Writing Best Man Speech example

Best Man Speech Outline

Many people have issues with writing the Best Man Speech, and for good reason – to do it well takes, skill, practice and a good helping of wit. It’s little wonder that it can prove a real headache for those ‘lucky’ enough to be made best man. As I’ve said many times in posts, and pages on this site, your best friend is time, and now we find ourselves at the beginning of the year you’ll probably have at least 4 months before the fear and panic of the final countdown to D-Day. So, with that in mind, and if you’re planning on writing it yourself, you’re firstly considering the initial outline of the speech.

The problem with thinking of a best man speech outline is that you need to understand what kind of speech you want form the very beginning. If you’re thinning about going down the tried and tested ‘a couple of stories, a bit about the bride and marriage advice’ route, then you really don’t have to think about the speech until the night before, because no matter who much thought you put into that little lot, it will be an unmitigated failure.

A really great Best Man Speech needs to be considered as a whole and not as series of component parts. When I’m devising a plan for a speech, and all my speeches are created uniquely, I begin to think about how to bring all the elements of who this guy is and what he’s about into one central theme, and then build the speech around that. You need to have a beginning and an end, but you shouldn’t have any other boxes to tick. At the same time I want to know a little about the groom, but not so much I could write a book about him. So, any traits or facts need to be conveyed in the most succinct and funny way possible. And that’s the key to a successful Best Man Speech: succinct funniness.

So, stop thinking of the speech as a well trodden pathway form beginning to end, instead when you’re thinking about the best man speech outline, simply think about the outline of the groom and use that as your guide. Once you know what you want to highlight, then weave a pathway through his characteristics and stories, using a minimalistic approach. A quick and easy way to map out a structure is to look for some well prepared templates, but be warned: some are better than others.


This is an opportunity to have fun and entertain, it’s not a sales pitch, so forget the best man speech outline, and just tell a bloody good story.


Choosing your Best man

Choosing Your Best Man

Your Oldest Bestest Friend as Best Man? Maybe Not.

Most people would suspect that when it comes to choosing your best man, the groom goes for his long time oldest best friend, and in a lot of cases this is perfectly true. However, as somebody who speaks to dozens of best men every week this strategy can leave the best man with a real headache and in need of a speech writer.


Why it doesn’t work…

As the groom thinks hard about who to ask his mind will of course go back to the beginning and therein lies a sentimental temptation. The memories of you both together in shorts putting worms in jars, burn brightly and by virtue having been in his life the longest you are therefore best laced to comment. The problem with this is that very few people remain welded together from the age of 7 upwards. You’ll go to different, schools, colleges, work and live in different places. So, you’re an expert on his life up to the age of 16 and then after that it’s a bit of a blank. He’ll have great friends from more recent formative times, where alcohol, foreign travel and dating make for far more engaging stories.


Every day I’m contacted by guys who say that apart from maybe one anecdote at school they really don’t know the first thing about the groom at all. I recently wrote a speech for a client living in the Middle East who hadn’t spent any time with his friend since they were about 18 and here he was making the speech at the age of 34. The talent of the speech writer is making what facts you have come alive without the temptation to include hackneyed jokes or clichés. There are always ways to make things funny but they just need thinking about and if you haven’t seen the guy for 16 years then you’re going to need to be pretty creative.


Of course the other problem is that there are going to be other more recent friends there who will have great stories and observations, and will be sat back wondering why you haven’t mentioned about his holiday to Botswana 3 years ago. The Best Man always feels the pressure but under these circumstances the guys I work with really struggle and it’s not surprising, it takes all my experience as a speech writer to be able to crack it. I’ve had examples of speeches that clients have sent me who are in this position and they are desperately bereft of any structure, wit or indeed content, and quite frankly my sympathy is with the best man.

 Choosing your Best Man

So when you’re thinking about choosing your Best Man, you’ve really got to be thinking along hard practical lines and not err on the side of sentiment. Who is going to have the best chance of making a really great speech? That person is almost certainly somebody from the last 10 years of your life, somebody you’ve lived with, holidayed with and shared a few hard times. And with that in mind it’s very unlikely to be the boy you collected conkers with 25 years ago.





A Groom stand with microphone in hand and talks about what the bridesmaids mean to them both

What Makes Great Speeches?


