How-to: Three tips for the best man’s speech

Wedding cake topper - vintage 1920'sArticle originally appeared as Three tips for the best man’s speech at Philippa’s site Speaking well in Public

If you’ve been faced with making the best man’s speech at your best mate’s wedding – you may be feeling a bit nervous. It’s natural; there’s a lot of expectation with the job, and you want to get it right, so here are three things to remember:

  • They may be expecting a hilarious speech because you may be quite funny in the pub – but comedy is a very different thing in front of an audience at such a high stakes event. Are you a professional stand up comedian? Have you spent your career honing your material and comedy timing in clubs and open mic nights? Probably not … if you’re not a ballerina you wouldn’t attempt a bit from Swan Lake, so why assume you can do what pro comics do? Avoid the temptation to tell jokes. And go easy on the unsavoury anecdotes.
  • Do not touch a drop of alcohol until you’ve finished. No, really. ‘ … I’ll be more relaxed …’ ‘ … I’m funnier after a few …’ No. You’re not. What it will relax are the tiny muscles that control your clear, controlled speech – and your ability to think.
  • And remember what it’s all about, and keep it short and sweet. No-one ever complained that a speech was too short.

You’ll find more advice on dealing with nerves, voice and body language on this site. Good luck! PH

About Philippa Hammond

Speaking Well In Public offers a portfolio of public speaking courses for business, performance and social occasions designed and developed by Philippa Hammond, combining her skills and techniques as an award-winning trainer, working actor and voice artist. Philippa is a member of Equity and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.



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