There are so many ways to get speeches wrong, and when it comes to best man speeches, you might be thinking that those reasons are pretty obvious: crass, inappropriate, lewd rantings from someone whose IQ almost equals the number of beers he’s sunk. And, yes whilst they may be a terrible direction to take your speech, it’s the less obvious, stealth mistakes that are the most dangerous.
The number mistake that I come across in best man speeches is the best man talking about himself. It happens with alarming regularity, and when and as far as the protagonist is concerned – there are none so blind, as those that cannot see. Yes, they seem completely unaware that everything they’re really excited about saying is mainly about themselves, and don’t appear to be that bothered by it. This reinforces a widely held view that most people are really only happy when talking about themselves, and that would be pretty hard to argue against.
I recently received a 1200 word speech where the best man had used the word ‘I’ no less than 56 times, and by the end of it nobody would have been in any doubt as to just how great he is…or indeed isn’t.
The second biggest mistake is for the best man to talk for far too long. It seems strange that as public speaking, and the best man speech in particular, reduces most men to nervous wrecks, a disproportionate number of them waffle of for several years. No speech, no matter how good you think it is, should go beyond a talking time of 7 minutes. Any longer than that, and you’re not only boring everyone senseless, you’re also eating into the partying time. And that’s unforgiveable.
The third classic error is thanking people; in fact, any kind of platitudes. Don’t thank people for coming - beside the fact that the groom and father of the bride have already done that, it’s not your wedding. Don’t thank the bride’s parents for putting on a lovely day, people for travelling great distances or looking lovely. It’s really not your remit.