Coach yourself to give a memorable best-man speech
1. Less is more
Keep your speech simple and to the point. A good rule of thumb is around 650 words; about 5 minutes of spoken English with some decent pauses in there for good measure. You're there to make a great speech and offer congratulations, not to be part of a lecture circuit. Most people try and put too much in to their speeches; remember KISS: Keep It Short and Simple. It’s been around for a long time, but is still very relevant.
2. Pick a theme
Pick one theme and stick to it. This could be love, school days, holidays, commitment, first days at work; basically, anything that you can hang the rest of your speech on and are able to speak from some personal experience with the Groom. Ideally, make it a theme that’s generic enough that most of the audience can relate to it in some way.
3. Tell a story
Now that you have a theme, think of it as a story. Give it a start, middle and end. You want a short story that people can follow so that it flows together and makes sense. Everyone likes a story, so spin that tall tale so that the audience are taken along for the ride. If they have to sit there and work out what you are talking about they’ll switch off; make it easy for them to follow.
4. Don’t memorise it as a script
You want to know your speech inside and out, but not as a full script. If nervous, many people learn their speech so that they don’t have to have notes - and then still speak it as if they are reading it from a script, meaning that they may as well have read it off the paper after all (or, to be honest, just printed it off and handed it out). You need to know what you are going to say but have the freedom to say it in a conversational way.
5. Start strong
Have a great attention grabber. This can be using humour, a famous quote, a prop or even an image as long as you can make it big enough for everyone in the party to see. This means your speech starts sharply with a big bang rather than a quiet fizzle. This includes not starting your speech until everyone has gone quiet, otherwise the people at the back will miss your first words.
6. Have fun
Despite the possible nerves and wobbly legs, aim to have fun. When you read your own speech back, does it make you laugh and will others get it? Don’t make it so insular that only the “in-crowd” will understand it. If you are enjoying telling people about your story then they’ll enjoy it too. Avoid using full-on jokes; joke humour can be personal taste, and may not appeal to everyone. Humorous stories tend to be more universally appealing.
7. Don’t drink too much
Remember; you need to be coherent and remembered for a fantastic speech, not for slurring, gabbling or falling over. Let’s face it, most wedding speeches these days are filmed by someone and put on to YouTube or similar; do you want to be viewed as a speech hero or speech wally?
If some of these are things that you don’t think you can do on your own, or you simply have no idea where to start, then get yourself some Wedding Speech Coaching. This means you can be taken through the process step by step and have a chance to practise, gain feedback and build your confidence ready for the big day.
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