Although I have extensively documented the fact that there’s nothing we fear more than public speaking, I’ve given little time to the other notable factoid that there’s nothing most grown love more than talking about themselves. Yes, we may not like the idea of standing up and talking in front of others, but given half the chance in private, we can rattle on for hours about ourselves. Of course, social media has fed off this trait, and it’s little surprise that the most profitable companies in the world are the ones which provide a world stage for self aggrandisement. At this point you might be thinking ‘well, what does that have to do with the groom speech?’ …and the answer is: quite a lot actually.
The biggest trap most grooms fall into is talking about themselves in the speech and it can become awkward very quickly. I’ve lost count of the number of times jobs, house moves, exotic holidays and even cars can make it into the speech, and all for one reason only: to make you look good. There’s nothing uglier than someone telling you how great they are, and that becomes even lumpier when executed on a public stage. If you start writing your groom speech with the idea that it’s about family, friends, and of course, your bride, then that’s the best strategy for success. If you find yourself penning something about the time you were in exclusive Maldive resort, it’s probably time to delete. I once had to discourage a groom from putting in the website address of his bride’s firm. He, as it turns out, was beyond help.
Another pitfall is making your groom speech too earnest. The groom speech should be a powerful and meaningful speech, but without humour it can be a clanging bell rather than a symphonic orchestra. You can’t be meaningful and emotional for 10 minutes…well, you can but most guests will have become so bored that they suddenly find the menu interesting, and will be surreptitiously checking final scores. Humour is a hugely important part of any communication, and plays a massive role in the groom speech. So, make sure you have plenty of funny ideas and observations to sprinkle throughout.
Lastly, of all the pitfalls, it’s the one where you come to talking about your new parents in law that is the most common. Most grooms will wax lyrical about their brand new family, and completely neglect or skimp on their own. This is a howler that will last long in the memory – many speeches are remembered for they omitted just as much as what they said. Yep, you might love your father in law’s comedy, you might love your mother in law’s roast dinners, but chances are your own parents aren’t that bad either, so let’s hear it for them too.
A groom speech with a bit of thought works so much better.