I was celebrating a friends 30th birthday this weekend at a rather nice and social party. There came a point in the night where we were all feeling rather nice someone mentioned that maybe someone should do a bit of a speech and thank people for attending. 2 or 3 people stepped up to say a couple of pieces and did very well, although it wasn’t really expected, it was a nice touch, which got me thinking about speeches at occasions.
Whether its a wedding, a birthday, or a funeral, there are points where people have to take the stand and say some warm and inspiring words. Typically if you know you’re having to make a speech it is the norm to do a bit of research and write something.
But what makes a good speech?
Naturally you want your audience to listen, smile, laugh and feel empathy with your words.
Some tips for a good speech, and these are quite simple and straight forward.
1) Consider timing- You don’t want to be droning on for hours, unless that is specifically called for.
2) Strong introduction- Capture the audiences imagination, engage with them, make them hang on your every word.
3) Interesting content- It could be a funny story, it could be factual, it could be very emotive, but you want to create an atmosphere and make people laugh and smile.
3) Conclusion- Wrap it all up, in essence sum up what you have already said in a short form. The last words are possibly the most powerful and leave lasting impressions.
If you want to be creative with your speech, you could consider writing it in the third person or using a genre or style, like a newspaper headline or an old information film or advertisement, you could also use video and visual presentations to aid you but remember these are just an aid, your speech should be the main attraction.
Most importantly, speeches can really test some people and nerves can take over, make sure you take a deep breath, speak clearly and concisely, take your time, don’t rush through it, people will be interested in what you have to say, and the best part is when people approach you to congratulate you on a fantastic speech.