You are in a position of honor. Your close friend is assuming the position and he needs your help. He has asked you to be his “best man”, to stand by his side and support him through his last act as a free man. You relish your thoughts of all the fun aspects of your job; you get to help coordinate a stag party, ok, so maybe that’s the extent of the fun parts. Still you want to help your old buddy make as cool and smooth transition to the other side as possible; you want to be the best best man you can be. You’re going to have to make a speech, a verbal representation of good times past, current times observed in a promising light, and words of ominous wisdom pertaining to the future of the newly linked couple.
Let’s break this speech thing down into some workable components. You need to first embrace the fact that as the deliverer of a speech, you need to project not only your voice, but others projectiles like enthusiasm, positivism, confidence, and an entertaining sense of composure. I know it sounds like a lot. Don’t worry; we have a plan to bring you through to the successful side of this speech writing/delivery.
The most important component of your speech is not the words you choose to deliver, it is how you present them to your audience. Think about it, you know that the last thing that they want to endure is a long winded, non-personally relevant, over-mushy, big bag of wind. They want entertainment. They want lighthearted laughter. They want it to be over relatively soon so that the celebration can continue. So there is your first lesson. In a nutshell: Be confident; speak up; smile a lot; don’t belabor your points. These aspects of delivery will make even a poorly written speech flow easier thereby enhancing the undercurrent of the whole ceremony.
You are going to need to at least write a flowchart to have in front of your eyes to keep you on task. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you’ll be able to fake your way through it. Most people are not fluent public speakers. This has nothing to do with you; it’s just that public speaking, sometimes especially in front of friends and acquaintances who you would think you’d be at ease in front of, makes people nervous. Without some notes for reference, speechmakers commonly will draw a blank at the crucial moment of deliverance. Although the friendly crowd won’t judge you for a poor performance, in retrospect you will wish that you had shined when the focus was on you. You will want to flow like a pro, making all wonder how you pulled off such an orchestrated masterpiece.
As for the content, that is where you are the expert already. Remember that you got this job because of your knowledge. You know the groom. You probably know him better than his new wife (mostly), especially if you have been friends for an extended period of time. Use your knowledge to bring out the lighter side of life. Keep topics non-offensive and lighthearted for the most part. It is expected and would be a letdown to the crowd if you did not do at least a little grilling. Poke some borderline, yet still clean, fun at the groom and whoever else may be present as a target of your room-captivating speech. Spontaneity is a beautiful thing as well. If you draw a blank, just take a breath and tell a little story that nobody but you and the groom would know. The audience will appreciate being made to feel like insiders, and you will be remembered as the best man who knew how to lay it down like a breeze through the trees. Salute!