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Lessons for Best Men and Grooms

September 13, 2012

My entire generation seems to have been overcome by an outbreak of social responsibility. I’m at that time in life where all of my peers appear to be getting married – including me. It is a massive personal step that requires a lot of consideration, commitment and, of course, public-speaking. In the last month I have given first a best man’s and then a groom’s speech. I learned a lot from the contrast between them.

For the best man’s speech I prepared, rehearsed and took soundings from experienced speakers I knew from Corinthians. Tied up in wedding preparations, I barely prepared a groom’s speech at all, assuring myself that a few thankyous to my nearest and dearest would suffice. At the drinks reception, once the eighth guest had uttered those awful words “I’m looking forward to the speech”, I realised I’d better say something more substantial. The vast bulk of what I said on the day was written on the back of a serviette between courses.

Both speeches went down well in the end, so what did I learn from the experience?

  • Preparation really helps. Although both speeches went down well, my best man’s speech was definitely better received – a worthy return for the hours I’d invested.
  • Retaining spontaneity is key. Some of my best received jokes even as a well-prepared best man were ones I delivered off the cuff, responding to the audience and other speakers. Audiences can sense that novelty, and prefer the chattier style it creates. Impromptu speeches, or speeches with impromptu elements are often more captivating.
  • Corinthians revolutionises people’s public speaking – including mine. As I stood up to speak on both occasions I felt confident, relaxed, I knew it was going to be ok. It is that confidence in public speaking, that assurance of performance, that is the true dividend that Corinthians pays to its members.

George

President, London Corinthians, 2012-13

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Working or living in the LondonVictoria area? Want to know more about becoming a better public speaker? Visit London Corinthians on the 2nd, 4th and 5th Thursdays @ 7.30pm. http://www.londoncorinthians.co.uk/.

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