“Hi, my name’s Martin. I need a best man speech written by Monday…help!!!” This is a fairly common example of an email I receive as a professional speechwriter and does a lot to reinforce the stereotype that us guys are well, perhaps not as always organised as we could be! In fact it was one of things that prompted me to set up SpeechMate as it will help you do just that – write a speech in under an hour. In the meantime, allow me to impart some thoughts to help you learn how to write a best man speech.
Getting the best man speech structure right
Okay, so you need something FAST! In these circumstances one of the best things you can do is start with a best man speech structure. This will help you break down the task in to manageable chunks that makes the task of writing a speech less overwhelming.
You’ll hear different opinions about what the best man speech structure looks like. In the beginning I was a little confused so I analysed speech after speech and looked for commonalities that made the best ones great. I then engaged with some of the best speech writers from around the world to validate and tweak the formula. The one I landed on is an 11 step structure which is used in SpeechMate. Below is a shortened version to help you out.
Opening: Relax the audience & yourself with an early laugh
Introduction: Use this to explain your relationship to the groom
Stories: Two or three amusing tales that illustrate his character
Advice: An opportunity to make a tongue in cheek joke about marriage
Sincerity: You’re his best man for a reason, this is the time for some heartfelt words
Toast: One final quip or an extension of the sincerity shown earlier
Populating the content
There are samples of content all over the internet of varying quality. If you’re serious about doing this in under an hour then you will need to be quick. The one bit of content that won’t be readily available is the stories. You will need to craft this yourself but again, don’t be overwhelmed! Break this part down again in to sub sections. Two or three stories are enough, particularly given your working against the clock. You’re not going to have the time to reach out to friends so you’re going to need to think on your feet. To help, think about the character of the groom. What’s he known? Perhaps he’s forgetful, lacks common sense or has a particular habit. What stories can you think of that illustrates this character trait.
Edit and review it to avoid a car crash
Once you’ve populated the template with your content re-read and edit it. Typically a best man speech will go through a number of drafts before landing on the final one. Whilst you won’t have a great deal of time to do this you should go through it at least three times for quality purposes. Concentrate on making sure it flows smoothly and is grammatically correct.
In an ideal world you should pass it by someone else as well. The reason for this is pretty compelling. Many a car crash of a best man speech has been remembered for all the wrong reasons because the writer misjudged the crowd. The thing about wedding audiences is that they typically consist of three generations – friends, parents and grandparents – and so the gags have to be universally appealing to cover all bases. Whilst not always the case, the tolerance for edgy or more risqué jokes tends to be highest amongst friends and drops off as the age group increases. Best man speeches that have turned in to a train wrecks have pitched at the wrong end of that scale. That being the case, if you can, have a trusted friend or parent read over it to check the material. It’s a fairly fail safe way of ensuring you don’t become an overnight YouTube sensation for all the wrong reasons.
Delivering your Best Man speech like a pro
Of course writing your best man speech is one thing, delivering it is quite another and something that a lot of guys overlook. Of course if you’re leaving it late then there won’t be a huge amount of time for this but there will be SOME time. At some point between now and the moment you stand up to give your best man speech will be an opportunity.
If you practice it out loud I guarantee it will sound different to how it does in your mind. I can also pretty much guarantee that if you practice it at least once out loud then the second version will be 100% better than the first.
If all of this sounds a bit too much like hard work then our online app takes all the hard yards out of this for you. SpeechMate uses your unique responses to create a completely personalised speech tailored to you and the groom. Get an original speech that’s as good as hiring a professional speechwriter, at a fraction of the cost.