This week, we’re changing our target audience from fiancées planning their wedding to an individual who is likely not reading wedding blogs in his spare time: the best man. While the main roles of the best man are pretty heavy on fun—hosting the Bachelor Party, being the all-around right-hand guy—the best man speech is the final duty that many best men dread.
And this is totally understandable; many people are afraid of public speaking, or more commonly, believe they aren’t any good at it. Approaching your speech with equal parts confidence, poise, and humor are essential to holding your audience’s attention for however long your speech is, but here are some even more essential tips to help you get started and not wait until the last moment to write your speech.
The first, and probably most important piece of advice we can give, is to keep it short. Avoid long stories about how long you have known the groom and/or the bride, or any drawn-out details about the multi-year span of a relationship you’ve had with them. It’s good to keep things short so you can keep everyone’s attention and not have anyone falling asleep in their chair.
When starting the speech, a killer opening line is the best way to grab your audience’s attention. If one-liners aren’t exactly your thing, simply hop online and search for inspirational quotes or jokes for giving these type of speeches; there is certainly way more out there than you’d ever expect.
When crafting your jokes, be sure to follow the time-honored tradition of joking about the groom, but not the bride. Not only is the groom your friend and more open to the gentle, or not-so gentle, ribbing that your speech may involve, but as you likely do not know the bride as well, it’s always safer to just refrain altogether from making jokes about her.
Also, be sure to plan way ahead. And by ‘way ahead,’ we mean at least two months before the wedding. Since you are in the wedding party as the best man, those weeks leading up to the wedding will be filled with events like suit fittings and the bachelor party, so starting the speech when your head is more clear and you can focus on it is clutch.
Finally, like anything in life, practice makes perfect and the speech is certainly no exception. Of course, you certainly don’t need to kill yourself in getting it together, but do practice it at least three times, recording at least once with video on your phone so you can see how to improve your body language and projection of your voice. And ultimately, try to have fun with the speech; the best man’s speech is a time-honored tradition for a reason and cracking jokes while making the kind of insightful observations that only a best man can is a recipe for a successful speech.