Preparing a social speech

No speechwriter in the world can get going without any content.

I have put this questionnaire together to help you gather the information to help start you off.  Please be aware that this is not a template for a speech, simply a way of gathering information about you, your audience and your subject to start to make your speech truly original and relevant.

Crowd listening to a social speech

I hope it will get you thinking about what you could and should say.

If you’d like my help preparing a social speech, then please give me a call before you complete it as this is a generic version and I can email you a specific questionnaire for different occasions. Ideally, we can skip this process by meeting up or arranging time for a detailed conversation over the phone.

The occasion

  1. What is it?
  2. Where is it being held?
  3. Do you know anything interesting about the venue?
  4. Have you been there before?
  5. Who is hosting it?

The context for your speech

  1. At what stage in the event will you be speaking?
  2. Who is giving the other speeches and what will they mainly be talking about?
  3. What’s the order of speeches?
  4. Who will be introducing you?
  5. Do you know that person, and if so, is there anything humorous we can say about him or her?
  6. How do you think he or she is likely to introduce you?
  7. Will you be finishing with a toast? If so, who to?

Your subject

  1. Who are you principally talking about?
  2. How do you know him / her?
  3. When did you meet him / her?
  4. Where and when was he / she born?
  5. Where did he / she go to school?
  6. Are there any great stories associated with this period?
  7. Did he / she go to college / University? Any stories here?
  8. What was his / her first job?
  9. What jobs has he / she done subsequently? Any great work stories?
  10. What does he / she do now?
  11. Could you describe him / her physically?
  12. Could you describe his / her personality in three words?
  13. What are his/ her main hobbies / interests?
  14. Can you give a brief outline of his/ her family situation?
  15. Can you give an example of a great story or two that you’ve been involved in with him / her? (when was it?)
  16. If there was a theme to hold your description of him / her together, what would it be?

Your second subject

(For example, if this is a best man’s speech this would be
the bride; if it’s a groom’s speech, this could be your
parents)

  1. Is there someone else fundamental to making this speech work?
  2. Can you give a brief outline of their life?
  3. And the role that they’ve played in changing the life of your main subject?

Any other subjects

Who else do you want to mention and what do you want to say about
them?

Your speaking style

  1. What proportion of the speech would you like to be sincere and what proportion funny?
  2. How long would you like to speak for?
  3. Are you, by nature, shy or extrovert?
  4. How nervous will you be when you stand up to speak?
  5. How would you like to introduce yourself?

Audience

  1. How many people will be there?
  2. How many of them will know you?
  3. Do you need to thank people who have travelled from afar or who
    are particularly special?
  4. Do you expect it to be a relatively sedate or loud atmosphere?

Taboo subjects

What can’t we mention?

Are there subjects not covered above that you know will amuse / interest your audience? Please give me as much detail as possible, particularly if we won’t be meeting up to chat this through before I start writing.

Feel free to contact me to relieve the pressure!

7 Comments

  1. Lawrence
    Jan 03, 2012 at 11:10

    Hi Ray – I have emailed you!

  2. Ray Hodgkiss
    Dec 31, 2011 at 11:36

    Hi there,
    ive been asked by my mate to be his best man on May 12th. ive no idea how to write a speech or deliver it at all! im very nervouse about standing up infront of a load of people and making a fool out of myself!! Please can u help me?!

  3. Alex Sanderson
    Jul 14, 2011 at 15:03

    I have been asked to be the best man at my uni mates wedding at the end of next month. I have a couple of ideas on the speach but nothing that would make anyone laugh, especially how I would deliver it.

    Please can you help……

  4. Matt Wallace
    Jun 20, 2011 at 12:21

    I’m the best man at my brothers wedding. Im really finding it difficult to write the best mans speech, HELP !

  5. Karen Li
    May 20, 2011 at 19:17

    I’ve been asked by my husband who’s working in Hong Kong at the moment to ask you to compose a speech for him as the father of the bride. The marriage is on the 16th July 2011.

    Look forward to hearing from you,

  6. mbia
    Apr 26, 2011 at 14:47

    Hello,
    I’m chosen to be the best man and at the same time to represent the father of the bride. The marriage is taking place on 29th of April 2011.
    Till today, i have no idea of the speech to give. please can you help me to compose a nice speech for marriage.
    Thanks for your help.

  7. wesley donnell
    Sep 17, 2010 at 23:43

    Require speech for being MC at our school reunion after 30yrs

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