Top tips to ensure you deliver a fantastic wedding speech

Top tips to ensure you deliver a fantastic wedding speech


[MUSIC PLAYING] Hi, I’m Anthony
Winyard, and I have heard hundreds of wedding
speeches in my role as a DJ and master
of ceremonies. And I’ve witnessed the good, the
bad, and the very, very ugly. Here are a dozen tips
to ensure that you’re the cool person remembered for
delivering a fantastic speech– rather than the loser
that put no effort in, and told embarrassing stories. Number one, prepare
the speech in advance. Thousands of pounds are spent on
weddings, the dress, the food, the venue, etc. So don’t make the
huge mistake that many do of leaving the speeches
to the last minute. Do include the speeches as part
of the wedding preparation– work on them early. Review, refine them. The worst speeches
I’ve heard have been from people who haven’t
given any thought to what they’re going to say. They think they will just
wing it on the night. Nine times out of 10,
this formula will fail. Number two, how
long should it be? The speech doesn’t have to
be long, but longer than, thank you all for coming. Ensure you don’t
miss anybody out– thank everyone that has
played an important role. It’s better to
have guests saying, I wish that speech was
longer, rather than, oh, my god, when will he stop talking? The ideal length for a speech– around five to seven minutes. It’s just about the right time. Number three, the structure. Like a good book,
a wedding speech should have a good structure–
meaning a beginning, a middle, and an ending. Don’t ramble on. Start by writing the
end, and work backwards. Now, I know that
might sound strange, but it’s a great way
of writing your speech, even if you have no other notes. Have your last
sentence written down, so you can finish strongly. The difference between a good
speech and a great speech can often be having a
great line to finish on. Number four–
writing the speech. Now, most speeches
at weddings are spoken by those who are
not frequent and confident speakers. But everyone is capable
of doing a good speech– with some thought,
and a bit of practice. There were many places
you can get help. You could join a local
Toastmasters international group– it’s not the same as the
guys in the red coats. I’ve been a member
for two years, and the help, support, and
practice you get is invaluable. And I’ve seen many guys
join because they had to deliver a wedding speech. There are also many good books. However, unless you don’t
care, don’t just go to Google and copy and paste. The same tired old jokes and
quotes from page one of Google are heard so many
times at weddings. You want it to be your speech,
saying your story is always best– write it yourself,
not a neighbour or friend. It won’t have the
same emotion to it if it is written
by someone else. Most people that haven’t
delivered a good speech vastly underestimate
the importance of having emotion in it. Number five, the content. If you’re looking at
ideas for content, write about the
past, the present, your hopes for the future. Tell interesting stories that
don’t include risque behavior. Don’t talk about stag night
shenanigans, bodily functions, or anything that will offend
Auntie Jean or your gran. What may be funny to some of
your friends, may well turn off 75% of the guests. Mistakenly thinking that what
is funny amongst the lads down at the pub will
work during a speech– it often doesn’t work. At most weddings, many children
are present for the speeches. So keep it child friendly, and
you will be on the right track. Humour is good, but only
if that’s your style. Know you audience and what
they would appreciate. In-jokes, usually best avoided. If you’re going for comedy,
and you don’t get it right– being unfunny, insulting,
rude, and that’s often where the best men go wrong. Getting the speech
roles confused. At a wedding recently,
the father of the bride started telling
stories he had heard secondhand about the groom. This is the best man’s
job, and it came over like he wanted to
be one of the boys. Very little was actually
said about his daughter. On the subject
of the best man– by far the best
tactic is sucking up to the bride and her
clan, by insisting just how lucky your friend is to
have found such a perfect bride. Number six– rehearse it. Once you have your speech
written out and are happy with it, practice in front of the mirror,
and visualize yourself there at the wedding. Record it on your
phone, and play it back when you are in a car,
when you’re out walking, how did it sound? Is it monotone? Record it over and
over and over again, until you’re happy with it. Find places where you can speak
softly, for dramatic effect. Remember to pause. And change the
inflection in your voice. When you’re happy,
perform it in front of one of your family members,
and get feedback from them. You may even find you’ve
practiced it so many times, you only need bullet
points, and don’t have to read word for word. Things to avoid– there’s many
