Preparation is key…

For anything we do in life, preparation is key. When we sit down to carry out a task, we give ourselves enough time to plan it, do it and then review it to make sure it is done as well as it possibly can be. Right?

Well, in the ideal world with time on our hands this is what should happen, but this isn’t always the case, especially for tasks that we may not be looking forward to or enjoying doing. This goes especially for tasks that we have to do where we are in the public eye, where people can make an opinion of us by what we do or indeed say.

When it comes to writing and delivering a wedding speech, we tend to put it off to the very last minute, though it is constantly in the back of our minds when we realize that a son, daughter or indeed ‘you’ are about to get married. Is this because we hope it might not happen, or that the passing of time will eventually make us to do it or that it may not happen at all? Possibly one or all three, but nine times out of ten, it will happen and the best approach is to prepare.

When the wedding is about one month away, set a time to start writing your speech and plan to finish it one week before the wedding. Treat it like a project as you would at work or at home. List down the people, things you want to mention, put them in order of priority and then add content and narrative around them (enough to give them and it just recognition). How you deliver your speech is just as important as what you are saying, so practice it as much as you can. And if you can, do a pre-run in the actual wedding venue.

With this preparation, you will deliver a great speech…

Make your Speech Great with Stories…

Whether you are a Father of the Bride, Father of the Groom and / or Bestman making that all important speech in front of family, relations and friends is a once-off occasion and daunting for a lot of people. Your audience more than likely know you pretty well, and want to hear you deliver a good speech, maybe even a great speech. Whether you deliver it before or after the meal is irrelevant (though the latter would be more preferable and indeed recommended as your audience have had their meal and are more ready to enjoy and more importantly appreciate your few words).

For the audience to enjoy and appreciate your speech, it is always a good idea to share stories about the Bride and Groom, without embarrassing them too much of course.

These stories are best researched, developed and structured days, even weeks before delivering your speech and are always better to be true stories or at least based on a true story. When they are true, they are easier remembered, easier told and the audience enjoy them more. The audience will know whether they are true or not by the way you tell them. You’re taking them on a journey, they are there and part of it with all the detail included.

It is better to tell it your way, not to copy or mimic other great story tellers that you know or would love to emulate. The audience wants to hear the real you stand up and speak to them in a polished, professional way, yet your own way. Finally, it is good too to finish the story with some form of punchline or one liner that reveals the moral of the story and advice for the Bride and / or Groom as they start their married life together.

Start thinking about good, appropriate, true stories that you mix in with your speech (two to three will suffice divided evenly between the Bride & Groom if possible). You’ll look forward to and enjoy your speech more and so too will your audience…

Being a Bestman for a Famous Person…

Not many of us will get the opportunity to be Bestman in our lifetime and not many of us will get the opportunity to be Bestman for a famous person. Talking about the latter, how does a Bestman prepare his Bestman duties and what does he say in his speech for a person who is a public figure, who is in the public eye or has achieved success in their area of interest, expertise or skill in their career, profession or life? To be a Bestman for anyone isn’t an easy task, but to be Bestman for someone who is famous is a different proposition, or is it?

Do carry out your normal duties normally i.e.:

  • Welcome everyone through a mini-opening speech
  • Call in the Bride & Groom
  • Carry out the pre-meal duties
  • Carry out the cake cutting ceremony
  • Act as Master of Ceremonies (MC)
  • Deliver your speech when your time comes (see below)
  • Carry out the post-meal duties

You will obviously be thinking about and preparing your speech long before the wedding and trying to put what is in your mind and heart on paper. Whether it is a family member, relation or friend, the same general layout, narrative and structure prevails with the following considerations:

  • Treat the Bride & Groom like ordinary, yet special people like any couple on their wedding day
  • Demonstrate your delight and honour to be their Bestman
  • Talk about both of them in equal measure (if possible)
  • Which ever one of them is famous;
    • Remind the audience why they are famous
    • Share their achievements
    • Talk about their traits, qualities, skills that has brought them to the pinnacle of their famous-tivity
    • Develop stories around their journey to success-hood with punch-lines towards the end
    • Mention recent and / or current activities that are in the media
    • Consider introducing appropriate props as part of your speech that can add humour
    • Don’t overdo the plaudits on them, we don’t want to embarrass them or turn the audience off your speech

Give your Bestman duty the respect, time and effort it needs and be the ultimate Bestman…

I want to speak…!

I attended a wedding recently where a great Irish guy married and an equally as great Australian lady married. Two great families too, with most of the Australian contingent experiencing their first visit to Ireland and therefore their first Irish wedding. The wedding followed the traditional route when it came to the speeches, but there was more speakers than normal, nine in fact. There was the Father of the Bride, Father of the Groom, Brother of the Bride, Groom, Best friend of the Bride and four Bestmen (a brother of the Groom, a work colleague of the Groom, a college friend of the Groom and a best friend of the Groom).

When all of them had spoken, the main Bestman asked us (the audience) was there anyone else who wanted to contribute to the speeches and say anything about the Bride and Groom? Not a done thing in Ireland, but may be in Australia (I have never experienced a wedding there). Thankfully, no one volunteered! The speeches by my watch lasted one hour and 25 minutes. They were delivered after the meal, so no one was hungry or thirsty during their delivery. Overall, each speech had it is uniqueness and individuality, which made them all different in their own way and in fact enjoyable. Each speech had an average delivery time of 8-10 minutes (including the applause).

Why am I sharing this story with you? I guess, it is to give you some food for thought when it comes to a wedding that you are personally involved in i.e. getting married or family of the Bride and / or Groom. The above speeches were obviously planned as everyone had prepared scripts, PP slides and notes. But, really too many people spoke. We are told by wedding managers / coordinators that two people should speak at a wedding; the Father of the Bride and the Groom.

Who should speak at your wedding and why?

Make Innovation Formal…

Like everything in business (and indeed life), if tasks, duties and projects whether they be a once-off or on-going, do not get formal treatment, they will not happen. What do I mean by formal treatment? By formal treatment I mean, we set a day, time and duration to discuss what is involved, what needs to happen and the resources, people and money needed to complete the specific item. Tasks and duties can be daily meetings, weekly meetings, monthly meetings and / or quarterly / annual meetings that are on-going ‘set-in-stone’ activities that have become part of our daily work life. Or they can be project-like, where the task / duty has a specific goal and has a specific start date and end date that could have a short or long time duration.

The tasks and duties are the things we must do to stay in business i.e. they are the Maintenance Tasks (for those of you who have studied Time Management Skills). The projects are what we call the Progress Tasks (in Time Management) and are nice to do, will help us and the business develop, enhance and grow. If they were not done, it might not cause the business to cease trading or go about of business.

When it comes to innovation and re-innovating how we do things in the business; how we can change customer mind-set; how we can increase customer foot-fall; how we can increase turnover and how we can make our business be a destination of choice by people, we have to think of innovation as a Maintenance Task. It has to be treated with formality and given a set time, set day at least once per month.

Staff are always innovating and changing how they and the business do business, but they do not see it as a key part of their job, it is informal. It probably is not part of their job description. You as a business leader in your organisation or as part of a team, have to treat innovation as a task, duty, and / or project. Give it formality, give it a life-form, give it a department name, give it a leader to run and manage it and tangible benefits will follow…guaranteed…