Writing & Speech Making Help
Are you terrified at the thought of making a speech? Most people are, and the longer they leave it, the worse it gets!
Proposing the toast to the Ladies at a Masonic Festival is pretty daunting, if you haven’t done it before.
The big responsibility the Best Man, the proud Father of the Bride, or indeed the shy, but anxious bridegroom has at a wedding? All of them should be able to enjoy the occasion, with the confidence gained in a well prepared and well rehearsed speech.
So, how do you go about it? – You Plan it!
Unless you have been asked at the very last minute, you should have enough time to prepare – so start collecting information at the earliest opportunity – dig the dirt on your subject and develop a theme. Talk to their friends, quiz them for little tit bits of information and ideas, and a pattern will start to emerge. Make notes, don’t rely on your memory!
Rough out an outline and identify your main points early; that way you will be able to structure them into your theme and keep the momentum going. Link the topics together, so it all makes sense. Personalise your speech. Everyone likes to hear a true story.
When you have collected all the things you want to speak about, it’s time to do a rough draft. You should structure this in three parts, thus :-
- The Introduction
- The Body
- The Conclusion
The Introduction generally is the easy part.
Why? because in most cases the speaker is normally thanking people, or describing the honour of making the toast; which is a pleasant and easy way to start. – ‘Thank you for the welcome’ – ‘Thank you for your support’ – ‘Thank you for those kind words’ – ‘Thank you for coming today’ – ‘It is an honour to propose this toast’ etc. If you can, say something that will immediately capture the audiences attention.
The Body of the speech
The Body is where you use all the info you have gathered. This is the guts of the speech and represents all the evidence that will support your theme and topic. Write these down in order of story ie ‘that leads me on to when…’ but remember to leave your best story or anecdote to last, before you close. It is always how you finish that counts!
The Conclusion – Plan to end it!
This must be the conclusion – you must not go on and on and bore everyone to death, otherwise all the good work earlier will be utterly wasted. It’s got to be ‘and finally’ and mean it! Your audience will only remember how you finished.
Read it – Rehearse it
So, now you have it down as a rough draft, this is the perfect time to start reading it aloud – to yourself, and practice, Structure, practice. Fine tune it to perfection, rehearse it at least once a day until it becomes so good, that you just can’t wait for the day to come when you will deliver it. Practice speaking clearly and slowly, try not to mumble. It’s no good giving a great speech if the audience misses most of your words.
Now put your speech on cue cards using bullet points and number the cards back and front. It is more professional than sheets of paper and you will know where you’ve got to, when you are interrupted by laughter or applause.
Keep it Short
Your speech should only last for the maximum of 10 minutes – short and punchy – not long and boring! Only the very best of speakers can keep an audience interested for longer than that.
This is it…. You are ready. Remember to take some deep breaths before you start. This will help calm your nerves. Good luck – You can do it – Go on knock ’em dead!
Speech Categories and Help in the composition
Masonic -The Toast to the Ladies
The toast to the ladies is one of loveliest speeches of all at a Masonic Ladies night. It is usually made by an experienced Mason who knows the President and his lady, but not always. He will describe the ladies in all their splendor and talk of how lovely they look, particularly the Presidents lady. Amongst other things, he will say how it is an honour for him to propose this toast and thank the lodge for giving him the opportunity. He will end by asking everyone to stand for the toast to the ladies.
Father of the Bride
The Father of the Bride (or whoever is giving the bride away) traditionally starts the speaking. He will thank friends and family for coming, especially those who have traveled a long way. He should also thank the other parents for their help and welcome his new son in law into his family: talking of how the happy couple met, and the first time she introduced him to his future ‘in-laws’.
Next he should concentrate on his daughter – the Bride. This can be emotional but it is nice to reflect on her growing up, into the lovely daughter she is today. His speech ends by asking everyone to stand and join him in toasting ‘The Bride and Groom’
The Bridegroom will thank his new ‘Dad’ for the welcome and the nice words. Thank both sets of parents for their love and help in making everything possible. He should also thank everyone for coming and show appreciation that they all made the effort for both of them.
At the first opportunity he will say ” on behalf of my wife and I,” (this will get applause for saying the word ‘wife’) Then talk about his beautiful bride for a few moments; her beauty and what she means to him, before giving out flowers and gifts to all those that helped or had a duty. Ending his speech by asking everyone to stand, for the ‘Toast to the Bridesmaids’
The Best Man
The Best Man will thank the bridegroom on behalf of the bridesmaids. He should talk about the honour of being best man and speak about the bridegroom and their friendship etc. He will then relate stories to generally embarrass and send him up – nothing contentious, but he must not mention former girl friends. Then, he will heap praise on the bridegroom’s choice of bride and say how lucky he was to get her.
He may want to read cards, but only those from guests unable to be there. It is also nice for him to express good wishes to the happy couple. A funny story to end always makes a speech.
Although not a tradition, it is also common practice for the best man to toast the bride and groom. It is a nice way to end the speech.
If you need help a good site is www.hitched.co.uk it has loads of speeches sent in by Best men, and If you can tell a joke try the web site www.funny.com
And Finally – The Golden Rules!
- Never tell blue or smutty jokes
- Never mention previous partners of either the Bride or Groom
- Never cause embarrassment to family members
Very little or preferably – NO ALCOHOL before speaking (loads afterwards)
Well, that’s all there is to it, good luck.
Incidentally if you still feel apprehensive or unsure and need Professional help, why not contact our friend David Evans?. He is a Professional Speech Writer and a journalist and has written speeches for all walks of life.
His portfolio includes speeches for senior police officers, executives of blue-chip companies, as well as grooms, best men and fathers of the bride. He lived in Hong Kong for ten years and has attended Muslim and traditional Chinese weddings, as well as civil partnerships.
He lives in Bristol and his details are: David Evans Speechwriter Tel. 07513 017190
Toastmasters, Town Criers, Wedding toastmasters, Jewish weddings, Asian weddings, Masonic Ladies Nights, Master of Ceremonies, Burns Nights, Award Ceremonies, Partnership Ceremonies, Product launch’s.