Getting the most out of your well-written speech

Are you speaking at a wedding this summer? Have you been given the joyous role of being best man to the groom?

Unless you’ve hired a speechwriter, chances are it’s caused you a bit of stress already. When you’re preparing a speech many questions can fly through a best man’s head. Unlike the groom speech and the father of the bride speech, the best man does have some pressure to fit the humour criteria. Is it funny? Is that joke too risky? Can I get away with that? Getting the balance is hard enough, but now you’ve jumped that hurdle, there’s the delivery to work on.

The writing and the delivery are equally important to a successful speech, in the same way diet and exercise are to healthy living. One doesn’t really work without the other.

Once you’ve nailed the content in your speech, it’s absolutely imperative that some time is spent focusing on the execution. I’ve seen this so many times as a professional speechwriter, a perfectly written speech can easily fall apart with a broken delivery.

The good news is it doesn’t require you to be a seasoned public speaker or a super-confident extrovert on the microphone. There are 3 key things to keep on top of and you shouldn’t go too far wrong.

1) Eye Contact

It’s fine to have some pointers jotted down in front of you, or even the whole speech on paper, but remember to always look up at the guests as you deliver a punchy joke or a warming reference. The paper in front of you should act as a reference point, not something to hide behind. You’re speaking to your guests, not a sheet of A4. Your words will have much more impact with visual engagement from the people in the room.

2) Body Language

A great way to engage the guests and focus their attention is to use hand gestures to add substance to your spoken word. It’s scientifically proven to complement your delivery. It shouldn’t just be left to the board room or corporate office, it will go down a treat at the wedding too.

3) Pace

Speaking too quickly just to get it finished is a common mistake best men can make when delivering their speech. Keep the speed down to a conversational rhythm of around 130 words per minute and the pace is guaranteed to resonate more with the guests and how they absorb your message.

These three techniques will make sure you get the most out of all your hard work on preparing the speech. After the speech you can then enjoy the shower of compliments that await you!