The Top Ten Speech Preparation and Delivery Tips from Speechforyou.com
Should you decide to write your own wedding toast or persuasive speech, here are a number of ideas which may be useful in the preparation.
Firstly, and our key recommendation, is to keep it BRIEF! You can quite safely assume that guests, especially after a few drinks, do not really want to sit for fifteen minutes listening to a formal presentation. As the best speakers often say; “don’t ruin a good party with a long speech!” The general guideline from Speechforyou.com is to keep your speech or wedding toast to less than seven minutes, with the ideal time probably being three to five minutes. The best man who has “consumed” past the point of tolerance and begins to ramble, is really only amusing to himself.
- Secondly, begin your speech with confidence and enthusiasm. Indeed try to sound like you are actually enjoying yourself! You may wish to start your wedding speech with something like; “Good evening everyone, what a great night this is!” or “Hello everyone and welcome to this wonderful celebration!” You should be looking for a phrase or sentence to begin your speech which will set the scene for an enthusiastic presentation and which will “wake the crowd up”. In terms of a persuasive speech, you may wish to begin with a surprising fact or strong and unusual statement of opinion.
- Thirdly, try to completely memorize the first three sentences of your speech. By doing so you will quickly build your confidence for delivery of the rest of the speech and ensure that “first sentence nerves” are ironed out.
- Fourthly, try not to “read” your wedding toast or persuasive speech. It is far more effective to present your speech while making frequent eye contact with your audience rather than having your head buried in a document from which you are reading. As one wag once snidely and quietly remarked at a wedding “maybe he could just give us the speech and we could read it for ourselves, while we get on with the drinking!” The best man should take care to look at the broad audience rather than just the bride and groom or his personal group of best friends.
- Fifthly, develop a theme in your speech. For instance, if you are giving the best man toast, you may want to focus on a number of key attributes of the groom and develop them as a theme. The groom may, by example, be a keen yachtsman, so you could take a nautical theme to the speech and include terms such as “fair weather”, “even keel”, “wind at your back”, “get to know the ropes”, and so on. All wedding toasts and, in particular, persuasive speeches benefit from developing an effective theme.
- Sixth point – don’t try to be Jerry Seinfeld if you’re not. Humor is good, but most people cannot carry a full five minutes of pure humor. Try to include several light and humorous moments in the wedding speech but don’t overdo it.
- Point seven - use descriptive language in the speech or toast which invokes imagery. This all sounds a little like junior high English lessons but using a thesaurus to find more expressive words, rather than repeating the same adjective, will add plenty of color and make it far more interesting for the listener. See www.yourdictionary.com for a good online dictionary and thesaurus.
- The eighth key point is to ensure you have a solid and memorable conclusion to your speech, rather than just a rambling forgettable ending. You may want to conclude your persuasive speech with something like; “if I can leave you with just two key points….” Alternatively, you may wish to incorporate a suitable and memorable quotation to conclude a wedding toast. Remember, a quotation is far more effective if it is from someone of whom most of the audience will know (e.g. a past president, actor, singer or author).
- The ninth point in speech preparation is to conduct a little research to find out obscure, interesting and curious facts about your subjects. Inclusion of these facts in the speech, normally in a humorous and light hearted manner, surprises the subjects and ensures greater interest from your audience.
- When delivering your speech ensure you use appropriate inflection in your voice. The best man who maintains a monologue tone for the entire toast will drive his audience to distraction. Also, use your hands at suitable points in the speech to emphasize your points. This is particularly important in the delivery of a persuasive speech. When giving a wedding toast have an expressive face and smile from time to time! Lastly, do not rock from foot to foot as if you are on a small boat in the ocean. Your audience may become “speech-sick”!
- Finally, consider the use of a professionally written wedding speech or wedding toast.
Good luck….with a little preparation and practice you will not need it!
One of the best birthday speeches we have seen delivered involved participation by the audience. It was a fortieth birthday celebration speech and the speaker suggested that two words effectively described the birthday boy. In this case the two words were “fast” and “generous”. After giving a preamble on these two points he then asked specific people in the audience to describe the birthday boy’s habits. For example, “Mike, when birthday boy pours you a glass of wine how would you describe it?” “Generous!” - came the response from Mike in the audience. “When birthday boy is cleaning up before heading out to golf, how would you describe it?” “Fast” came the response from his wife. He then proceeded in the speech to list other habits (good and bad) of the birthday boy while asking for descriptions from the audience…”fast or generous?” The overall result was an entertaining and captivating birthday speech.
A word of caution on this speech technique however, you need to know your audience well and be very confident that you can elicit a response from them! (ps knowing the birthday boy fairly well, as we do, we thought the Presenter also ran the risk of Mike answering his first question with the response “drunk!”)
Thank you so much. We received the speech in time
and my husband received so many compliments on it.
Worth every cent. Thanks again.
- Kelly H
The speech is marvellous! I feel as if a great load has been
removed from my back.
- Roy L
I actually stumbled across your website at the last minute
and it really helped me. After personalising it a bit and
starting with a few clean wedding jokes I had the whole
- Tim L
Just wanted to let you know that my speech was a
huge success! Everyone was impressed and I received
numerous compliments. Thanks for your help!!!
- David K