“The Burns toast went really very well – I have had positive feedback all round!! I feel we did Rabbie proud!” – Hugh L
“So good! I’m afraid if it goes on YouTube I could be in danger…” DF, Jan 2017
Of all the speeches we write, Burns Night speakers are often the most worried. “It has to be brilliant” comes the challenge. “Last year’s speaker was top notch. I need to be incredibly funny and original. Help!”
To begin with the sales pitch. That’s what we do! Although we’d rather you didn’t repeat last year’s experience when a request to help with the Toast to the Lassies arrived three hours and twenty minutes before the dinner began! Whether it’s a toast to the Lassies or a response from a Laddie, we pride ourselves on helping you write something that’s relevant to your audience in ways they may never have imagined! And if you’ve already written a draft, please send it through and we’ll give you feedback free of charge.
If you’d rather go it alone, here are a few tips:
- Start by thinking about your audience. Work backwards from what they have in common and what they’ll enjoy.
- Don’t overdo the Burns. There will be poetry galore on the night, so try to write something original that references the great man, rather than displaying PhD analysis of his verse.
- Try to work your speech around a theme. Lassies in government; Local lassies; Litigious Lassies. You could even try one that doesn’t start with an ‘L’! By using the theme as a focus for your anecdotes and jokes, you will give your speech a framework.
- Try not to speak for too long. 15 mins max. A great ten minute speech should leave your audience wanting more.
- Yes, your brief is to be funny. No, you’re not Billy Connolly (probably). It doesn’t hurt to weave in a little sentimentality / thoughtfulness to balance things out.