Whether you are father of the bride, groom or best man, the key to a good speech is preparation. I’ll finish this article with my Top 10 Tips for Delivering a Great Speech.
1. Research – the internet is full of free resources which provide sample speeches which are a great starting point. I’d be wary of the ones that ask for payment as there are more than enough that don’t. For example, classicspeeches.com has loads of help for the best man including a great selection of ready made speeches.
2. Be original – in the last 10 years I have attended approximately 12 weddings, which is more than one a year. Within that time I have also delivered four wedding speeches myself, so have read a lot of sample speeches. The worst thing for me about some of these weddings was hearing the same lines over and over. Try to be creative and alter the speech to suit your own style.
3. Write how you speak – ‘would not’ and ‘can not’ will be said as wouldn’t and can’t so make sure your speech reflects this as it will make it easier to deliver.
4. Refine – once you have your draft speech put it aside for a week. Chances are all you’ve done it look at it for a few weeks before and you need ‘fresh eyes’ before you attempt point 5.
5. Edit – after a week, re-read your speech and make sure you are 100% happy with it. Make any alterations, taking away bits you don’t like and adding things you may have previously dismissed.
6. Add breaks – within your speech you should write in a couple of gaps for taking a sip of water. These can be placed after a joke for example, and will allow you to loosen your tongue while the room erupts in laughter around you.
7. Practice your delivery – stand in front of a mirror, read it to your partner, record it and listen back, do whatever you feel comfortable doing by make sure you know the order of your speech. Cue cards are fine, but you want to be confident in your content and able to flow from section to section without wondering what comes next.
8. Talk to your audience – if you can, memorise the opening to your speech. Delivering these first few lines without the aid of a card will not only give you confidence but will also allow the audience to warm to you as you make eye contact. the rest of your speech should be written in a large text and evenly spaced so you know where to look. Writing sections is different colours is also a great way of keeping track.
9. Talk slower than you think you should – nerves have a tendancy to cause people to rush the delivery, and that can cause even the greatest speech to fall flat. Leave gaps to allow your audience to react – whether it’s laughter or a groan – and use this time to prepare for the next section or take a drink.
10. Enjoy yourself – it’s a great honour to deliver a speech at a wedding and you’ll always be remembered by the bride and groom for playing your part. Stand tall, smile, and even if it all goes pear shaped, the chances are everyone will tell you it was great!