful if you are comfortable just having key words or short sentences as prompts.  Or, if you have your speech printed out in full, make sure the font is easy to read and big enough.  Use spacing well too so that it's easier for you to keep track of where you're up to.
  • Remember - the audience is your friend.  If you're struggling to relax, use the old trick - picture your audience naked.  That should take your mind off the scary parts!!
  • You will find that people appreciate the fact that you're brave enough to do something they might not want to do themselves.
  • Be proud - your speech is your moment!

Diane Grant,Past Lady Captain at Hindley Hall Golf Club