Do your audience like listening to your wedding speech?

There are very few weddings that do not have some time dedicated to people at the top table to speak about or on behalf of the Bride & Groom. Some do this before the meal, some do it during the meal (between the courses) and most do it after the meal (the correct time to do it really!). The audience might be hungry before the meal, dislike being interrupted while they eat and want time to digest the meal i.e. after the meal, which is the best time to speak to them. But whenever you and / or the Bridal Party decide to speak, will your audience like listening to you?

Well, you hope they will! I guess it all depends on your speech content and how you deliver it. Have you considered the following?

  • Having all of your speech on paper
  • Using the microphone correctly
  • Speaking about the Bride & Groom in equal measure
  • Covering all the 'Thank you’ s' only once
  • Standing up
  • Not speaking over applause
  • Not saying too much
  • Not saying too little
  • Avoiding inappropriate stories, jokes or anecdotes
  • Knowing what you must say according to your title on the day
  • Enjoying it…!

The above list is far from exhaustive, there are many more things that you can do and say that makes sure that the audience enjoy your speech and remember it for a long time for the right reasons.

If your job title on the day of a wedding warrants a speech or people are expecting you to speak, do put in the effort and start this effort weeks, indeed months before the wedding day. It will be worth it. Be the one that the audience love to listen to, be the one that they envy and be the one that makes the Bride & Groom delighted that you are part of their life past, present and / or future...

 

A long speech or a short speech…?

You have many times, some times or will some time soon hear a wedding speech from a Bestman, Father of the Bride / Groom, Bride and / or Groom. It will be either a long speech or short speech. There is never a medium length speech and you will never hear anyone say that the speech was the perfect length. It will either be too long or too short! Most of us would error on the short, don't you agree, while some will write a speech that they think is short, but to the audience / listeners it is / was too long.

So, should you write a long speech or a short speech? Well, it depends on who and what you are writing about, though for the aforementioned speakers this does not really matter. Write down everything you want to mention and speak about as headings or sections in your speech draft. Then write about them in a way that explains how you feel about them and in a way that your audience can appreciate, relate to and enjoy the way you are explaining and feeling about them.

Write to the point and don’t overdo the detail. Don't dwell too much on one person and one thing. Have variety in the speech making it interesting. Think of the five 'W's and one 'H' i.e. Who, What, Where, When, Why and How to develop good narrative. Add body to each part of your speech and review it on paper (easier to proof read), continuing to do this until you are satisfied.

You will then question yourself, is the speech too long? You are unlikely to think the speech is too short. If you feel the speech is too long, then you have wrote too much about that particular person or that particular thing!

Rule of thumb is that your speech should be between 9-11 minutes without interruption.

Say what you want to say, it’s a once off, all of these people will never be together like this again to hear you speak about the people that are important to you in your life...

The Three Things That People Will Remember About Your Wedding…

Your wedding is over. The planning, the expense and attention to detail have hopefully paid off and your guests have had a memorable and unforgettable experience all for the right reasons. If you were to do an evaluation analysis on your wedding, like they do after a training course, what would be the responses? (There’s actually a Blog in that alone!).

Let’s make it easier; what would be the top three things that your guests would remember after one day, one week, one month, indeed one year after your wedding? They say they would remember the following:

  • How well the Bride looked?
  • The wedding venue
  • The speeches

How well the Bride looked?

The Bride is hands down, the centre of attention. All eyes are on them from once they step out into the public eye in their wedding dress. The Groom is also noticed, observed and complimented on, but not as much as the Bride whom will be told at least a thousand times how beautiful they look.

The wedding venue

Where the couple get married and where they celebrate their wedding with their guests is also an important memory for people. The grace and reverence of the wedding ceremony; the ambience, hospitality and surroundings of the wedding venue will stick long in the minds of the guests especially the quality and goodness of the meal, the availability of all types of drinks and beverages and the quality and suitability of the music.

The speeches

Your guests will remember the speeches; who spoke, what they said and how they said it. If the speeches are appropriate, humorous (not always necessary) and heart touching, guests will talk about them for days after and remember them for months after. If anything inappropriate is said that may embarrass the Bride, Groom or their families, guests will talk about it for months after and remember them for years after.

Make your wedding memorable for all the right reasons...

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 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...