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If you do the prep, you’ll be fine.

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Case studies and Download

On this page you can hear me coaching somebody on a wedding speech; and hear somebody else describing what it’s like to do a speech successfully.

There’s also a mind map for you to download, giving a general shape to your ideas for the speech.


Your Purpose

But first… The most important thing you can do to prepare your speech is to work out first what you actually want to achieve. That sounds elementary, which is why many people overlook it.

Any speech starts here – not just at weddings but in battle, politics or sales.

What effect do you want to have on your audience?

In reality, you have many different audiences all at once. In very approximate order of importance:

  1. The couple
  2. Their parents
  3. Bridesmaids, ushers
  4. People you met on the stag party
  5. Distant relatives

Getting specific about the effect you want to have on each of these audiences is much more useful, at this stage, than writing up a story, or trawling the web for over-used gags.

So please: think for a moment about the wants and needs of each group. This is a fairly typical scenario:

  1. The couple want you to be brief, avoid embarrassing stories and make them individually look good to each other and to the in-laws.
  2. Their parents want you to fill the (expensive, stressful) day with happy laughter.
  3. The bridesmaids and ushers want to be recognised as special.
  4. People on the stag party might like you to say something a bit risky, or at least refer to that occasion.
  5. Distant relatives want you to keep it short, and avoid in-jokes that mean nothing to them.

They all want to feel “seen” – that you are talking to them. Naturally, distant relatives understand that they aren’t your main focus, but they don’t want to be ignored altogether.

It really and truly isn’t about you. It’s about them. They’ll love your speech, if it meets their expectations.

When you’re clear about your purpose, you’ll see that you can achieve it with almost any subject matter. And relevant stories have probably already suggested themselves to you.


Wedding Speech: Real-Life Coaching Example

In this episode of my podcast, you can hear me talk to someone preparing a wedding speech.

My First Wedding Speech, with Rebecca Twomey

And what’s it like to have done it successfully? That’s what I asked Rebecca Twomey, a journalist and TV presenter who was asked to stand in for the father of the bride at a friend’s wedding.

If you listen to the interview, you’ll understand that the basics of a wedding speech are the same for anybody, so long as you consider your own specific purpose.

Download the mind map

Best Man Speech - Mind Map of Invention.pdf [0.51 MB]