About a month ago I a good friend of mine asked me to be his Best Man. Of course, I felt honoured he asked. But one of my first thoughts was “I’m going to have to write a speech. AAARRRGGGHHH!”
I have never been best man for anyone before, but I did of course give a speech at my own wedding. The groom’s wedding speech though, I believe, is relatively simple in comparison.
The groom is generally just expected to say a few thank yous, how much he loves his wife, how fantastic the bridesmaids look and what an amazing day it has been. But everyone expects the best man’s speech to be a witty and funny insight into the groom’s past. It should not only produce lots of laughs, but it should also not offend anyone. The best man’s speech should contain a fair amount of sincerity as well.
Don’t get me wrong, I was nervous about my groom’s speech. I am not a great public speaker and I would have preferred it if tradition had missed the bit where the groom says his piece. But I was in front of my friends and family, and was just saying what had come from my heart.
When the time came I was actually ok about it. I think the adrenaline of the day helped a lot and I just went with it. I did what was ‘expected’ of me and then sat down to watch my best man do a fantastic job of entertaining our guests with tales of my past misdemeanours.
Now it’s my turn to be the headline act. Although the wedding is not until next year my stomach churns every time I think about it. Luckily though I will not be completely unprepared.
The Great Speech Writing Guide
Speech writing expert Lawrence Bernstein has sent me a copy of his fantastic booklet “The Great Speech Writing Guide – The Best Man”.
This handy A5 booklet takes you through every aspect of the best man’s speech. From planning and preparation, to writing a draft, fine tuning and delivery techniques. The booklet inspires you rather than tells you what to say. This means you can take a lot of the points on board and create a speech that is unique.
To start with, Lawrence takes you through the basics of preparing for your speech…
- How to ensure you keep it relevant so it works for each group of people who will be hearing it
- How to judge the suitability of your potential material
- Where to gather your material from
- How to play to your strengths
- Potential pitfalls
- The “Must Haves” and “Might Haves”
This all helps you to decide what you should, might and can’t include. Once you’ve done all this groundwork you should be in a good position to start putting pen to paper.
Structure, Delivery and the Final Cut
Lawrence then explains how to structure your speech, how to write it so delivering it is easier, and how to decide what goes into the final cut. But once you have your completed speech the advice doesn’t stop there.
There are pointers on how to practice your speech and who will speak and when. Lawrence looks at whether you should have your speech down on paper, cards or memorise it. Also, what to do if things don’t go to plan, how to deal with a heckler and how to deliver your speech.
Finally, an at-a-glance action plan highlights the key points before, during and after your speech.
I would definitely recommend this booklet. It has made me feel more confident about my speech and I will be going back to it when the time comes for me to start planning my masterpiece.
Order Your Copy
Happy writing, and good luck!