According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. So I totally understand why, if you’re the best man at a wedding, you’re even more nervous than most. After all, you’re not just giving a speech; you’re giving a speech to honour what is supposed to be the most special and important day of a couple’s life!
So… here are ten tips for the “best” best man speech ever:
1. Keep it Short
A good speech is like a mini-skirt: short enough to be revealing, but long enough to cover the basics. Nothing irritates people more than some guy rambling on and on and on. As a rule of thumb, shoot for no more than five minutes.
2. Stop Using Google!
Oops… too late! You may very well be reading this as a result of a Google search. But my point is this: stop searching for cheesy jokes, cliche one-liners, and cookie-cutter speech templates online. People want real and authentic, and can smell a fake from a mile away. Just keep it simple, and speak from your heart.
3. Write it Down
The worst speeches I’ve heard always start with, “I haven’t written anything down so I’m just going to wing it!”. Unless you’re a professional public speaker, “winging it” never works. If you have a few months before the wedding, start mulling over some ideas for the speech. Begin brainstorming and jotting down thoughts, stories, jokes, and quotes you might want to use. Writing your speech down helps to clarify your thoughts, and will keep things on track.
The old saying of “practice makes perfect” runs true for your best man speech. The sooner you get it written, the more time you’ll have to practice and perfect it, which will ultimately boost your confidence when you have to get up in front of everybody.
5. Tell a Story
Stories are powerful. Everyone can relate to a good story, it helps you to connect with your audience, and gives your speech a great personal touch. So think of a funny story or anecdote from you and your buddy’s past that shows what a great guy he is.
6. Don’t Try Be a Comedian For One Night
A good joke always goes down well and eases the tension you may be feeling, but don’t try too hard. Comedy is hard to pull off and doesn’t come naturally to everyone. What usually gets people in trouble is attempting to be funny by sharing some embarrassing story or cracking some lame joke about a ball and chain. It usually comes out horribly and no one laughs. Just work with what you got and don’t force it.
7. Stay Sober
Sure, you want to enjoy yourself, and yes, a bit of “liquid courage” may help take the edge off, but make sure you’re not sloppy drunk when you give your speech. You’ll only end up looking like an idiot, and besides, a real man doesn’t need a crutch to help him tackle a challenge.
8. Keep it Clean
Avoid topics that are controversial, offensive, or embarrassing. For example: groom’s past girlfriends, time in prison, bathroom habits, drunken debauchery etc. You would think this is common sense, but people somehow forget this when they’re standing with a microphone in their hand in front of a crowd of people.
9. Say Something Nice About the Groom
Remember, the goal of the speech is to celebrate the couple and make them look good. In a way, you can think of yourself as a salesman selling the groom to members of the bride’s family, who may not know him as well as you do. It’s completely normal to find this part a little embarrassing, but just remember that this is your buddy’s day, and no one’s going to laugh at you for getting a little sappy.
10. Be Yourself
Finally, just remember that the groom chose YOU to be his best man. No need to get formal or try to be someone you’re not. And there’s no need to follow these ten tips exactly either. Simply use them as a guide and be yourself. Let it flow naturally. Use your natural voice and mannerisms. Make it personal and sincere and say things from the heart and you should be golden.