Funny? How not to Rock your speech

Not the audience reaction he’d hoped for?

For all the politics, TED talks, Town Halls and fundraisers, there’s nothing like a big, boozy do to get the speech writing juices flowing.  You’re in front of people you know, have stories galore up your sleeve and the pressure’s on to be funny.

What you probably don’t want is to prepare something you think is brilliant that causes a member of the audience to stride up and slap you in the face.

The challenge is that one person’s ‘funny’ is another’s ‘offensive’.  And as we see every day of the week when reviewing our clients’ draft wedding speeches, what a bunch of blokes on a stag do define as ‘spot on’ is often completely inappropriate.

The key is relevance.  Putting your audience first and writing material for them.  For weddings, we ask if a joke passes the Great Aunt Beryl test.  Not that she’d necessarily slap you.  And for Oscar speeches, it might be worth bearing in mind what the nominee in the front row makes of your gag about his wife’s health condition.

On the other hand

Still, at least it kept us awake. And avoided yet another string of platitudes, list of thank yous and stream of tears that haven’t just ruined the Oscars but stopped many people going to see the winning film afterwards.

Here are some tips on how NOT to write a funny, appropriate speech!

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