Someone you know slapped the title of “Best Man” on you, and now it’s time to give a great speech.
It could be your brother. It could be your best friend. Whoever it is obviously cares enough to grant you this moment in time to describe him as a man, from your perspective.
There are many ways to give an incredible character speech, but I am going to tell you how I prefer to do it, and why it works.
You are going to be nervous, so all I am going to say is accept it. The feeling will always be there, and it means that you are a human being with some semblance of a soul. If you have not prepared anything and are intending to wing it, you should be shitting your pants. Don’t be a fool and ruin a perfect opportunity to impress friends and relatives.
And do NOT. Get. Drunk.
Consider this – you are the best man because you have a distinct relationship to the groom. You have experience with him, you have stories to tell, and you are an authority on the subject. This alone should give you the confidence you need to be yourself. If you are a goofball, be a goofball. If you are serious as all hell, be serious. And absolutely under no circumstances tell a sick joke. You are the best man, not best teenager.
I had to deliver 2 best man speeches within one month. It just so happened that my brother and a good pal of mine were getting married a month apart. I used one as “practice” for the other, even though in my heart I knew both would be a success.
Here’s what I did – this may or may not work for you, but I found it to be very “natural,” and that’s an important part of a good speech.
I chose 5 or 6 “things” that I wanted to discuss. I use the word “things” because it really isn’t specific to stories, knee-slappers, inspirational moments, etc. It’s whatever you want it to be. The key however is how you weave it together.
Choose your major topics, and plan how you will move from one to the next. An example plan could be, first to discuss the time in high school when (insert story). Next, you might find it a good moment to tell a tasteful joke. You will know ahead of time if it will be funny. Any immediate or lingering doubt about humor is usually a sign that the joke is either poorly timed, or perhaps not as funny as you think it is. This could come hours or even days after you first thought of it.
Introduce yourself. Not everyone there may know who you are. Explain how you know the groom.
Now for the hard part, the “weave.” You are going to ad lib your speech, as an authority on the subject, and move from one “thing” to the next, as you planned. I really, really recommend against reading from a piece of paper. It generally reflects a lack of confidence. Confidence is key.
Tell your stories. Inject your humor. If the audience doesn’t laugh, who cares. Keep smiling and keep moving. Smile some more.
Know what you are going to say, but not how you will say it. That will come naturally. You are the storyteller. Give ’em the details, the plot, the mental picture they need to stay interested. Rip on yourself.
End with a toast. You just need to get there by moving from point to point, with confidence.
You will know you succeed when even the bartender, after the speech, looks at you with a certain eye, with a smile of their own.
You were memorable – the best man.