things, but some of them– whispering so that you
can’t really be heard. Shouting into the mic– a definite no-no. If the situation allows,
practice in the function room itself, if at all possible. Unfortunately, that’s
not always possible. Also remember, you don’t have
to memorize it word for word. There’s nothing wrong with
reading it from a script, as long as you say
it from the heart. If you need to use
notes, a solid card is preferable to scraps
and bits of paper– this is what often happens. Remember, look down to read,
always look up to speak. Do not expect to be perfect. The guests will not
expect you to be perfect. Also, don’t speak too fast. Number seven– being heard. The speech does need to be
heard all around the room. Use a microphone if you need
to, and try and practice with it first, so
you know how to turn your head without losing sound. Hold the microphone directly
in front of your mouth– not at your bellybutton,
not at your chest, but directly in
front of your mouth. Did I mention you should
hold the microphone directly in front of your mouth? It’s very important. When you deliver your speech,
look up at your audience. Find the friendly
faces in a crowd, and make eye contact with them. This will give you the
confidence you need. Again, have some pauses. Don’t want to get too
fast and lose everyone. Breathe as you approach
the microphone– take a deep breath
and just relax. It will make you
feel so much better. Deep breathing sends oxygen
to the lungs and to the brain, expands the throat and chest,
and promotes relaxation. And smile, as well. Number eight,
accidents do happen. Don’t worry if you forget
your lines or mess up. Just smile and say something
like, what I meant to say was– and just carry on. The guests are all there
for the same reason– the bride and groom. And they don’t
want you to fail– they are on your side. If you show you’re human, they
will warm to you, and ooh, and ah, and clap and cheer. Give up the belief that
you have to be perfect. Give yourself
permission to be human. And another thing, don’t
drink too much alcohol before your speech. The myth that you’re funnier
when you’ve had a drink usually is not true. You don’t want to be out
there swaying and slurring your words. Alcohol– it can make you
lose your inhibitions, but it can also make you start
telling inappropriate stories that can offend. Number nine– best man
or father of the bride, don’t try to take over. Don’t use props, unless
it’s relevant to the bride and groom. There is nothing worse than a
speech that is self-serving, and ends up being– look at me, how cool do I look? Using a slide show of pictures
to go with your speech can be a fantastic idea,
but be very careful not to turn it into a corporate
PowerPoint presentation that sends everyone to sleep. So use the images sparingly. Number 10– the toast. Don’t forget to have a full
toasting glass with you to perform a toast. Now, all the guests
should have full glasses before the speeches start. Your master of ceremonies,
or your duty manager should have sorted this. But it’s worth making a note,
at the top of your speech notes, as a reminder to check
before you start. Also, if you’re giving
gifts to bridesmaids, the mothers, etc, make
sure that the gifts are nearby, or coordinate with
someone to bring them up. Number 11– bad feedback. Now, what do I mean by this? Do not walk in front of or place
the microphone near or directly in front of the actual speakers,
because this will often cause feedback– a horrendous noise
coming from the speakers. If you do hear feedback,
don’t get nervous. Just pause, and just hold
the microphone directly in front of your mouth, and
the problem will subside. Number 12– be sincere. So many times, I’ve heard
the following phrases said something like this– doesn’t the bride
look beautiful? Thank you to the mothers. Thank you to Auntie Carol
for making the wedding cake. Don’t say them as if
you’re reading a shopping list with no sincerity. Now, usually this happens
because of nerves, not because they
are being insincere. However, if they realised how
they were sounding to everyone listening, they
would have said them with more thought, more
emotion, and more sincerity. Finally, speak from the
heart, and let it flow. Do a mirror check if
possible, and acknowledge that you look great– because
almost certainly you do. You have done all the hard work. Remember, it’s not just what
you say, but how you say it. If you’d like any advice on
writing or delivering speeches, do get in touch, and I’d be
more than happy to help you. If you don’t want to
leave it to chance, and want to ensure you
deliver a memorable speech for the right
reasons, then maybe a few lessons from a speaking
coach is the way to go. I know a few professional
speaking coaches, and can put you in
touch with one of them to ensure you really deliver
a spectacular speech. Have some fun with your speech. Thank you for listening. [MUSIC PLAYING]

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