Sample speech IV: The appraisal

Here’s an illustration of how to write a best man’s speech as if it were a work appraisal ‐‐ with laughs…

‘Ladies and Gentlemen, it really is an honour to be standing in front of you today as best man to someone as special as Gary [the groom]. I must say that when he asked me, I was totally taken aback. But now I’m standing here I feel nothing but pride. Thanks for such an honour, mate.


‘Okay, that was the nice, sincere part of the speech. Now it’s time to get down to the nitty‐gritty of embarrassing the very man who showed such faith ‐‐ and yet such poor judgement ‐‐ in choosing me.

‘I thought long and hard about how to theme this speech and then it suddenly dawned on me that I could use the skills I’ve picked up as a manager at work. I thought I’d write Katy [the bride] an appraisal of Gary.

‘So, first things first: punctuality. Well, Katy, you must have known Gary long enough by now to know that he is not the world’s greatest timekeeper. In fact, he’s not the world’s best when it comes to dates either. Only last week he told me how much he was looking forward to the wedding ‐‐ on 7 July! Luckily I corrected him and here we are on the 8th… just! We were running late for most of the stag do too, when Gary managed to miss the train to his own party. So Katy, you have been warned.

‘Next we move onto: management skills. As we all know, one of the prerequisites of being a good manager is the art of diplomacy. And I think it’s fair to say that Gary is not a man overly blessed with skills in this particular area. I remember we were sitting in French class when we were about 15 and we had a new teacher ‐‐ Miss Simpson. She had just introduced herself and we were asking her some questions before class began when Gary piped up and asked her when her baby was due. Of course, there was no baby. Poor old, plump Miss Simpson went bright red and the rest of the class fell about. You did rather poorly in your O level French as I recall, Gary…

‘Next on the agenda, Katy, has to be: career prospects. Now Gary is, as I’m sure we’ll all agree, very competent at his job. In fact, he has moved steadily through the ranks and is doing very nicely, thanks. But I must say that things could have been so different. I’m told that his brief career at a large drinks company [alter as appropriate] as a student was marred by Gary’s performance at the first Christmas party he attended all those years ago. Let’s look at the ingredients of the disaster, shall we? There was Mr Hobbs [the groom], women and there was a free bar. Needless to say Mr Hobbs helped himself ‐‐ to the bar, got rather drunk and rather loud and managed to finish the evening off by falling asleep on a desk, with his trousers neatly folded on the back of the chair. Sadly, it wasn’t his desk ‐‐ or chair ‐‐ but his boss’s. Oh, dear…

‘Now what about: teamwork. Gary has always been a great team player. He’s run the line for pretty much every football team he’s tried to play in. He’s washed the kit for several rugby clubs he’s tried to join and he makes a cracking tea when the lads play Sunday afternoon cricket. But seriously, though, Gary thrives in a team environment. He’s unselfish and supportive when things are going badly, and that’s what makes him such a great bloke. He can’t play sport for toffee, mind you, but he’s a great mascot…

‘And finally, Katy, we move onto: extra‐curricular activities. There’s no point in denying that Gary thought of himself as a bit of a ladies’ man at college. It turned out, however, that he was only chatting up different girls all the time because he couldn’t find one that was interested. His favourite chat‐up line at the time was: “We don’t need to take our clothes off to have a good time, let’s just drink some cherry wine.” I rest my case.

‘So, Katy, that’s my appraisal of Gary. It’s too late to back out now. You’ll just have to make a fist of it and see what happens. But what I do know is that he loves you very much and that you’re going to have a great life together. To the happy couple!’

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