Last week a friend asked me for a few pointers for a ‘Best Man’ speech. He has known the Groom since school days and, like most of us, has been to a few weddings, but this is his first time as Best Man and he is looking for guidance.

Because he is also a client, I thought it would be useful to reply within my 4D Productivity formula framework. What would you add / modify?

Define Purpose:

  • To be an entertaining warm-up for the main event – the groom’s speech.
  • To make the groom look good and confirm why he will make a good husband and father.
  • To propose a toast to the bride and groom.

Decide strategy:

  • Length – aim for about 7 minutes (9 minutes max) – this will depend upon the length of the groom’s speech.
  • Words are powerful, use them wisely – witty and well-structured sentences are more important than a string of jokes and punch lines.
  • Know your audience – the bride’s great-aunt Bessy must feel included.
  • Avoid in-jokes, risky and risqué topics – no matter how funny you and the ‘boys’ think they are.
  • Don’t tell stories that will embarrass the groom, and by extension everyone there.
  • 3 or 4 main topics / anecdotes / stories beyond introducing yourself.

Defend priorities:

  • Start with a very brief personal introduction and what an honour it is to be doing this.
  • 2 or 3 amusing anecdotes, well told.
  • Speak to the character of the man.
  • Propose the toast.

Deliver results:

  • Use colour, tone, pitch and shading in your speech to keep it flowing.
  • Don’t read – perform and keep it natural ….. use cards as a prompt if you wish, avoid sheets of paper.
  • Aim to speak at about 90/95% of your normal conversational speed.
  • Keep the vocal energy going throughout your speech – avoid tailing off or Ausie upspeak at the end of sentences.
  • Practice.
  • If you are to use a microphone – check how to use it before the event – they all have different characteristics.

So, what would you add or modify if you were asked for advice on a Best Man speech?

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