Whilst excited brides are finalising seating arrangements and dreaming of their floral designs, are you the groom, best man or maid of honour, lying wide awake at night thinking of your impending speech?
Stressing over what to write and the fear of being a little nervous on the night can get the best of us however there are a few key rules that if followed can lead to resounding success and an evening spent fending off admirers.
1. Engage your Audience
Remember that giving a good speech is all about engaging the audience in a story. Telling a story requires colour and personality in the voice – the kind that comes naturally when you’re sitting in a bar with friends or reading a children’s book aloud.
2. Have Structure
Every story has a beginning, middle and an end. If you conclude your speech in a way that refers back to your opening comment, you’re half way to sounding like a pro.
3. Be Specific
This is central to capturing the imagination of your audience. You have to do more than say ‘we’re so close we’re like sisters’ and then list predictable qualities like honesty, warmth and loyalty among her attributes. Every woman thinks of her best friend that way. The trick is to use specific anecdotes of your experiences together to show why she’s all of those things.
No one else should be able to give your speech so stay away from Google! You are never going to find original material on the internet and a memorable speech is an original one.
5. Keep it Simple
Don’t get carried away though by using a gimmick like a song or an A-Z list of personality traits. They’ve been done a million times before and make for a very long-winded, awkward delivery. Everyone always seems to know this one and yet few pay heed: Less is more. It’s much better leaving the guests craving more of your charisma and charm than sending them to the bar in desperation.
6. Don’t Memorise
Don’t try and memorise the speech – chances are you’re not an actor so every iota of energy spent remembering the next line is energy wasted. You should be concentrating on what you are actually saying.
7. An Honest Opinion
Read your speech to someone for feedback. A partner does not always the best critic make either. The most honest friend – the one who will tell you when you look bad in an outfit or are behaving badly – is the one who’s ear you should borrow.
8. Stress Less
The most obvious piece of advice is the hardest to digest. Have fun! Giving a speech about someone you love is like giving them a present you know they’ll adore. It’s a celebration and an honour.