What Makes a Great Speech?…That’s Easy

I read somewhere on another speechwriter’s website that the two main elements of a great speech are content and delivery. This is about as helpful and profound as saying the two main things in a cheese sandwich are cheese and indeed bread, there’s not a lot else to get excited about. If you’ve got great content and you know how to deliver it then clearly you’re on to a winner, the debate should really be how do you deliver it and what makes the content great?

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that there’s one thing that unites all great speeches, there’s one element of the content no matter if it’s a eulogy, best man speech,  election speech or anniversary speech that makes them all great, and that’s humour. Any speech in any situation is always much the poorer for not having some humour in it, and the absence of it is purely lack of imagination. Of course it depends on exactly what type of speech you’re delivering to gauge the amount and type of humour involved but I cannot think of a single occasion where it’s inappropriate.

It all boils down to the fact that if you’re at a wedding or a conference or at a funeral, there are people there to engage and entertain and nobody has come up with a better way to do that than humour. Of course, comedy doesn’t come easily to everyone but any decent speechwriter should also be a serious talent when it comes to finding the genuine humour, if they can’t do that then they really should be doing something else. And by humour I mean things that really make you laugh because they’re clever, sharp, well observed or just downright daft. Putting something contrived and unrelated such as a cut and paste joke is not only pointless it’s very counterproductive too as it corrupts the flow and jars with the rest of the speech.

If you’ve got a speech where either you or the speech writer hasn’t managed to make anything genuinely funny from the material available then it’s time to rethink: it’s time for you to rethink your choice of speechwriter and it’s time for them to rethink their choice of career.

It’s quite simple forget everything else: well judged and cleverly crafted humour makes a great speech every single time, and if you’d like more hints and tips on the comedy side of things then why not visit the Best Man Speech Jokes page?


A young man contemplates his fear and loathing of best man speeches

Wedding Speech Fear

 The fear of public speaking…


There’s a stat somewhere that says that over 75% of us are terrified of public speaking. This shouldn’t come as any surprise because for quite a lot of people it’s not something they encounter at all in their everyday lives. It’s about as meaningless as declaring 80% of us are terrified of rewiring a house, or performing a quadruple by pass – of course we are, we’ve never done it before. If somebody in a green mask hands you the scalpel and points at a patient’s chest, then chances are you’re going to develop ‘disco leg’, which is the unstoppable urge for one of your legs to bounce uncontrollably as you attempt something way out of your comfort zone. Public speaking is no different but an awful lot easier to get to grips with than removing somebody’s heart and replacing it with an old fashioned alarm clock.


So where to begin with the fear of public speaking? How do you transform a quantity surveyor, graphic designer or tree surgeon into a confident, engaging and entertaining speaker? Easy, you put your head in the lion’s mouth and confront that fear! The first thing to understand is what you are frightened of and then work back from there. What is making the everyday act of speaking, such a living nightmare? It is of course the fear of failure, either not being funny enough or engaging enough and that only ever comes down to preparation. And there’s plenty you can do about that.



A lot of people have little confidence in the tone and intonation of their voice and that’s a pretty legitimate concern; if you sound bored, how do you think everyone else feels? The key to this is to be genuinely excited about what you have to say and how you’re going to say it, and that of course comes down to preparation. If you’ve spent time thinking of a clever or funny way to describe somebody, you’re going to be excited to say it. If you’ve simply written a list of thanks then monotone will kick in and expect blank faces.


You can have all the greatest lines ever in a speech but if you haven’t got the pace right, you might as well be reading out the menu. As I’ve said a fear of public speaking stems from a worry that nobody will laugh or react in the right places and if you’re piling through the speech like you’ve got a bus to catch, then that’s exactly what’s going to happen. Practice a slow steady pace and above all deliberately write in pauses – make yourself stop. Pauses will always do the trick, deliver a line and let the audience catch up. It works.


Like it or not you’ve hit an age where weddings are part of your life and you’re reading to a crowd who will also be seasoned campaigners. In other words they’ve heard all the clichés a million times so if you hit them with ‘it’s an emotional wedding, even the cake is in tiers’ right from the off, then you’ve lost them. Be original. Demand your audience’s attention by not being predictable and clichéd, they’ll appreciate the effort and be hanging off your every word.


