How to write and deliver a stellar best man speech
Anna Roberts, a public speaking expert based in Dubai, has some tips on how to nail your public address.May 12, 2016
No best man wants to be known as the guy who ruined a perfect wedding. The last thing you want to do is lose the crowd with a sleep-inducing speech or worse, get punched for mentioning the groom’s ex-girlfriends. We got Anna Roberts to help you on your quest for the perfect speech.
The golden rules
It’s not about you, but not everything has to be about the groom. “One memory that stands out is…”
If in doubt, keep it short. “I’ve got one memorable tale of…”
Praise the bride. “Doesn’t she look stunning this evening!”
Work to your strengths. If you’re a comedian, work it. If you’re sarcastic, great. If you’re shy, divert the attention by referencing other people in the room and keep it short (aim for three to seven minutes).
Read everything from an A4 sheet of paper. If you must, take numbered cue cards up with you, and please don’t read off your iPhone.
• Introduce who you are and how good a friend you are to the groom.
• Reference a wonderful day it’s been (this is a great opportunity to go off script and recount a particularly heart warming moment from the wedding day.
• Praise the bride and bridal party for their incredible efforts of putting the day on and how privileged you are to be among them.
• Break up the main part of your speech with brief stories, memories or life changing moments about the groom, his parents or the bride.
• Give a glowing picture of the happy couple.
• Three to five various anecdotes are more than enough. Keep it short and PG rated – remember there might be grandparents and children in the room. And never mention any ex-girlfriends of the groom.
• Wrap it up with a reflection of the groom’s best qualities, how happy you are for the couple and how optimistic you are for their future.
• If you can’t come up with anything overwhelmingly “Awwww” then add in a quote from the couple’s favourite author or musician. Think outside the box, I've heard Winnie the Pooh been quoted at a wedding which got the tears flowing.
• Finish with a toast and enjoy the evening.
Dealing with nerves
You are the messenger, not the message
It’s not about you. You’re there with a job to do. So take the pressure off yourself and focus on getting your memories and emotions across to the crowd.
You won’t forget what you’re going to say
When you’re on stage talking about a close friend on their wedding day you’re talking about knowledge, experiences and emotions only you have felt. No one else shares exactly the same history or memories as you do and therefore it’s only a story that you can tell because it comes from you.
Prior preparation prevents poor performance
If you’re able to control 90 per cent of the speech, why think about what could go wrong? Your ideas, your words and how you deliver them have all been prepared and rehearsed so there’s very little left to chance. Remember, it’s a privilege to address an audience on behalf of your best mate on the biggest day of their life so don’t take it lightly.