Best Man speeches are notoriously funny but they can often be let down by poor structure and a serious lack of comic timing. In this practical guide, Robin Kermode, Europe’s leading communication coach, identifies what you can do to maximise your laughs to ensure your best man speech really does pack a punch! The prospect of giving a best man speech can seem a bit daunting, but follow these tips and you’ll do yourself proud on the big day!
1. Don’t get jokes off the internet
Tempting though it is to tell jokes, remember that you are not there to do a stand up routine, you are there to make the Bride and Groom’s day special. Make sure that, if you do tell jokes, they are relevant. Everything in your speech should be about them.
2. Be age appropriate with humour
Ask yourself if all ages will find your speech funny. Ideally everyone, from the grandparents right through to young children, will find your speech funny – and not be offended.
3. No inappropriate jokes about exes or the past.
This probably doesn’t need elaborated on. Just…best not to go there.
4. Tell funny stories
Audiences love stories about the Bride and Groom – especially ones that highlight their more interesting character traits.
5. Start well
It’s often good to start your speech with your best idea first – one that will grab their attention right away. You’ll get the audience on your side immediately and it will also help you to relax.
6. Use a prop
For example, read from the Groom’s old school report. Using a prop can work well but if your speech relies on a prop then don’t forget to bring it with you! And big props require a lot of effort; so ask yourself if your joke really is worth lugging a cumbersome item like an old trombone case around all day!
Once you’ve planned your speech, time yourself practicing it. I would aim to speak for no longer than 5 minutes.
8. Don’t go too fast
Nerves can often make us speak too quickly, so when you stand up to speak, wait 2 or 3 seconds before starting. This will give you time to compose yourself and will make you look more confident.
9. Deliver your feedlines clearly
As all good comedians will know, if your story relies on a punchline, you must to set it up with a clear feedline. So if, for example, your punchline was: “And so if [Groom] ever needs help with a mortgage application, he’ll know who to call!” – you’ll only get a laugh if you’ve set up, earlier in the story, that his father-in-law was a Bank Manager. The audience would need to have heard the words BANK MANAGER very clearly. Never mumble your feedlines.
10. Wedding audiences are really supportive
Everyone is there to make the day special for the Bride and Groom. They aren’t there to judge you – even though it might feel like that! They want your speech to go really well. Remember, you don’t have to be the best, or even the funniest, speaker in the world. Just chose your stories well, make it all about the Bride and Groom, don’t rush, and the audience really will laugh encouragingly! Goog luck and have a great time!
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Robin Kermode is one of Europe’s leading speech directors and private speech coach for those looking to improve both public and personal communication skills. Working with a range of individuals including: senior executives, entrepreneurs, politicians, auctioneers, charities, corporate teams and media personalities, he has been coaching personal and public communication skills for over ten years.