You’ve cried at the ceremony, stuffed yourself with free food and drunk just enough wine to really start enjoying yourself.
Then the Father of the Bride stands up to speak and the day takes a turn for the worse.
You can’t help it. You want to pay attention, but you find your mind wandering…
Your eyes start to feel heavy. Before you know it you’ve spent 10 minutes making mental bets about how long the marriage will last.
Then it hits you. Soon it will be your turn to speak. What if your speech is just as boring? How would you know?
Fortunately there are ways to tell your speech is boring that even Cats know about. And I’m going to share them with all of you.
1. You don’t know your speech’s mission statement
Every great company has a mission statement behind it.
Nike’s mission statement is ‘to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world’. Harley Davidson’s mission statement is to ‘fulfil dreams through the experience of motorcycling’.
My mission statement is to ‘change the world one speech at a time by being everything your next speech needs.’
What’s your speech’s mission statement? If you can’t tell me in one sentence what your speech is about, then you can’t tell me in 10 minutes either, and you’re certain to lose your listeners’ attention.
Find your mission statement and then take everything out of your speech that doesn’t fit.
- If your mission statement is ‘Becky is my little princess’ then don’t mention the time she got drunk and collapsed in a club.
- If your mission statement is ‘Rashid is my best friend and my worst enemy’ don’t talk about the time he moved to America and you didn’t see him for 4 years.
- And if your mission statement is ‘Simon is an idiot that loves cycling, blogging and pretending to be an expert on speeches’ then don’t talk about my love of leopard geckos or how damn handsome I am.
Know your Mission Statement and hone your speech to it. That’s the best way to keep you’re listeners focused.
2. You keep losing your place when practicing
If you stumble your words when practising the speech, or lose your place in the middle of a sentence then there’s a problem. If you can’t follow your speech how can expect your listeners too?
Fortunately this is easy to fix.
- Go through your speech with a red pen.
- Find every single sentence that has more than 2 commas in it.
- Make one of the commas a full stop.
- Change the newly created fragment into a new sentence.
Why this works
We write differently to how we speak. Written sentences tend to run on for longer, with more clauses, more pauses, more subsections and more side thoughts.
Speech is different. We stop a lot more. We pause to think. And sometimes we even start sentences with conjunctions.
Write your speech the same way you talk and you’ll be much less likely to be tongue tied when presenting it.
3. It doesn’t excite you
If practicing your speech seems like too much work, then you have a problem. If it doesn’t excite you how can you expect it to excite any one else?
Go back to point 1, and check your Mission statement. Make sure it’s a message that really excites you – a message that you really want to share.
If it’s not, change it.
Better to re-write your speech than deliver a speech that you don’t care about.
4. It’s longer than 10 minutes
You’re at a wedding – not a business pitch. You’re not trying to sell the listeners anything – just trying to give them a good time.
If you can’t give people a good time in less than 10 minutes then a) don’t become an escort and b) there’s something wrong with your mission statement.
Again, go back to your mission statement and check it. Are you trying to say too much? Or are you filling the speech with things that don’t fit the main message?
There is never any reason, ever, for a wedding speech to be longer than 10 minutes, even if you have to thank each guest individually. Take out a red pen, strike-out half the speech, and try it again.
5. It’s devoid of emotion
Yes, wedding speeches are meant to be funny but they’re also personal things. They should show how much you care about the special people as well as just making fun of them.
I know, I know! Emotion’s uncomfortable but wedding days are all about love. So your speech must be made with love too.
This doesn’t have to be laid on too thickly though. If you’re uncomfortable showing emotion you say something like “I love you bro.” and then get straight back to jokes.
But you need to have at least have one ‘Awww!!’ moment in your speech to keep your guests paying attention.
6. You forgot to add any stories
Stories matter. Humans connect with stories. They get our attention and hold it in a way nothing else does.
If your speech doesn’t have any stories in it then you’re almost certainly short-changing your audience.
Go back to your mission statement and note down all the stories your can think of that illustrate it.
Keep the stories personal, original, simple entertaining and short.
Then choose the best three stories from the list and make these the focal points of your speech.
Finally, fit the rest off your speech around them.
You’ll speech will instantly become at least 66% less dull.
7. You’re just reading words off a page
Any speech will sound boring if it’s just being read out loud. Reading a speech word for word takes away it’s soul, and stops you from making eye contact with your audience.
Connecting with the audience is essential. They need to feel like they are part of the speech and just lazily listening to it. You should be able to deliver your speech as if you are having a conversation with your guests.
This is a lot easier if you take a bit of time to memorise your speech.
Making your wedding speech interesting isn’t hard, but it does take guts.
You need to be able to embrace the emotions you are feeling and share them with your audience, and then can mean putting your heart on the line. But remember, the audience are on your side. All the guests are at the wedding because they care about the couple’s happy day. If you can be brave enough to admit you care too, then you guaranteed to have a speech that grabs their attention.
Start with a great mission statement and the rest will follow.
And remember, an engaging speech gets you more free drinks at the reception. If nothing else, that’s one reason to keep your listeners happy.