Great Speech Writing HQ is sadly bereft of Lords a Leaping and French Hens this year. There’s not even a pear tree in sight.
So we thought it might be best to stick to our strengths and offer twelve wedding speech tips for those of you who plan to spend the festive season drafting something special for 2013:
Prepare like you never have before. This may sound obvious but too many people think they can create the speech of their life 24 hours before the big day.
Do some research. Don’t just rely on your own material. Contact friends and family who have known the person at different stages of their lives to gather different perspectives and stories.
Keep it relevant. There is nothing worse for the majority of the guests than a best man’s speech focusing exclusively on the Stag do. Try to include something for everyone.
Get the balance right between sincerity and humour. Try to map out a framework for your speech that has a good combination of the two. An over-sentimental speech can be dull. But a stand-up comedy routine can miss the point entirely.
Pick a theme. Anecdotes and observations are key elements of many speeches, but they don’t always link together naturally. Choosing a theme that ties everything together can help it flow and an original and amusing theme is often the difference between a decent speech and a great one.
Consult others. Your biggest risk is covering ground that has already been mentioned in the other speeches. I would strongly recommend that however original you think your speech may be, you have a quick chat with the other speakers to ensure there is no uncomfortable overlap.
Avoid rambling and keep it short. There is no ‘perfect’ shape or style for a speech. But the key is brevity. Stay away from long paragraphs in favour of short, punchy, deliverable sentences. And don’t let your speech drag on beyond 10 minutes (approximately 1000 words).
It’s not all about you! It’s tempting to focus your speech on your own relationship with the person you’re speaking about. But if you labour the point too heavily, it can start to sound like narcissism and be very boring for everyone else.
Practise, practise, practise! Get to know your speech so well that you only need to glance at your notes to remember what comes next.
Stay sober. This is not to say you can’t have a drink to take the edge off your nerves. But to give a good speech you need to be sharp and clear–headed which means staying clear of the boozing until after you’ve sat down.
Check out the venue: Find out where you’ll be standing, whether there will be a microphone, and if there will be somewhere to rest your notes. This will avoid nasty surprises that might keep you awake the night before.
Take it slowly: When your big moment comes, speak slowly and pause between sentences. Your audience need time to digest the story before they get the punchline. So give them time to get it.
From all of us at Great Speech Writing, have a very merry Christmas, and a successful speech giving year ahead! And just in case you need reminding (and you really want to make time for that sixth viewing of Love Actually) then call us at any time and we’ll write it for you!