Most people don’t have to project their voice in their usual daily routine so this is something that you need to grapple with. Practice speaking out loud at home until you’re comfortable with the sound of your own voice. If you’ve never done this nobody is going to be more surprised than you to hear it on the day. If there is a microphone, use it – the key here is for everyone to be able to hear what you’re saying – anything that amplifies your message is only a good thing.


Stand up comics are funny because they spend hours and hours honing their material, if you put the effort into thinking how things can be described in a funny way, then it’s going to happen. If you leave it until the week before and start googling jokes…it’s time to embrace that well founded fear. Wedding speakers need to remember that everyone is on your side, there’s little expectation beyond saying nice things about everyone and the odd funny, if you start prepping well in advance it can be made as funny as you like. The pressure in these events only ever comes from the speakers themselves, so give yourself a break and do some prep.


Nobody wants to listen to anybody with their hands in their pockets and head buried into a sheath of papers, f you look alert and happy to be there, then that will immediately engage your audience. The best way to achieve this is to know your speech and be confident enough to use prompt cards or at the very least be able to take well timed pauses and look around the room. If it is a last minute job and you’re reading from a script, stand up straight, speak clearly and look like you’re doing your best.


It’s the oil that makes the wedding wheels go round and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t indulge a little before the event, if drinking is your thing. Have a coupe of gentle drinks, relax and allow it to take the edge off your nerves. Don’t overdo it though, as that is the worst crime of all.


Remember everyone is on your side and up for fun, the only person giving you a hard time is yourself and you’ll realize that pretty much as soon as you’re up there talking. So, why not relax, prepare and enjoy it from now?



One basic ingredient to all great best man speeches- great socks and great preparation.

Brave Not Edgy – A Great Best Man Speech

I write wedding speeches for all types of people all over thew world and if you forget for a minute the difference in social and cultural references, there is one thing that all great best man speeches should have in common: they are funny. And this is precisely what this Arsenal fan has achieved – being genuinely funny in a warm, inclusive way. It was a brave route to go down because these things can be hard to judge, but crucially his humour wasn’t edgy or crass, it was just very cheeky. And there’s a huge difference.

Being funny is not easy, I spend a lot of time analysing why something very simply can be hilarious, and why switching just one word can change something from being reasonably funny into a real thigh slapper. However, it is the comedy which is usually the undoing of so many best man speeches. Most men have only really experienced being funny with their friends at work or in the pub – tight knit groups, comfortable with each other and their humorous sensibilities. So, what then happens is that your average best man writes his speech as if he’s talking to his friends in the pub…and this is a huge mistake.

What is funny with three friends of similar age and background, rarely translates to a wider audience of mixed tastes, and to make matters worse what you find funny aged 30 in the club is usually not something you could share with your granny. But despite all of this, best men consistently write their speeches pitched exclusively at their friends and cannot see why taking the guests through ex girlfriends or real time accounts of the stag do just won’t work. The reason is simple: it’s not funny.

Being unfunny in a wedding speech is a tragic waste of life, but being so edgy and inappropriate that all the guests collectively cringe and shrink into tiny balls, should in my opinion result in some form of custodial punishment. Now is not the time to embarrass, humiliate or insult. It’s time to make a speech that everyone will enjoy hearing and you’ll enjoy giving, and this Arsenal fan has got it completely right. It’s well judged, well executed and above all genuinely funny.

microphone for weddings

Wedding Speeches – Less Is More

With wedding speeches there’s a huge temptation once you’ve been given those 5 minutes in the spotlight to chuck everything at it. There’s a misguided belief that by turning yourself into a 20 minute one man entertainment whirlwind, something you’ll have covered, performed, sung or indeed acted out will have tickled every guest there in some way. In my opinion ramping your speech up to be something you could take to the Edinburgh Fringe is a one way ticket to failure.

The absolute golden rule is that you must never tax the people who are sitting there listening to you. If they’re relaxed and comfortable they’re going to enjoy the speech. If you start making demands on them they’re going to lose patience, and pretty quickly too. If I’m listening to a wedding speech I want to be able to sit back, drink wine and listen. I don’t want to have to find a sheet of photographs and then work out why they’re funny. I don’t want to have to listen to some song being butchered in the name of comedy and above all I don’t need a powerpoint. Anything that takes the attention away from the person is actually speaking is wholly counterproductive and you should avoid at all costs, because getting their attention back again can prove impossible.

