Before you tackle the components of a Best man speech such as clarity, pronunciation, volume/projection, timing, topics and natural flow it’s wise to prepare as best as possible (See 7 ‘P’s. Journey to centre of morality blog). Not everyone is comfortable with public speaking and this can breed negativity if you allow it to. From the world of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy this frame of mind is best described as a ‘NAT’. A ‘Negative Automatic Thought’ (Aaron T Beck). It’s the negative contemplation that your Best man speech is undoubtedly going to be an utter and total shower of scheize. It’s the whole ‘Glass Half Full’ philosophy which you need to adopt. I attended a Solution Focused Brief Therapy seminar several years ago and as a result of that one day I deleted the word ‘But’ from my vocabulary. ‘But’ implies possible doubt and is ambiguous. For example if you say “I’m going to try my best with the speech but if it goes wrong I’m going to look like a penis and ruin the day.” As long as you plan and prepare the Best man speech in ample time and follow the advice I give then you will be a success. After all, what’s the worst that can happen? You’re not going to die up there and the vast majority of guests will be rooting for you to do well. If you cover all the bases I’m about to share then you will be successful. Hakuna matata.
By nature I tend to mumble like a drunk octogenarian who’s awoken abruptly for the Queen’s speech when I talk and can speak very quickly when I’m excited to share something; particularly concerning naughtiness. All I do, is slow my pace down and pronounce each word clearly. On the run up to the speech I record a practice run and watch it back to assess if there’s any areas I need to improve upon. In upcoming blogs I will give you 3 separate examples of different Best man speeches that I have given over the last 10 years.
The 5 basic breakdown points of a Best man speech is as follows :-
- Share how and when they met. Include funny memories of them together.
- Share stories of Groom’s Childhood, Teenage years and adult life.
- Toast the new couple.
It’s best to approach this plan with the ‘SMART’ principle.
S – pecific
M – easurable
A – ssignable
R – ealistic
T – ime related
When complimenting during your speech. Focus on how amazing the Bride and Bridesmaids look today (You may have to use a little artistic license at this point sometimes) Remember to congratulate the Flower Girls and Page Boys on a fantastic job if any are involved. This is an ideal time to perhaps read out any Wedding Cards from relatives who couldn’t make it or raise a toast to absent friends or family. Run this past the Bride and Groom so that you have the accurate information.
In terms of sharing how and when they met it’s best to use specific occasions and milestones to give a little extra sincerity and meaning. Include funny anecdotes of them together. Focussing how they met and ‘fell in love’ is a great jumping off point. Share memorable (ideally funny) stories of the Groom’s childhood, teenage years and adult life.
I would initiate measuring from two angles. Firstly look at the overall timescale from being asked to be Best man and the Wedding day. Trust me if you do an Ostrich and bury your head in the sand you are just turning the heat up on the pressure cooker. Be proactive and have the ‘5 Basic Breakdown Points’ written down as soon as you can. Then use the SMART principles and Bob’s your uncle and Fanny’s your aunt.
Secondly I have found that around 10 minutes is ample time to cover the ‘5 Basic Breakdown Points’ in your speech.
If this amount of time seems like an eternity then I would encourage you to tap up other members of the Wedding party to ease the pressure. Some examples are allowing the Groom to say a few thank yous; perhaps the Chief Bridesmaid/sister would like to say a few words or read a poem or one of the Ushers may have a story they would like to share (They could speak themselves or write it down for you to relay). As long as you’ve covered the 5 areas then it’s a job well done.
Just because you’ve seen another Best man speech of an elaborate dance routine or show tune number it doesn’t mean you have to compete. If you fancy a crack at the ’Title’ then all you have to consider is the preparation time and the skills required. If you can implement a musical number, a slide-show or something that goes above and beyond then I recommend that at points 3) or 4) are your times to shine. Sandwiched by Thank yous, compliments and the concluding Toast.
This underpins your whole planning stage from being asked to be Best man to the Wedding Breakfast. You can view the time you have in the know as time to worry or time to plan. See ‘7 Ps’; ‘5 Basic Breakdown points’; ‘SMART Principles’ and most importantly think positively. When I have the meat to the bones of my plan I tend to record myself on my phone video recorder a week or so prior to the big day to see if I have open and relaxed body language. If possible look up from your notes occasionally and look toward the Bride and Groom to give a personal touch. Above all the most important elements to your speech after you have settled on the contents is the ‘Volume’ and the ‘Clarity’.
If you’re having ‘sleepless nights’ over your speech then worry no further as we provide a speech writing service for Grooms, Best men and for the Father of the Bride. Check out our services for more information and you will be back to your regular REM before you can say “I’m pushing an elephant up the stairs.”
Coming up – Handling pre-speech nerves. How to be as cool as the proverbial Cucumber and not shudder like a defecating pooch.