Striking the right balance

A lot of best men who contact me wanting help editing a draft speech they have written often tell me they are worried their speech lacks humour.

In fact, one of the most common errors I see among speeches that land in my inbox is a failure to include any emotion or sentiment to provide some much needed balance to their jokes.

There's an assumption among some best men I speak to that their speech isn't the right place for sentiment. Surely they should focus on cracking jokes and getting as many laughs from the wedding guests as possible?

Nothing could be further from the truth.

An ideal best man speech should aim to strike the right balance between humour and sincerity.

That's easier said than done, and with so many dodgy jokes available online, there's probably nothing more tempting than to  skew a speech in favour of getting laughs.

However, the risk following this approach is that the jokes will fall flat and you will fail to tell your audience anything meaningful about the groom.

Don't be embarrassed to talk about the groom in a way you probably haven't before (ie. telling everyone just how much of a good friend he's been to you and what influence he has had on your life).

So how do you become more sentimental? If you're struggling, try and include some examples of when the groom helped you out and how much you appreciated his support. Did he help you through a particularly difficult period in your life? Was he like the brother you never had when you were growing up? How has knowing this person changed your life for the better?

You shouldn't be looking to have the wedding guests in floods of tears, but including some sentiment will provide some much needed balance and is bound to impress your audience.

You've landed the best man job. Now what?

Don't let nerves get in the way of you writing your best man speech

Don't let nerves get in the way of you writing your best man speech

One of your oldest friends has just asked you to be his best man. You should be chuffed. So why do you feel slightly anxious about taking on the job?

Once the excitement of being asked to take on best man duties has worn off, one of the first items that inevitably pops up on the “to do” list is to oraganise the stag do. Managing to get a dozen grown men together on one single day or weekend can be a stressful challenge itself.

Of course you know the real reason you are slightly worried about being best man is because you have to stand up in front of a room full of strangers and wax lyrical about your mate.

It probably won’t come as much of a surprise to learn that public speaking an incredibly common phobia. In fact, it ranks up there with death as people’s number one fear.

Those who have a real fear of speaking in public will try various tricks to get through a speech: not looking at their audience; rushing through their remarks; clenching their fists and telling themselves it will all be over soon.

But let's not forget that being the best man should be an honour. So what can you do to ensure the speech doesn't dampen the whole experience?

We're all guilty of putting some things off until the very last minute, and I'm frequently asked to write speeches for best men who only have a week or two to spare.

If possible, try to leave as much time as you can to gather your thoughts about what you want to say in your speech. What are the key messages you want to tell your audience about the groom? What stories do you have involving him that will make the wedding guests laugh?

While I can’t help you completely get over your stage fright, I’m a firm believer that preparing well in advance and having a top notch speech can help eliminate some of the fears associated with speaking in public.

Many best men will have had to get up and speak in front of work colleagues in the past, but an added pressure that can heighten anxiety is an expectation that a wedding speech needs to be nothing more than side-splittingly funny.

The good news is it doesn’t. A well crafted best man speech should actually aim to strike the right balance between humour and sincerity.

If you do nothing but crack jokes about the groom for 10 minutes, then you risk failing to tell your audience about why he is such a smashing bloke, what makes him such a great friend and the impact the bride has had on his life.

Likewise, blubbering about how much you missed him when he went travelling during his gap year is probably going to send your audience to sleep.

So what’s the solution? There are a few tips you can follow to ensure you include the right content in your best man speech and strike the right balance. Take a look at my own suggestions, which include some of the main points to focus on when you sit down to write it.

Alternatively, you can completely eliminate the hassle of having to write your best man speech by commissioning me to come up with one for you.

Using my bespoke service I will write you a unique speech that will provide you with the perfect “script” to deliver on the wedding day.

Each speech I write is unique and you won’t find any of the terrible scripted jokes you have probably heard a dozen times at weddings you’ve been to.

Get in touch with me today to see how I can help.

David