By engineering things in like audio visual props you really are just making life more difficult for yourself. At the time you may think it’s a neat way of using up minutes without having to say very much but nothing is easier to deliver and gives more genuine funny pleasure than some well crafted words.You don’t have to find a power supply, you don’t have to locate or bring in a screen and you’re not at the mercy of technical glitches.  All the guests have to do is sit there and enjoy. If you think that delivering your speech in an effective way involves powerpoint then stop. What works for a room full of men with security laminates is very different to a roomful of guests in wedding mode. Powerpoint will only ever be associated with being lectured and if you want to engender that kind of vibe in your wedding speech, then go right ahead.

Keeping things simple also means keeping them to the right length. There’s nothing worse than a long wedding speech and if you haven’t said all you need to say at around the 7 minute mark, you really need to do some editing. Talking ad nauseam hoping that you stand more chance of saying something funny is a tactic doomed to failure, and if you’re actually deluded enough to think that you’ve managed to write a funny 20 minute speech then seek help. You should only ever be looking at a speech around 1000 to 1200 words and your cut off time with heckles, applause etc should never be more than 10 minutes.

There’s no replacement for a well written, funny heart warming speech. It should give a great deal and ask little in return, and also be a lot easier to put together than an audio visual extravaganza.


Wedding Speeches

Practicing Your Best Man Speech

There is no getting away from the fact that practice makes perfect. The more familiar you become with the words, the easier it is to read vast swathes without looking at a prompt card, the pauses are all worked out in your head and you’re comfortable with exactly the right pace of delivery. There’s no substitute for all of this hard work and your performance will be all the richer for it…up to a point.

I lose track, and to a certain extent lose patience, with people who say they’ve read it out to their wives and they either didn’t laugh or didn’t get it. So, using this spectacularly unqualified focus group of one, the whole thing has to be rejigged. There is a  huge, and I mean HUGE, difference between practicing it in front of your wife/girlfriend/whatever, on a rainy night after work and the atmosphere of the wedding cauldron. At a wedding everyone is revved up and ready to go, primed with a bit of bubbly they’re hanging on to your every word and just need the slightest excuse to make them laugh. Reading it out to your partner in a much colder, more remote atmosphere is setting yourself up for a fail.

It’s also saying that your humour, your cultural and social references are inadequate compared to those of your girlfriend’s. Have confidence in what you first thought of as funny and go with it. There’s a good rule of thumb which I always remind my clients of: if it makes you laugh the first time then that’s exactly what’s going to happen on the day. Over analysis of jokes, conceits and observations is completely counterproductive and all you’re doing is allowing multiple sets of unqualified opinion tell you what is and isn’t funny.

But it doesn’t stop there because you’ll make amendments and then obviously go back to the same person to see what they think at which point they’ll see themselves as some sort of burgeoning critical talent and then by default have to indicate where it could be improved further. A complete waste of time.

Practicing your Best Man Speech should be a personal, solitary and rewarding experience, where on the day you alone reap the accolades. So take it from me: believe in yourself, because nobody is a better judge of what you should and can say.



The Microphone is prepared for the Best Man Speech

Best Man Quotes

How to Use Quotes in a Best Man Speech

Very often a few well thought out words can say so much more than a best man speech of a 1000 words, but an even better idea is to combine the two. Quotes can work brilliantly in a speech but you should limit yourself to one very powerful one, somewhere towards the end, and avoid the temptation to add in detail such as the book or film it came from. The quotes don’t have to be particularly highbrow but it helps, although the most important factor is relevance. “I love the smell of Napalm in the morning’ and “Charlie don’t surf son!” may sound great but unless the groom was fighting on the Ho Chi Minh Trail, they wouldn’t make much sense. However, THE most important thing is to find yourself a quote that isn’t used one million times every weekend, because it will have zero impact. Here are some quotes that you could use in your speech, remember pick one good one and weave seamlessly into the fabric.

Quotes about Friends

True friends stab you in the front. Oscar Wilde

A true friend freely, advises justly, assists readily, adventures boldly, takes all patiently, defends courageously, and continues a friend unchangeably. William Penn

The greatest gift of life is friendship, and I have received it. Hubert Humphrey

My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me. Henry Ford

Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. Benjamin Franklin.

