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Some observations and ideas about the best man speech phenomenon ...
Our American friends don't seem to be as nervous as the Brits. They seem to be more cocky and assured but if the content isn't any good, then expect your speech to down like a lead balloon - watch this example speech on youtube - there's no laughter (except from the best man himself and the cameraman).
Why are some US speeches so bad and cringing? Probably because websites such as this one have some pretty dodgy advice - they call it being sentimental, I'd call it pretty embarrassing - especially the bit about the rocking chair. Don't take this advice unless you want the audience to throw up at the end ...
In closing be sentimental. Tell the groom how much his friendship means to you and wish the couple luck and raise your glass to them. "Joey, seriously bud, we've known each other a long time. The memories that I have of all the things we did together will be the same stories I tell from my rocking chair to my grandson. I'm proud to call you my friend. I'd like to make a toast to the bride and groom, May you be as happy 50 years from now as you are today, Cheers."
Walk over and hug the groom and kiss the bride. You're done and you did a good job.
These are the stages that every best man goes through.
You are of course honoured to be asked to be best man but then you think 'oh my god - the speech!'. Some best men will be excited by being asked, but most will be either nervous or even terrified by the prospect of having to stand up in front of countless strangers and friends and have to perform a speech - I know I was!
You wake up the morning of the speech with serious butterflies in your stomach. This is the day and you may even wish it could all be over! If you still haven't written your speech at this stage, then you should definitely buy my£4.99 guide (shameless plug I know :))
The day has passed and now you're sitting at the head table listening to the Father of the Bride's speech. You're secretly hoping that his speech won't be too good or funny as you've got enough pressure as it is. This is the worst part of the best man experience - you're trying to maintain a calm exterior whilst inside, your heart is beating fast and you're finding it hard to breath
This is where the adrenelin is really flowing. Everyone is looking at you - analysing you and measuring you up. What sort of speech is it going to be? funny? sincere? They wonder whether you're nervous ...
Start by taking a deep breath and looking round the room confidently. I've met some best men who have told me that they approached the speech as if it was a duel between themselves and the audience - he looked round the room, smiling of course!, but with a look of confident look and thought to himself "you're not going to beat me - I'm going to deliver this speech really well and you're all going to enjoy it"
"you're not going to beat me - I'm going to deliver this speech really well and you're all going to enjoy it"
I've also heard of other public speakers who imagine that everyone in the audience is naked which makes it easier for them to deliver the speech ...?
The best way to start the speech is with an 'ice breaker' as set out in my quick guide. Compliment the bridesmaids and thank the person who paid for the wedding - it's all going to be free applause for you. Don't say how nervous you are feeling or that you're 'not very good at this sort of thing'
This speech is well performed but I did think it was a strange way to discard your speaking notes