There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship. Thomas Aquinas.

Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut. Ernest Hemingway

An intelligent man is sometimes forced to be drunk to spend time with his fools. Ernest Hemingway.

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one. AA Milne.

Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It’s not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything. Muhammad Ali

There is nothing like puking with somebody to make you into old friends. Sylvia Plath.


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Life/Marriage Quotes

Love cures people – both the ones who give it and the ones who receive it. Meninger

Work like you don’t need the money. Love like you’ve never been hurt. Dance like nobody’s watching. Satchel Paige

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. Aesop

The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting. Sun Tzu

Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you. Walt Whitman.

Behind every great man is a woman rolling her eyes. Jim Carey.

Life isn’t about getting and having, it’s about giving and being. Kevin Kruse.

Keep your face to the sunshine and you can never see the shadow. Helen Keller

When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it. Henry Ford

Everything has beauty, but not everyone can see. Confucius.

To keep your marriage brimming,
With love in the loving cup,
Whenever you’re wrong, admit it;
Whenever you’re right, shut up. Ogden Nash.

Think where man’s glory most begins and ends, and say my glory was I had such friends. WB Yeats.


There are a billion sites out there that can help you with quotes so it’s definitely worth spending some time to find one that’s not too over used and fits your speech perfectly. May the force be with you.



Writing and planning a best man speech format is a lot m,ore straightforward than you think

Best Man Speech Formats

Usually one of the biggest problems with writing a best man speech is that you’ve got all the information but don’t have a clue how to stitch it all together. Working out how to use all the stories, character traits, funny observations and anything else you’ve compiled, takes a lot of thinking about because you need this to be something that people want to listen to and will entertain them. So it’s either a case of heavily editing what you’ve got or stretching it to fit the allotted time, so the best man speech format you might think, is critical.

The trick to sketching out a best man speech format is to look at it in a completely new way – forget everything you know, or think you know about wedding speeches. A great best man speech is neither an exercise in public humiliation, or a real time waltz through several stories that required being there in order for them to work. This is by far and away where most best men go catastrophically wrong. The usual format is to string together 3 stories which aren’t particularly funny, and sandwich them between a hackneyed introduction and a cliched ending…and nothing could be more boring or difficult to land. Stories require a killer punchline – which most don’t have – and when the first one doesn’t work, getting through the remaining two could prove to be the longest 7 minutes of your life. So the most important thing when planning the format is to forget stories and instead use what they contain in a much more effective and condensed way.

Instead view the whole speech as a story and take the audience from a well thought out beginning to a meaningful and powerful ending. This might seem counterintuitive to begin with but when deciding how to write a speech the only people you need to have in mind are your audience: what will they want to hear? How will they want to be entertained? What is their comedy threshold? etc etc. And the bottom line is the guests just want to laugh. They’ve sat through the emotional and very often completely inexplicable father of the bride speech, they’ve endured a 45 minute groom speech, their new shoes are now really hurting, their ties feel like tourniquets and they just want to start enjoying themselves, and that’s where you step in. Take them on one large comedic look at the groom, having fun with him, not at him, and celebrate his frailties and shortcomings in the most inclusive and entertaining way.



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So when I’m drawing up the format I first look at what the groom was like when he was younger, – be it teenager, toddler or just starting work, and then try to map out his journey from that point to the current day groom. This gives you the basis of the one big story approach and from this you can plug all the holes in that story with nuggets from anecdotes, well crafted witty observations, or if you’re really struggling, a little bit of fantasy. Yes, that’s right, fantasy. You’re there to make the guests laugh, sure you’re going to say some lovely things about towards the end of the speech but if putting in some little falsehoods like he wanted to be a spaceman and applied to the Didcot Space Center, only to discover there wasn’t one…tickles guests, then just do it.

So the best format is to decide at which point you’re going to pick up the groom’s life and then trace a pathway to the time when he met his lovely wife. The key to making all this stick together is daft comedy, don’t rely on internet jokes, or grubby one liners, you need t make everyone laugh and so that means coming up with funny things in and around the groom’s character. Explain how he went from being that slightly chubby, ginger kid with a thing about Thomas The Tank Engine to the urbane, metropolitan sophisticate who enjoys pilates. What was in his character as a 5 year old, that catapulted him to where he now finds himself? This should also allow you to bring in all those stories in condensed form, so instead of recounting how he walked around with a traffic cone on his head, simply drop it in to the speech as: ‘he planned to become the first international astronaut who’d been cautioned by police for wearing a traffic cone in the small hours of Saturday evening’. That way you’re stripping out the dull detail of the story but still letting everyone know what he did in a much more succinct and funnier way.

So, at the beginning introduce yourself, it will settle you down and allow you to build a rapport with the guests. Then set the scene at your starting point and begin. With this method, you’re not restricted to viewing the best man speech as having a rigid format, in fact you’re doing your very best to get away from that. This will allow you to be much more creative and give you huge scope to paper of cracks such as lack of material or dodgy parts of his life you’d rather leave out. The only other thing to remember is forget all the marital advice, bridesmaids and talking about being the best man – that is all very dull and part of the old school format that we’re trying to get away from. Nothing is more pointless or conceited in a best man speech than the best man talking about himself when the subject is the groom. This usually stems form having nothing to say, but with my story format that shouldn’t be an issue.

Towards the end you should talk about the happy couple but don;t budget for going into too much detail about how they met, as the groom will probably have just covered that in his preceding speech – apart from Australia where he’ll follow you – and the last thing you want to do in tread on his toes, or even worse repeat parts of his speech.

So the first rule of best man speech format…is that there is no best man speech format. Treat it as one big story, and an open canvas will present itself and all you have to do is fill in the blanks whilst making them as funny as possible. Stick to around 1300 words and this will give you a talking time of around 7-8 minutes which will help you ensure complete victory on the day.


Writing that Last Minute Speech

Last Minute Speech

Fear, relief, panic….

There’s a pattern when it comes to being appointed a best man and it’s very similar to the experience of making a parachute jump: fear, relief, panic. Usually your friend will give you the good news about a year in advance and for at least 5 minutes you’ll be struck with the mind bending fear that this time next year you’ll be attempting to make people laugh whilst shaking like a leaf. This very soon gives way to the comforting relief that there are 12 months to go before your ritual humiliation and then subsequently gut wrenching panic as you realize a year has slipped past, it’s next week and you’ve nothing written. And so you find yourself getting to grips with the last minute speech.

Not alone

Leaving it until the last minute is not exceptional – there are hundreds of guys out there who have done exactly the same thing, so let that be your first thought: you are not alone. Secondly, there is always time. My record so far this summer for a last minute speech is a call on a Thursday for a groom’s speech on the Saturday. That was tight and a little strange as it’s usually never the groom leaving late, but we managed it no problem. So no matter how last minute you think it is, there is always enough time to come up with something, it’s just the way you’re going to deliver it that will need some thinking about.


Most of the best men I’m writing for throughout the summer tend to be from the last minute speech brigade and that usually means a week to go. The familiar story is that they thought it would be easier to write and having only tried to pen something two weeks out, they’re now running out of time to get something down. The key is not to panic, as nothing will destroy a speech more than the person giving it wracked with nerves. If you’ve got less than 10 days to go keep everything really simple; don’t try to over engineer a clever speech, don’t throw in jokes that really need more thought to make them work and don’t be tempted to write more than necessary in order to somehow make up for your lack of effort to date. The only two things that really make a speech work are content and delivery. So for a last minute speech do not be tempted to execute anything other than a good 1200 words of fun and sentiment. Forget powerpoint, forget slides and films or any of that nonsensical gubbins that turn a speech into an ordeal. In my opinion no speeches need them and least of all a last minute one.

 Stand and deliver

And then we come to a delivery. If you’re getting a speech writer to prepare it, or you’re doing it yourself, by the time it’s ready you’ve probably got about 4 days to go through it. Do not attempt to memorise it. You should keep reading it through until the speech separates itself into blocks in your mind, and then use prompt cards to recall those blocks. You should at least be aiming to know the speech well enough that you’ll have the confidence to look up an deliver at least every third sentence whilst looking at the guests.   Nothing makes the heart beat faster than knowing you’ve left it really late to pull off the performance of a lifetime and nothing will make you feel more euphoric than doing precisely that.